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€79 Billion Horizon 2020, Europe’s largest ever fund for research and innovation comes to Ireland

· Horizon 2020, Europe’s largest ever fund for research and innovation comes to Ireland

· €79 Billion available to companies and researchers announces EU Commissioner

· Ireland aims to win €1.25 bn - an average of €3M per week - over lifetime of 7 year programme

Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new €79 billion programme for research and innovation to create new growth and jobs in Europe, was launched in the Convention Centre Dublin today (Tuesday 10 December 2013).

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Seán Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation launched the largest European fund to date to support research and innovation to an audience of over 2,000 people from companies and academic researchers in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn outlined the opportunities for Ireland’s economy and society presented by Horizon 2020: “Investment in research, innovation and science is essential if Europe and Ireland are to create new high-quality jobs. Horizon 2020 funding is based on competitive calls that are open to everyone. It is up to individual researchers, research organisations, companies or other organisations to get involved.” The Commissioner urged Irish companies and researchers to ‘be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now”.

Seán Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation stated: “Ireland has adopted a new strategy to ensure strong participation by Irish researchers and companies in Horizon 2020, with an ambitious target of winning €1.25 bn over the programme period.” Minister Sherlock drew attention to the measures taken to make it easier for SMEs to participate. “Irish SMEs can engage in large collaborative projects, or seek support through a new dedicated SME instrument for highly innovative smaller companies. The amount of red tape has been slashed and a risk finance support for SMEs is being put in place to generate commercial value from their research, resulting in economic growth and job creation” said Minister Sherlock.

Dr. Imelda Lambkin, National Director of Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland highlighted the high levels of interest from ‘newcomers’ to EU funding in the build up to today’s launch. “It is vital that we attract new companies and researchers to apply for funding from Horizon 2020. The National Support Network for Horizon 2020 led by Enterprise Ireland is driving participants to go for bigger and more valuable projects as this is how we will reach our target of winning €1.25BN in funding for Ireland over the next 7 years” said Dr. Lambkin.

Horizon 2020 has an increased budget of nearly 30% in real terms compared with its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). Ireland was successful in achieving the national target of winning €600M in funding from FP7.