Dec 13

Firms Urged to Take Advantage as EU Offers €80bn for Research.

Irish EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and Denmark's Minister for Education Morten Oestergaard at 'Horizon 2020'BUSINESSES are being urged to take advantage of a huge new EU funding programme which opens today, making billions of euro available to Irish researchers and companies at no cost to the taxpayer.

The programme, called Horizon 2020, will distribute €80bn over seven years to European research projects. It is 30pc larger than its predecessor, FP7.

Ireland played a key role in securing the Horizon2020, as political agreement was agreed under the Irish presidency in June this year.

The funding comes mostly in the form of straightforward grants, not loans. Unlike Enterprise Ireland, the funding is not limited to export-orientated companies, and carries looser eligibility criteria than Science Foundation Ireland grants.

The Government has doubled its targets for how much Ireland should receive in comparison to the last programme. Some 400 projects won nearly €600m from FP7 — recipients included Intel, IBM and Hewlett Packard, as well as a host of smaller businesses and academics — but the State is now targeting €1.25bn worth of awards. The funding favours partnerships between multiple companies and academics, particularly partnerships across several EU countries. Trade body Enterprise Ireland, which is responsible for supporting Irish applicants, will help interested companies find suitable partners.

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