Firms urged to chase €79bn EU fund

Ireland aims to win €1.25 billion from Horizon 2020 research fund

European Commissioner for research, innovation & science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. Photograph: Alan Betson

European Commissioner for research, innovation & science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. Photograph: Alan Betson

Wed, Dec 11, 2013, 01:01

PAMELA NEWENHAM

Irish businesses are being urged to avail of the EU’s new €79 billion Horizon 2020 fund for research and innovation.

Launched today at the Convention Centre in Dublin, the fund aims to create jobs and drive economic growth in Europe through the provision of grants to scientists, research institutions and companies.

Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot said companies must embrace this opportunity if Ireland is to reach its target of winning €1.25 billion of funding over the next seven years.

“Irish companies have been active in drawing down such funding to date but we can still do much better. SMEs in particular will benefit from the proposed reduction in red tape and the new dedicated financial instrument for smaller companies,” he said.

Speaking at the launch, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said Irish companies should “be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now”.

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock said a number of measures have been taken to make it easier for SMEs to participate.

“Irish SMEs can engage in large collaborative projects, or seek support through a new dedicated SME instrument for highly innovative smaller companies. The amount of red tape has been slashed and a risk finance support for SMEs is being put in place to generate commercial value from their research, resulting in economic growth and job creation.”

Horizon 2020 has an increased budget of nearly 30 per cent in real terms compared with its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). Ireland was successful in achieving the national target of winning €600 million in funding from FP7.

The programme, which is the largest European fund to date to support research and innovation, is open to everyone, from individual researchers to research organisations to companies.