• The COVID Products Scheme will accelerate the production of vital medicines, potential vaccines and essential medical equipment.

  • The Scheme allows for grant aid of up to 50% of eligible capital investment.

  • The life sciences sector directly employs over 60,000 people in Ireland.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced details of a new grant scheme aimed at supporting the production of vital medicines and medical equipment in Ireland. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation received approval for the Scheme from the European Commission today.

The COVID Products Scheme has been developed under a new European Commission Temporary Framework that allows additional aid to be granted by EU Member States to companies that are developing or producing medicinal products used in the fight against COVID-19. The scheme will be delivered through IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland under the terms of the Temporary Framework, which is aimed at supporting the research, development, and production of COVID-19 related products in Ireland.

The scheme allows for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak.

Minister Humphreys said: “The challenge of COVID-19 is first and foremost a health emergency and we will continue to prioritise the medical response to the pandemic.  The intention of this new scheme is to accelerate the production of vital medicines and potential vaccines, along with essential equipment, used in the fight against COVID-19”.
Minister Humphreys continued: “The life sciences sector directly employs over 60,000 people right around the country and virtually all of the world’s top companies have chosen Ireland as a manufacturing base.  This new scheme aims to capitalise on that hard-earned reputation and the positive effects of this additional investment will be felt not only in additional direct employment, but also throughout the economy, as many companies based in Ireland are an integral part of the materials and services supply chain”.
The introduction of the scheme will allow IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to generate significant additional capital investment from firms in the life sciences sector, thereby helping the national economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Companies in the pharmaceutical sector, including a number of existing IDA clients, are currently engaged in developing both COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Companies are also seeking to increase manufacturing capacity to meet intense global demand for treatments found to be effective.
CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan, said:

“This new State Aid Framework sanctioned for Ireland by the EU and targeted at Medicinal products for Covid-19 is a significant step forward.  The Life Sciences sector will be central to creating an environment where human health is protected and economic life can begin to return to normal and this will allow us to support the sector.
“The size and breadth of Ireland’s Life Sciences industry makes us well placed to leverage the Framework to support the industry to quickly respond to Covid-19 demand and form a key pillar in Ireland’s comprehensive economic recovery plan.”

CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, said: “Enterprise Ireland very much welcomes the announcement of this new scheme.  We have a fantastic cluster of Irish companies in the medtech, engineering, consumer and digital technology sectors in Ireland who have demonstrated the strength of their innovative capabilities in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Driven by the increased demand for lifesaving solutions their response to Covid-19 has positioned the country 6th in the world for Covid19 innovations and will see growth opportunities for this cohort across the globe.  The Commission’s approval of this new scheme will allow us to further support this sector in driving increased innovation and production of products, supporting research and development of Covid-19 products, and enabling the construction or upgrading of testing and manufacturing facilities in Ireland.”

The scheme allows for grant aid of up to 50% of eligible capital investment. This will ensure that the intervention will have a substantial impact on COVID-19 related production and will drive a significant return for the State.

Details on the opening of the scheme will be made available in the coming days. Applications for aid under the scheme must be approved no later than 31 December, 2020.