Ireland’s €1bn New Year tech resolution

2 Jan 2014

Prof Brian Fitzgerald, Lero

If Ireland is to achieve its targets for the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, groups must make a serious commitment to a ‘New Year resolution’ of achieving €1bn in research grants in the coming year.

Prof Brian Fitzgerald delivered that message at the announcement of a Horizon 2020 workshop which will be taking place in University College Dublin (UCD) on 10 January.

Speaking at the event, Fitzgerald, chief scientist at the Irish software engineering centre Lero, said: “Ireland has declared a target of winning at least €1bn in research grants under the Horizon 2020 programme which is a significant increase on our performance under previous EU funding programmes. This requires an effort from both academic and industry participants in Ireland.

“We cannot afford to wait as the first deadlines for a significant proportion of the budget will be in April this year,” Fitzgerald said.

The year 2014 marks the first year of the European Union’s seven-year Horizon 2020 programme, which aims to put almost €80bn worth of funding into creating more jobs in the fields of innovation and technology.

Just as important is the pursuance of breaking boundaries in science and technology with the help of this funding.

Linking business and academia

The programme was first announced in December last year and aims to create stronger links between business and academia in Ireland, Europe and the world over the seven-year period.

The seminar will provide a series of lectures and workshops run by Lero, which works with Irish universities and SMEs in turning innovation into a viable business product. There will also be workshops provided by Enterprise Ireland on the day.

One of the most exciting areas where funding is being focused on a European level is in atomic research in collaboration with the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), which will receive €1.6bn alone in funding for the development of greater nuclear protection and future energy research.

Overall, funding will split €15bn over the first two years of the programme amongst the three pillars set down in the original plan: excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic