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EU research and innovation in Ireland

Research and innovation (R&I) are key components in securing Ireland’s economic future and they’re at the heart of the European Commission’s policies to boost jobs, growth and investment.

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has helped attract billions of euro to Ireland in foreign direct investment (FDI) from companies in hi-tech sectors like Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Pharmaceuticals, Digital Media and Social Media.

But innovation isn’t confined to big business and the EU provides funding and support to Irish start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with breakthrough innovation projects through funding sources such as EIC Accelerator.

European Innovation Council

European innovation scoreboard 2020

Questions and answers on the European Scorecard 2020

EIC funding opportunities

Horizon Europe will allow researchers, scientists and innovators to lead a more green, digital and inclusive recovery. With Ireland being a strong innovator, I am confident that its top talents will continue to participate with great success and help deliver new knowledge and solutions for a sustainable future.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Areas of success for Irish funding under Horizon 2020 include the European Research Council which secured over €135 million and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) from which Ireland was awarded more than €176 million. Irish SMEs enjoyed considerable success with funding, accounting for €280 million of the overall total.

EU support for research and innovation encourages cooperation between research teams across countries and disciplines, which is vital in making breakthrough discoveries.

This means Irish researchers can be part of, or even take the lead in, projects that can deliver on EU priority goals like smart technologies, sustainable transport or ‘green’ energy sources.

Being part of the European Research Area (ERA) is another way Ireland can contribute significantly to global research and development. The ERA was created to help Europe become the world’s leading ‘knowledge economy’ by developing a single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology across the EU.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe in Ireland

European Research Area

European Research Council

Funding for Ireland

Irish researchers with viable proposals can search for funding opportunities on the Single Electronic Data Interchange Area (SEDIA), which is the single-entry point for finding and managing EU grants and procurement contracts.

The Horizon 2020 & Horizon Europe funding streams give participants exposure to a large European network of relevant research organisations, business advisory services, investors and companies.

Christine O’Meara, Walton Institute, AgROBOfood, Horizon 2020 project

The European Commission has pledged just over €1 billion from Horizon 2020 for diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and research into all aspects of the pandemic and EU Research Ministers accelerated support to European research teams by endorsing the ten-point ERAvsCorona action plan to combat the coronavirus, including the funding of innovative approaches for researchers to deliver quick results.

The European Commission also launched a new European Research Area (ERA) corona platform to provide information, dedicated support and real-time updates on funding opportunities for coronavirus related research and innovation.

Examples of Irish researchers involved in projects dedicated to finding solutions to Covid-19 problems include:

  • Remedy Biologics Limited developed an antibody platform to help identify the optimal antibodies to treat severe cases of the disease.
  • Eight Irish SMEs were amongst 72 innovative companies across Europe to receive Horizon 2020 grants totalling €314 million to combat COVID-19.
  • Irish SME Pintail Ltd is coordinating the PORSAV project developing new technology to protect surgeons and patients from COVID-19.

Coronavirus research and innovation

European Research Area (ERA) corona platform

ERAvsCorona action plan

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