Researchers eye up €1bn fund

Researchers gather in Athlone, Co Westmeath, today to figure out how best to tap €1bn of European funding.

The money is earmarked under the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding programme.

Up to 300 researchers are attending Science Foundation Ireland’s annual two-day Science Summit at the Hodson Bay Hotel to discuss ‘Delivering 2020’.

Director general Mark Ferguson said they have developed initiatives designed to ensure the Irish research community maximises its return from the programme.

“This year’s Summit is about ‘Delivering 2020’ within the context of both Horizon 2020 and SFI’s own ‘Agenda 2020’.”

Initiatives include EU grant managers to assist SFI-funded research centres; enhanced development and support programmes for applicants to the European Research Council; and promoting a collaborative, all-island approach to Horizon 2020.

According to chef de cabinet of the European commissioner for research and innovation, John Bell, applicants will be funded if they can prove that their research will create jobs.

He said the EU’s programme intends to reframe research and innovation as a driver of economic reform. “The successful applicants will be awarded funds with the aim to create impact in their areas of research and job creation,” he said.

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