Thinking about trying for Horizon 2020 funding? Then watch this

3 Jul 2018

Dr Imelda Lambkin, national director for Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland, speaking on stage at Inspirefest 2018. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Innovative companies across Europe could be missing out on millions of euro in funding under the Horizon 2020 programme, according to Enterprise Ireland’s Dr Imelda Lambkin.

Ireland might be a small island on the fringe of Europe, but it has punched well above its weight when it comes to attracting funding for some of the most innovative companies and start-ups engaged in top-level research.

Speaking on stage at Inspirefest 2018, Dr Imelda Lambkin, the national director for Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland, said that under the EU’s research funding programme, as much as €70bn is available to both academia and industry to solve global issues such as disease or climate change.

To get a sense of Ireland’s achievements, it is worth noting that the country has attracted approximately €500m of that fund in various projects under the current programme.

In Dublin alone, there are dozens of companies – particularly around Silicon Docks – that have taken advantage of Horizon 2020 funding, helped in no small part by the nearby prestigious universities, including Trinity College Dublin.

Seeking disruptive companies

One of the biggest success stories of the Horizon 2020 programme on this island was announced in April of this year with food producer Glanbia.

In what was the largest Horizon 2020 award ever for Ireland, the company received €22m to develop a bio-refinery for the creation of cleaner plastics.

While there is a sense that some companies might not be aware of what they are able to apply for, there is some help available from Enterprise Ireland.

As Lambkin stressed, unlike venture capital funding and other types of commercial funding, accessing the Horizon 2020 programme could see you net potentially millions of euro in funding with no equity or need to give up a part of your business.

“If you’re a company with a disruptive technology, this is for you,” she said.

Discussions are already underway on the successor to Horizon 2020 with a funding pool worth a potential €100bn. In the meantime, Lambkin advises interested business to reach out to Enterprise Ireland and its team of around 30 advisers.

“If you haven’t looked at the programme, perhaps now is the time as it is a fund that’s growing.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Ultra Early Bird tickets for Inspirefest 2019 are available now.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic