Participating in an FP7 project requires at least 3 EU member States to collaborate. The advantages of a North-South research collaboration in this regard and the significant opportunities this opens up for SMEs, multinationals and academic researchers in Northern Ireland and the Republic will be examined at today’s workshop. This increased cooperation will help both reach their targets for funding draw-downs from FP7- the target for Ireland is €600 million and the target for Northern Ireland is €50 million. Dr. Imelda Lambkin, Director of the FP7 Support Network in Ireland pointed out that good progress has been made to date. “Ireland’s researchers and companies have been strong participators in FP7 to date, with 353 projects receiving funding, resulting in an injection of over €84 million in R&D funding for Ireland. Of particular note is the growth in participation by SMEs, rising from 30 in October 2007 to 104 less than a year later’. ‘Ireland has the distinction of being ranked first among Member States in the recent call for Research for the Benefit of SMEs. This indicates that Irish companies are embracing this European research programme and are willing to collaborate with other companies and researchers to capitalise on the opportunities FP7 offers” she continued. To increase levels of collaboration, programme managers from Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTrade Ireland, as well as research officers from third level education institutes, will consider appropriate joint-jurisdiction support measures and look at the financial and legal issues involved in cross-border collaboration. Ireland’s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Jimmy Devins T.D welcomed the initiative saying; “Ireland, along with our European partners, has prioritised investment in knowledge and innovation as this will help Ireland to become more competitive and meet the present and future social and economic challenges in Europe. The European Union must invest to a greater extent in new cutting edge research and technology programmes so that we can ensure that we can economically compete against America, Russia, China and India for new jobs and new opportunities into the future" he concluded.
North-South Ireland collaboration
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia