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

Monday, 21 November 2005

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.

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