Have you ever thought how useful it would be to work with leading organisations from across the EU to share knowledge, maximise resources, access new markets and foster co-operation to drive innovation and generate opportunities?
That is exactly what the Horizon 2020 programme can deliver as it continues to build on the success of its predecessor Framework Programme 7 (FP7).
With a total budget of €80billion from 2014-2020 it is critical that Northern Ireland companies are positioned to take advantage of the funding available through this European Union (EU) Research Framework Programme which is open to companies, researchers, academia and other organisations.
One of the key features of Horizon 2020 projects is, in the majority of cases, that they require the collaboration of at least three partners from three different EU member states. Partnering with a company/university in the Republic of Ireland means that you already have two partners and, if required, various support networks can help you identify your third partner.
North-South partnerships are an underutilised and underexploited opportunity and since 2010, both Governments have been committed to changing this mindset and encouraging North-South participation by providing cross-border supports in tandem with existing networks.
There are many benefits to working with a partner in the Republic of Ireland including a common language, the ease of movement and the high level of existing cooperation between the support networks in Northern Ireland and Ireland. Many of the services offered are complementary and often support different aspects of the research and can be accessed at the same time.
InterTradeIreland is the only organisation which has been tasked by both Governments to boost economic co-operation to the mutual benefit of Northern Ireland and Ireland and has a number of initiatives in place to facilitate this.
The Horizon 2020 app, developed by InterTradeIreland and launched in December 2013, brings together a range of benefits including the ability to find and link with industrial and academic partners. It also allows the user to submit specific partner requests, engage with support networks, receive alerts to calls and deadlines and browse Horizon 2020 events, such as the recent Collaborate to Innovate conference in Dublin, which attracted more than 300 delegates.
The InterTradeIreland travel schemes can provide up to £500 towards travel and accommodation costs when developing and establishing a partnership in the opposite jurisdiction. They can also provide financial support for existing partnerships towards the cost of attending related events, consortium meetings or EU commission meetings taking place in Europe.
In addition, InterTradeIreland offers participants free advice and online guides, help with identifying partners, advice related to project ideas and signposting to the relevant supports. There is also a research connections map and database that provides an overview of the current projects, allowing the user to apply filters to identify future potential partner organisations.
Further information on Horizon 2020 is available at http://www.intertradeireland.com/horizon2020