£138m EU Funding On Horizon Delegates Told

Ireland could benefit from €175 million (£138m) in EU funding if the opportunities of the Horizon 2020 programme are seized.

A conference organised by cross-border body InterTradeIreland and enterprise departments on both sides of the border heard of the “significant opportunities” offered by the initiative given the right amount of collaboration.

The scheme aims to distribute €80 billion (£63bn) across Europe to projects that show cooperation between researchers in business and academia.

The conference set out plans to target €175m (£138m) for projects throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Delegates heard that north-south collaboration had many advantages including the lack of a language barrier, proximity for meetings and interaction and close relationships between the supporting agencies, including InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI.

Speaking at the event in Dublin, permanent secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Deti) Andrew McCormick said Horizon 2020 “presents significant opportunities for Northern Ireland companies and academic institutions to engage in ground breaking research and innovation activities”.

“The programme presents invaluable opportunities for our local SMEs in particular to collaborate on an international basis with other companies and leading research institutions on the development of new products and services,” he said.

“We have an opportunity to capitalise on the existing strong links in research and innovation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Through InterTradeIreland, both governments are adopting a more focussed, coherent approach to cooperation in innovation.”

Mr McCormick said collaborative work was already paying dividends.

“The early statistics from Horizon 2020 show that the number of successful collaborations between Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland researchers continues to rise,” he said.

“To ensure that we build on this success Minister Foster and Minister Bruton and have agreed a new strategic action plan for cooperation on
Horizon 2020. This strategic action plan sets a target of €175 million from north/south collaboration and details actions for cooperation which will drive increased success in Horizon 2020 for both governments.”

Director of strategy and policy at InterTradeIreland Aidan Gough said the presence of both departments at the conference “is testimony to the high priority both jurisdictions place on this important source of research funding”.

“It is also a clear recognition of the unique opportunity that cross-border cooperation offers to help Northern Ireland and Ireland in achieving ambitious drawdown targets. This year’s conference brings together the support framework in both jurisdictions with potential applicants and interested parties to build on the growing number of successful north south applications,” he said.

InterTradeIreland said it is supporting partnerships through a range of supports including ravel vouchers and a Horizon 2020 web portal and app.

Source: irishnews.com