John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development has called on Ireland’s researchers and companies to seize the opportunities presented in the €30 billion final work programme of Horizon 2020 at a national launch event held at University College Dublin (UCD).

Over 700 representatives from Irish companies and research performing organisations packed the UCD O’Reilly Hall for the national launch of the Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-2020, hosted by Enterprise Ireland and co-sponsored by InterTradeIreland.

Minister John Halligan TD said, “To date Ireland has won €475 million in competitive funding and is now poised to capitalise on the opportunity of the Horizon 2020 work programme for 2018-2020 with its budget of €30 billion.”

“Ireland is already a winner in Horizon 2020 but we cannot be complacent. As we enter the final work programme of Horizon 2020, I encourage all researchers – in companies, Higher Education Institutes and public bodies – to be ambitious in the next stage of Horizon 2020. These are the entities which are already competing at the highest levels of European research, I urge them to engage with the National Support Network for Horizon 2020 to seize this opportunity.”

Dr Imelda Lambkin, Ireland’s National Director for Horizon 2020, added, “The launch of the final work programme also provides the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Ireland’s researchers and companies.”

“More than 1,100 applications have been successful so far, 536 to higher education researchers and 430 to companies, with Ireland’s success rate above the EU average. We now have an opportunity to make bold progress to the end of Horizon 2020. The National Support Network for Horizon 2020, led by Enterprise Ireland, offers unrivalled expertise and is a hugely beneficial resource for both new and seasoned applicants to Horizon 2020 so my advice is to engage with this network as soon as possible.”

Guest speaker Dr Brendan Hawdon, Advisor at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation in the European Commission outlined details of the changes to the final programme including the introduction of mission-oriented activities, new ways of addressing innovation and new areas of focus which will include; Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future; Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy; Digitising and transforming European industry and services and, Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union.

Panellists at the event included; Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact; Professor Mark Ferguson, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government and Director General, Science Foundation Ireland; Sean O’Reagain, Deputy Head of Unit, Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Biotechnologies, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission; Professor Valeria Nicolosi, European Research Council Research Professor, Trinity College Dublin and Dr Michaela Black, coordinator of the MIDAS project, University of Ulster.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, said, “We were delighted to host the national launch of the final Horizon 2020 programme today at UCD. EU funding is a priority, not just for UCD but for Ireland as whole, and the presence of over 700 attendees at this event demonstrates the commitment of Ireland’s research and business communities to this programme.”

She added, “This final H2020 work programme represents an outstanding opportunity for UCD to grow its research activity over the coming years and to continue to deliver excellent research outputs and impact.”

She concluded, “We want to support our research community to deliver enhanced success in Europe.  To this end, we are currently adding three staff to our EU support team within UCD Research, to help researchers across the University to secure and mobilise EU projects under Horizon2020 and prepare us to be competitive in FP9.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government said “Ireland has done well in securing competitive funding through the first phases of the European Horizon 2020 programme. This success has been driven by world-class academic researchers and innovative companies, with the SFI Research Centres making an important contribution to our national targets. I believe that we can do even better in the 2018-2020 work programme. We must ensure that our best researchers continue to lead and succeed – and especially that they are supported to win impactful European research projects of scale. Innovation is key to the future productivity of our economy and to the sustainability and security of our society; working with our European partners ensures we are all more likely to achieve our common goals.”

Source: UCDinnovation