The Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr. Damien English T.D., has congratulated Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and their enterprise partners on their success in being part of the winning consortia for the two new KICs – large scale innovation partnerships - that were announced yesterday by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The two new KICs are in the areas of Health and Raw Materials and will aim to boost the EU’s innovation capacity in what are seen as two of the key societal challenges facing Europe. The two partnerships will become fully operational in 2015.
The Minister said “I am delighted that Irish researchers and companies will be involved in these large scale European innovation projects. It is a recognition of the research and innovation capacity in Ireland that it has been successful in not just one of the consortia, but in both of the consortia chosen by the EIT. It is also the results of a 3 year strategy by Enterprise Ireland to ensure Irish participation in such large strategic European initiatives”.
“Involvement in these projects not only brings with it significant funding, but it also allows Irish researchers and companies to collaborate with the best in Europe on finding innovative solutions to some of the most significant challenges facing Europe today.”
The decision by the EIT Board was made following a shortlisting of consortia by independent international experts. The overriding criteria for selecting these consortia was excellence, and their impact in terms of business creation, entrepreneurship education and societal benefits.
These two KICs join the initial three KICs that were approved by the EIT in 2009. The EIT with a budget of €2.7 billion is an important part of the Horizon 2020 programme, which is the EU’s €80bn research programme that commenced in 2014 and will run to 2020. The Horizon 2020 programme offers significant opportunities for Ireland’s researchers and companies through its competitive funding calls.
In recognising the strategic importance of being part of the EIT is 2 such key areas, Enterprise Ireland supported Trinity College Dublin to bring together and lead the Irish partnerships in both areas. The Minister also stated that “This investment has now paid off and will reap rewards into the future, not only in positioning Ireland in 2 key very large scale initiatives, but also as an innovation player in Europe, attracting the best and brightest to join the successful participants. Involvement in the EIT is expected to open up opportunities across Europe for Irish SMEs who will have privileged access to other leading European players in their area”.