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Representation in Ireland

EU research and innovation in Ireland


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

Some of the successes for Irish research funding under Horizon 2020 came through the European Research Council, from which just under €140 million was secured, and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) from which Irish researchers at various stages of their careers were awarded more than €176 million. Irish SMEs enjoyed considerable success with Horizon 2020 funding, accounting for €307.2 million of the overall total.

According to the 2022 European Semester report for Ireland, the country’s research and development investment is relatively low compared to other Member States, and is not at the expected level for an economy at Ireland’s stage of development.

Skills shortages have been identified in several sectors, including IT, science, engineering, and health but the 2022 Semester report acknowledges that some progress had been made in implementing measures to stimulate research and innovation since the previous report.

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 get involved in or lead 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.

Enterprise Ireland coordinates the network of national contact points for Horizon Europe in Ireland. The agency has a dedicated website where potential applicants can find out more about the programme and explore past Irish success stories.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe in Ireland

European Research Area

European Research Council

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)


The European Innovation Council (EIC) is Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identify, develop and support new technologies and game-changing innovations. About two-thirds of Europe's economic growth over the last few decades has been driven by innovation.

Ireland has transformed itself over the past 40 years into one of Europe’s top ten innovation nations. The country is classed as a ‘strong innovator’ Member State in the 2022 European Innovation Scoreboard, which provides an analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours.

Illustrative graphic showing individual country performances on the 2022 EU Innovation Scoreboard

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

But innovation certainly isn’t confined to big business and 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

Questions and answers on the European Scorecard 2022

EIC funding opportunities

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 and 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

Over 2,700 Irish organisations have been involved in Horizon 2020 projects, receiving over €1.21 billion in EU funding. Irish SMEs have been granted over €300 million of this total. Ireland’s success rate in applying for research funding is above the EU average and Irish SMEs are ranked amongst the best in the EU for innovation.

Gary Keating, Chief Technology Officer at HiberGene Diagnostics which received EU funding to develop a rapid diagnostic test for Covid-19

Examples of EU-funded Irish projects:

Single Electronic Data Interchange Area (SEDIA)

EU-funded projects involving Irish researchers

Covid-19 research

The European Union was at the forefront of supporting research and innovation into combating pandemics long before the outbreak of Covid-19. In fact, between 2007 and 2019 €4.1 billion was invested in research into: epidemiology, preparedness and response to outbreaks, the development of diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

Within hours of the World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a global public health concern on 30 January 2020, the European Commission launched a €10 million emergency call for Coronavirus research projects.