Henry Ford said; “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success,” and that is one of the principles of Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s seven-year, €80 billion Research and Innovation programme.
Designed to boost job creation and economic growth across Europe between 2014 and 2020, the target is that a total of €175m will be drawn down by cross-border collaborative research partnerships over the course of the programme. By March of this year, €68.5m has already been secured by 56 North-South partnerships, however, this means that at least £100m is still available from the target for qualifying projects over the next two years.
As a result of a recent study by InterTradeIreland which found that 65% of researchers and decision makers from industry and academia were unaware of the ambitious target, the organisation hosted an event aimed at ensuring the current momentum of Horizon 2020 funding applications is maintained.
InterTradeIreland’s Science, Technology and Innovation Manager, Karen McCallion (pictured) explained: “As chair of the All-Island Horizon 2020 Steering Group, InterTradeIreland is keen to continue raising awareness of the joint drawdown target set by both governments to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of research and innovation. We want researchers to be aware of this programme as a viable source of funding as well as the suite of targeted supports that InterTradeIreland can provide to them such as bespoke training initiatives, which focus on the sectors in which both Northern Ireland and Ireland have complementary strengths.”
The research supported is varied and covers a range of areas including personal health, food security, information and communication technologies, low carbon energy and the bioeconomy. These collective projects mean that organisations can take a joined-up approach to ventures that are mutually beneficial for the economies of each jurisdiction, while advancing North-South collaboration.
One successful project is the MIDAS project led by Ulster University and includes among its partners Dublin City University and Analytics Engines, a Belfast-based SME. It is available to view here and highlights the cross-border synergies and the golden opportunity that Horizon 2020 funding represents for researchers and innovators among academia, industry and SMEs across Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Karen continued: “One of the criteria for a Horizon 2020 submission is that there must be at least three different European countries involved in the project. Working on a cross-border basis means that, at the moment, two thirds of this requirement is met. This can bring its own benefits as there are no language barriers and close proximity means it is easy to get together to review what is happening and collaborate on the next steps. It is also an excellent opportunity to work in partnership with experts at the very top of their fields.
“We would encourage prospective participants both North and South to continue to build on strong cross-border relationships to maximise mutual benefit from Horizon 2020.”
To discover what’s possible with InterTradeIreland and the business supports available, please visit http://www.intertradeireland.com/horizon2020/