The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, and Enterprise Ireland, this week launched two new programmes with funding of over €63M, focused on supporting Irish innovators and research.
The programmes are administered by Enterprise Ireland, and co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which aims to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion across all European regions. The Managing Authorities for the ERDF in Ireland are the Northern & Western Regional Assembly and the Southern Regional Assembly.
The Innovators’ Initiative is a new €30M national initiative with the objective of developing a series of immersive, needs-led innovation training programmes. These training programmes will create cohorts of highly skilled innovators, who can identify unmet market needs within specific sectors of growth in Ireland.
This training will attract high calibre individuals and inter-disciplinary teams who, through their immersion and identification of needs in these environments – via the use of a design methodology – will be supported to generate new product and process ideas, new IP and in some cases, supported to create high-potential-start-ups (HPSUs). On completion of a programme, participants can return to their sectors with the accrued benefits of their new skills and training, or can form new start-up teams.
The Innovators’ Initiative programmes will be hosted in Irish publicly funded Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) – mainly third level institutions – or within a consortia of RPOs. Applications are now being sought from publicly funded RPOs from areas of sectoral importance to Ireland.
Successfully awarded programmes will each focus on a specific sector of national or regional importance, and will articulate the industrial strength and research capability of the region in which the programme is to be based.
Also being launched today is KT Boost, a new four-year, €33.4M knowledge transfer funding programme for Irish universities and technological universities (TUs). Its objective is to support an increase in research commercialisation outcomes from within this sector – both regionally and nationally – and to develop consistent practices across the knowledge transfer (KT) sector.
KT Boost will be managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), on behalf of Enterprise Ireland and the ERDF. KTI is the national office responsible for making the process of engaging with public research and of research commercialisation more simple and straightforward. It helps business to benefit from access to Irish expertise and technology by making it easier to connect and engage with the research base in Ireland.
KT Boost will focus on bolstering capacity and capability within Innovation Offices at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) so as to further support knowledge transfer activities, outputs and performance. The programme succeeds the Enterprise Ireland Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI) – which has run since 2007 – and invested more than €88million into the development and strengthening of Ireland’s knowledge transfer and research commercialisation system, to date.
Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, said: “These two new funding programmes, which are worth €63M combined, signal a major vote of confidence for both innovation and research in Ireland. We have a very strong and well-earned reputation for our capabilities in research, innovation and knowledge transfer, and this will enable us to build further on that success.
I very much welcome that the funding programmes will be targeted both nationally and regionally at sectors and organisations, where growth will be identified and subsequently supported and generated. I would like to acknowledge the important role of the ERDF in co-funding these initiatives alongside the Government.”
Marina Donohoe, Head of Research and Innovation at Enterprise Ireland, said: “These funding programmes build on the extensive range of Enterprise Ireland supports already available for Irish research, innovation and knowledge transfer. The programmes will enable those active in this space to investigate, establish and develop new ideas. Both initiatives will accelerate the development of innovation capability in Irish enterprise across all regions and we look forward to supporting the projects involved.”