Foster Says Local Companies Can Benefit From European R&D And Innovation Funding Programmes

Local companies can benefit from European R&D and innovation funding programmes says DETI Minister Arlene Foster.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Foster today encouraged local companies to get involved in the EU’s financing programme for R&D and innovation.

Horizon 2020 will provide nearly €80billion in funding for research and innovation over the next seven years, while the COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Programme will provide €2.3billion of additional funding for SMEs by 2020.dn_screen

Addressing over 180 delegates at an information seminar on the topic, Arlene Foster said: “Horizon 2020 promises to be very good for business and it has been purposely designed for SME’s. More money will be available for testing, prototyping, demonstration and pilot type activities, for business-driven R&D, entrepreneurship, and for shaping demand for innovative products and services.

“Supporting researchers in their work will ensure that we continue to maintain, attract and develop dynamic partnerships. This will allow us to continue to develop home-grown companies, attract foreign investment, create quality jobs and maintain a strong pool of talent in Northern Ireland.”

Highlighting the opportunities that exist within Horizon 2020 for the researchers who want to collaborate, Arlene Foster continued: “In Northern Ireland, we are consolidating our research capabilities through major local collaborations right across our higher education institutions and with industry partners. Our underlying philosophy is to forge alliances between industry and researchers, and this can be evidenced in our recently established Competence Centres.

“Horizon 2020 takes this to the next level and offers great opportunities for organisations in Northern Ireland to engage in collaboration with other regions across Europe and further afield.”

The seminar at Titanic Belfast was organised by Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland European Regional Forum jointly chaired by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and Belfast City Council.

During his keynote address, Dimitri Corpakis, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation said: “Horizon 2020, the new Research Framework programme, is the EU’s flagship financing programme to strengthen Europe’s innovation leadership, by fostering excellence in research and the development of highly innovative technologies.

“This comes on top of the funding available under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which should be used to modernise research and innovation capacities at national and regional level.

“Horizon 2020 will help the EU to compete in the supply of new, highly developed and manufactured EU products and services on the international market and I encourage Northern Ireland’s SMEs to take advantage of it.”