Irish researchers gain €213m from Europe’s €50bn R&D fund

19 Jul 2010

Irish researchers have won funding totalling €213m for collaborative research out of the €50bn EU Seventh Framework Programme – seen as a major asset in the EU’s fight against the current economic crisis.

The Irish research projects cover areas like ICT, health, nanotechnology and energy, the Science and Innovation Minister Conor Lenihan TD said.

The €50bn Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7) ring-fenced budget is growing every year by 13pc until 2013. FP7 runs from 2007 to 2013 and in the period up to April 2010, researchers from Irish companies and higher education institutions won funding totalling €213m for collaborative research projects in areas like ICT, health, nanotechnology and energy research.

Companies have secured €55.5m of the funding to date. SMEs account for more than 69pc of the funding to private industry, funding that is enabling Irish SMEs to collaborate with world-class research teams across Europe.

“I am particularly pleased to see the high level of activity of Irish researchers both from academic and industry,” Lenihan said following his meeting with EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science Maire Geoghegan Quinn, where he presented her with a report on Ireland’s success in accessing funding under FP7.

“In the period from commencement of FP7 to April 2010, 2,965 applicants from Irish-based organisations took part in proposal submissions requesting European funding.

“From these proposals, 720 applicants were successful, receiving €213m, giving an overall Irish success rate of 24.28pc, above the European Member State average of 22.28pc.

“The Irish success rates ahead of the overall EU average are very positive indications of the prospects for Irish participation in FP7 and are ahead of our national targets. The new ideas and innovations generated from these research collaborations will help create new high quality jobs.”

On 20 July, Europe will issue more than 50 calls for research proposals, with something of potential interest to all types of companies in Ireland, regardless of where they are in terms of R&D capability.

Companies – whether small or large, Irish-owned or just based in Ireland – can apply for funding through FP7 to do research in areas including health, transport, environment, nanotechnology, energy, ICT and agriculture and many more.

Speaking in advance of the call opening date, Lenihan said: “Since the European Commission made it more attractive by giving 75pc funding for SMEs, I expect to see an increase in the level of applications to FP7 from small companies in Ireland.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years