Three Irish research projects bag €11m in record EIC funding round

29 Oct 2020

Energy storage technology is among the three winning Irish projects. Image: © tongpatong/

Three research projects with participation from Irish institutions will receive a total of €11m as part of the European Innovation Council ‘Pathfinder’ pilot.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) announced that 58 research proposals for its ‘Pathfinder’ pilot programme have been funded to the tune of €191m. This is the highest-ever budget and number of applications for this type of funding, the EIC said.

Pathfinder was launched to transform high-risk, high-impact research ideas into novel technologies, and the winning proposals were chosen from 902 applications. Three of the winning projects have strong Irish participation, securing a total of €11m.

Waterford IT is to lead a €4.4m project for treating neurodegenerative disorders, which involves six other partners including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Called ‘PRIME’, this project aims to provide a diagnostic-therapeutic treatment for epilepsy and other neurological diseases that feature disrupted neuronal network function.

An ‘array of radically new ideas’

University College Cork (UCC) will lead a €3.4m project with four other partners including the UCC Academy Designated Activity Company. The project aims to develop a new proof-of-concept nanofluidic platform technology based on the flux of ions in nanochannels. This could lead to a breakthrough in versatile and sustainable low-grade heat waste energy harvesting and storage.

Finally, the Tyndall National Institute and Trinity College Dublin are partners in the €3.2m project led by Italy’s Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche. It aims to develop a novel technological platform for the voltage control of interfacial magnetism to increase the speed of information processing.

Commenting on the 58 winning proposals, Mariya Gabriel, the European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, said: “The array of radically new ideas received for the EIC Pathfinder shows the incredible innovations requiring EU support.

“Investments in research and innovation means that we can back many more of these yet-to-be-discovered technologies and support visionary researchers and entrepreneurs, making Europe more competitive and ensuring Europe leads the next wave of innovation.”

The highest number of successful projects were selected from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Switzerland, with almost 30pc led by female researchers and 26pc classed as ‘green technologies’ set to support the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic