Irish Universities & Companies take 25% of an entire European R&D Fund

The Irish Universities Association today announced the successful funding of research in Irish Universities and Industry to the tune of €10million in the current EU Marie Curie funding round. This brings the total amount of funding, secured by Ireland from the European Commission’s highly competitive Marie Curie Programme, to €42 million. The funding will expand Ireland’s R&D capability by attracting a total of 220 top class researchers from around the world.

The current round represents 16 funded projects across eight Irish organisations: Cellix Ltd., Sigmoid Ltd., Duolog Ltd., Celtic Catalysts Ltd., University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway. The projects span a large variety of disciplines, from life sciences to nanotechnology and also include the humanities. The significance of this success for Irish Research cannot be understated, as the contract values represent almost one quarter of the total available fund for all Europe under this scheme.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) provides a national support service for industry and academia in preparing and submitting proposals to this programme. 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:

” This is an example of where universities and companies working together can demonstrate the high quality of R&D in Ireland by being more successful than any other European country in securing funding from this highly sought after funding.”

The stated Government policy is to increase research in Irish industry. In this context, the Irish Universities Association undertook to actively promote the Marie Curie Programme to companies. As a direct result, 20% of the total €42million has been won by Industry here. This proves that despite Government concerns about the decreasing involvement of Irish Industry in FP6, the Marie Curie Programme is bucking this trend.

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. The importance of this funding for research is illustrated by an awardee, Dr. Michael Madden of the Laboratory for Biomedical Data Mining in NUI Galway,

It will contribute to NUI Galway’s capacity to perform research, and help to improve the competitiveness within the knowledge economy of the Objective 1 Region in which Galway is located. It will also enhance our interactions with other European research institutes, and help promote research as a profession. We owe a debt of gratitude to the IUA in their assistance on how to structure a proposal and their advice most certainly contributed to its success”.

Significant opportunities still remain for research organisations in the Marie Curie Programme with more than €450million available in early 2006. The Irish Universities Association will strongly support potential applicants in industry, universities and institutes of technology to maximise further success.

For Further Information contact:

Lia O’Sullivan, Communications Manager, Irish Universities Association
Direct Tel:  01 799 6022
Mobile: 085 7141414

Background Information

For further information on Marie Curie Activity, including many case studies and quotes from successful applicants:

A key conference on Industry and Academia collaboration will take place on 30th November in the Helix. The conference “Careering Towards the Knowledge Society” will be a joint IBEC/IUA initiative, addressing the challenges facing Ireland in embedding future investment for the development of a sustainable R&D landscape.

Other successful public research organisations & universities funded are Dublin City University, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Limerick, RCSI, DIAS, Teagasc, Tallaght IT and WIT.

Industry in Ireland sees huge benefit in Marie Curie and the programme now funds the top two multinational FP6 contracts and eight out of the top nine indigenous Irish-owned company contracts. The fact that partners are not required for most Marie Curie projects is a key advantage for organisations concerned about IP protection. Other Companies funded to date are Aughinish Alumina, Ericsson, NTERA, Allegro Technologies, EirX Therapeutics, and AquaTT.

Breakdown of Total FP6 Income to Ireland by FP6 Programme