Horizon Europe, the largest ever funding instrument for research and innovation in Europe, has officially launched in Ireland.

This is the ninth framework programme for research and innovation from the EU and directly follows Horizon 2020, which began in 2014.

With a budget of €95.5bn, Horizon Europe will run from 2021 to 2027. The overarching goals of the programme are to strengthen science and technology in the European Union, boost the region’s capacity and competitiveness in innovation, and deliver research projects that serve the EU’s priorities.

Last month also saw the launch of the European Innovation Council (EIC), which is part of the Horizon Europe initiative. More than €10bn has been allocated to the EIC, which will support research into emerging tech with an accelerator programme and a dedicated equity fund for innovative start-ups and SMEs.

Horizon Europe in Ireland

Enterprise Ireland coordinates the cross-governmental network of national contact points for Horizon Europe in Ireland. The agency has established a dedicated website, HorizonEurope.ie, where potential applicants can find out more about the programme and explore past Irish success stories.

“To build on our success in Horizon 2020, where over 2,700 Irish entities were involved in grant agreements, Enterprise Ireland encourages all Irish researchers, innovators and newcomers across all disciplines to look at the opportunities under the new programme,” said Garrett Murray, the national director for Horizon Europe at Enterprise Ireland.

More than 2,000 people registered to attend the launch of Horizon Europe in Ireland on 25 March, a virtual event hosted by Enterprise Ireland. The half-day event offered an overview of Horizon Europe along with practical advice on submitting competitive applications.

Enterprise Ireland supports for Horizon Europe awardees include travel grants to facilitate cross-border networking and collaboration on projects, financial support for project coordinators and assistance in applying for various grants.

Earlier in March, the European Commission adopted the first strategic plan for the funding programme, which sets the targeting of investments for the first four years.

Under this guidance, Horizon Europe will focus on EU priorities such as the climate crisis, sustainability, biodiversity and digital transformation.

The new programme also includes research missions in five key areas: cancer; carbon-neutral and smart cities; adapting to the climate crisis; oceans and waters; and soil health and food.

“Horizon Europe will allow researchers, scientists and innovators to lead a more green, digital and inclusive recovery,” said European commissioner for innovation and research Mariya Gabriel.

“With Ireland being a strong innovator, I am confident that its top talents will continue to participate with great success and help deliver new knowledge and solutions for a sustainable future.”

Irish research and innovation secured more than €1bn in support from Horizon 2020, and the country is hoping for continued success under the new programme.

“We want Irish innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs to be at the centre of this programme and to fulfil their research and innovation ambitions, scale their companies, and support a green recovery,” added Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

Elaine Burke

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