Prepare to succeed by looking to the horizon
The Horizon 2020 €80bn fund is a key element of Ireland’s future growth
Dr Imelda Lambkin of Enterprise Ireland
Benjamin Franklin is well known in Europe as one of the United States’ founding fathers. But he was also a polymath, diplomat, educationalist, inventor and scientist.
He is credited with inventing the lightening rod, bifocals and could be regarded as an early environmentalist by inventing a heat-efficient stove which is still commonly used today.
How did he achieve so much? Well, one of his mottos was, “by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail”.
His words are apt for our country today. We are on the road to recovery after several years of economic retrenchment but it would be misguided to think we need to find a way back to where we were.
If we are to create a sustainably robust economy into the future, then we need to think anew and prepare now.
Horizon 2020, as the name suggests, is all about foresight.
Although we have returned to significant growth, we still need more companies to start up, innovate and scale to achieve a durable economy with thriving businesses and full employment.
Developing a bigger indigenous enterprise base will be key.
And because Ireland is one of the most open economies in the world, a sustainable enterprise base can only be achieved through exports.
While the Irish economy has yet to return to its pre-2008 powers, things have moved on in other countries.
To develop our offering to international markets, we need to plan for the future now if we are to successfully compete for the orders that will fuel our growth and create jobs for our whole workforce.
Plan in place
The good news is that a plan is already in place and Horizon 2020 is a central part. This €80 billion research and innovation fund is a key element of the EU’s strategy for sustainable growth and is available to everyone in Ireland from academic researchers, to business start-ups to established firms.
There are three pillars to Horizon 2020: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges. Each one features several programmes in areas such as health, education, energy, environment, security and social wellbeing.
Funding has been granted to Irish companies for work in areas as diverse as making cities more resilient in the face of large-scale emergencies; fostering female entrepreneurship; 3-D graphics for TV broadcasts displaying social media interactions; and extracting biogas from pig slurry. This is but a sample of the diversity of grants awarded to date.
Horizon 2020 is into its third year, and so far nearly 600 Irish applications for funding worth more than €250 million have been granted. Our success rate is above the EU average.
The Government has set an ambitious target of winning €1.25 billion under Horizon 2020, and Enterprise Ireland – and other State agencies – have supports in place to help achieve that target.
We have a dedicated Horizon 2020 unit led by Dr Imelda Lambkin with 32 European advisers drawn from 10 Irish research and industry agencies which are eager to help.
Some grant awards cover 100 per cent of project costs with a further 25 per cent to cover overheads. Grants covering 70 per cent of cost – again with the same overhead – are common.
One company recently secured €4.4million, so awards can be substantial.
Read through this supplement, and you will see many Irish companies who received Horizon 2020 grants that will boost their innovative capability and competitiveness. You will also see the social impacts that can be achieved.
The fruits of these successful applications will be seen in the years to come and form a key pillar of a sustainably stronger economy and fairer society in Ireland and the EU.
For anyone thinking seriously about applying for Horizon 2020 funding, Enterprise Ireland is here to help you all the way.
Julie Sinnamon is CEO of Enterprise Ireland