‘All-island approach to research’ gets boost with new €40m initiative

6 Jul 2021

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The Government’s new North-South Research Programme is set to be ‘an investment in the future of this island’.

A new research programme has been allocated €40m in funding to help deepen the links between higher education institutions and researchers across the island of Ireland.

The North-South Research Programme, which was launched yesterday (5 July), will be funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, said this investment “sends a clear signal” of the commitment to foster new research collaborations.

“I have always been a strong supporter of comprehensive and well-funded research programmes – it’s an investment in knowledge and skills but, more importantly, it’s an investment in the future of this island.”

The first call for applications will launch later this year.

In this call, projects between individual researchers in the Republic and Northern Ireland may receive a maximum of €100,000 per year for up to two years, while larger teams could receive up to €1m annually for up to four years.

A maximum of 50pc of any award can be allocated to research partners in Northern Ireland. A review of the funded projects will take place at the end of year two to inform the format of the fund’s second call.

The programme will be run by the Higher Education Authority and will build on its Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions approach.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for an all-island approach to research and innovation,” said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

“This funding will support individual researchers based in an Irish higher education institution to collaborate with a researcher in a higher education institution in Northern Ireland on an identified research project, or research teams to collaborate on an agreed work programme.

“We can achieve so much when we work together and it is vitally important we work together to face the great challenges we are facing as a country and a world.”

The funding for this programme is the single largest allocation to date from the €500m Shared Island Fund. This initiative was announced last year to support cross-border cooperation, all-Ireland education, infrastructure, health and climate action projects.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic