Irish SMEs and Higher Education Institutions collaborate in €9.1 million Horizon 2020 Success


17 October 2014

Irish SMEs and Higher Education Institutions collaborate in €9.1 million Horizon 2020 Success

Research collaborations between Irish SMEs and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have secured over €9.1 million in the first outcomes from the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation programme. Irish research performers consistently achieved success rates above the EU average, outperforming organisations from France, Italy, Spain and the UK. In one programme, 57% of Irish participants were selected for funding, with one project ranked top in all of Europe. The funding will support research and innovation projects at 18 Irish research performers including nine SMEs, many of which are spin-outs from HEIs. Among the successful projects are a number involving Irish organisations working with their counterparts in Northern Ireland.

Damien English, Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, said “I am very pleased by this successful outcome in Horizon 2020 for Irish research performers. Ireland has set ambitious targets for Horizon 2020 performance and these first successes place Ireland on the road to achieving those targets. What is particularly impressive is the strong engagement of Irish SMEs in the programme, and I am also delighted to see the level of cross-border collaborations with research teams in Northern Ireland.

The successes came in the area of Horizon 2020 known as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and build on Ireland’s success in the predecessor Marie Curie Actions under Framework Programme Seven. Over €110 million of research funding was secured between 2007 and 2013, supporting around 500 high-value research jobs and studentships.

The largest portion of the new Horizon 2020 funding will underpin Irish involvement in pan-European Innovative Training Networks (ITN), offering high-quality research training for postgraduate students. The remainder will support collaborative research visits between Ireland and research performers worldwide through Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE). An important aspect of these programmes is the opportunity for students and researchers to work with industry and other employment sectors, strengthening the links between academia and the wider job market and stimulating entrepreneurship in the Irish research community.

Successful projects include:

  • Waterford Institute of Technology and University of Ulster developing wrist and arm sensing technologies for detection and monitoring of irregular heartbeat, along with  universities and a health care trust in the UK and France, and a company in Croatia.
  • Arup Consulting Engineers, collaborating with University College Dublin and partners in the UK, France, Sweden and Spain to build and maintain safer buildings, transport and energy infrastructure.
  • Carlow’s T. E. Laboratories Ltd., Dublin City University and Queen’s University Belfast working with companies and HEIs across Europe to develop better processes for dealing with contaminated land.

Speaking about his project, Mark Bowkett, Managing Director of T.E. Laboratories said “Engaging in Horizon 2020 is a key part of our business plan. Working in collaborative projects such as this helps us to develop relationships with universities here and abroad, and the European collaborations assist us in finding new markets for our products and services.”


For more information contact:

Dr Jennifer Brennan, Marie Skłodowska-Curie National Contact Point          Tel: 01 6764948


Note to the Editor:

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are a European Union Funding Programme which supports researchers at all stages of their careers, across all research disciplines and in all employment sectors. It is named after the famous Polish-born Nobel Prize winning researcher. The opportunities in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions range from individual fellowships for talented researchers to large-scale pan-European research training networks.

The Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office is jointly operated by the Irish Universities Association and the Irish Research Council.  The office provides advice and support on preparing applications for Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding and the management of Marie Skłodowska-Curie awards.