Launch of Marie Curie FP7 People Programme

Over 70 years after her death, Marie Curie is helping Irish researchers carry out ground breaking work due to a funding programme that bears her name. The Marie Curie ‘People’ Programme, as part of the EU’s Framework Programme 7 for R&D (FP7), was launched today by the Irish Universities Association. The aim of the launch is to encourage researchers from academia and industry to participate in this FP7 programme which will make €4.7billion in funding available over the next seven years.

Irish research institutions and companies have attracted over €60m from the Marie Curie Programme since 2002. This is more than four times what Ireland would have expected to secure given the small size of our researcher population. It is important to understand that this programme does not merely hand out money but awards funds through a fiercely competitive process based on international peer review. The Marie Curie Programme covers the salary costs of researchers hired for the project and contributes to research, management costs and overheads. Contract values vary between €150,000 for a single researcher up to €1.5million for a research team and in the order of €3million for a research collaboration.

The Marie Curie Programme is a key European instrument that funds both excellent researchers and those with a clear potential for future achievement. The training of young researchers is an integral part of the programme with career prospects enhanced through specific career development measures.

This programme has funded research projects in a wide range of areas including breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at NUI Galway, monitoring of urban pollutants at University College Cork and computer recognition of sign language at Dublin City University. It is one of the few initiatives where the European Commission funds researchers not only in the so-called “Hard Sciences” but also in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Kelley Johnson, moved from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia to the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin, where she was appointed as an Incoming International Fellow (IIF) to lead the project, Nothing about Us Without us. The research project focuses on what people with learning disabilities see as relevant to their lives. By carrying out inclusive research, such marginalised groups have some ownership over the process of research itself, for example being members of advisory committees or engaged as co-researchers.

The Marie Curie programme has also helped to develop R&D capacity in companies large and small, including industry-academia partnerships such as Sigmedia based in Trinity College Dublin working with The Foundry in London. Sigmedia, led by Dr Anil Kokaram, and their industry partners received an Academy Award for the development of visual effects software for the film industry at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science ceremony in Los Angeles in March of this year.

The importance of Marie Curie funding for research in industry was illustrated by an awardee, Aidan Kennedy from Cork firm SIFCO. Speaking at the launch he said; “The project has had a very positive impact on the company by infusing new thinking into the traditional “in house” processes and approaches to technology development within SIFCO. We can now compete in a very competitive global market and secure the continued employment of about 100 people in Cork.”

The Irish Marie Curie Office at the Irish Universities Association is the National Contact Point for the European Commission’s Human Resources and Mobility Programme in Ireland. The office provides advice and support to researchers, research active organisations and companies in submitting their proposals and in managing their Marie Curie Projects. Harnessing academic know-how in accessing European funds is helping Irish Industry in building R&D capability. Dr. Conor O’Carroll, head of the Research Office at the IUA said:“Over the past four years academic and industry researchers in Ireland have hugely benefited from the Marie Curie programme and have shown themselves to be amongst the most competitive and competent in Europe. The IUA is committed to ensuring even greater success in the future through its support for researchers competing in this programme.”

Ends.

For more Information contact:
Lia O’Sullivan, Communications Manager, Irish Universities Association
Tel : +353 085 7141414         lia.osullivan@iua.ie

Notes for the Editor

The Irish Marie Curie Office is based at the Irish Universities Association. Key contacts are:
Dr. Conor O’Carroll, National Delegate – Marie Curie – Conor.ocarroll@iua.ie
Dr. Dagmar Meyer, National Contact Point – Marie Curie – dagmar.meyer@iua.ie

More information on the FP7 Marie Curie (‘People’) Programme can be found on CORDIS athttp://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/people/home_en.html

The Irish FP7 National Support Network is managed by Enterprise Ireland. The Irish FP7 National Support Network comprises 33 national contact points and national delegates from ten Irish organisations, of which the IUA is one. The network offers assistance to participants in FP7 in the form of advice on participation and financial incentives. Visit www.fp7-ireland.com for more information and contact details of the members of the National Support Network.