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Government encourages Businesses & Research Partners to apply for €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

  • Ministers Humphreys, Halligan and Breen announce that expressions of interest are now invited from groups considering applying for the Fund.

  • Funding projects that develop and deploy disruptive technologies through collaboration.

  • Fund worth €20m in 2019, rising to €30m in 2020, €40m in 2021 and €90m in 2022, with successful applicants in the first round to be announced by the end of 2018.

  • Ministers speaking in Drogheda at the launch of a report on the role of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in delivering Project Ireland 2040.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD and Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, today invited expressions of interest for the €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation (DTI) Fund.

They were speaking at the launch of the report, Project 2040: Investing in Business, Enterprise and Innovation 2018 – 2027, which outlines the role of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in delivering Project Ireland 2040. The report was launched at a special forum discussion on Innovation, Regional Economy and Preparing for Brexit at the Mill Enterprise Centre in Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Inviting expressions of interest for the Fund, Minister Humphreys said:

“This Fund is not about business as usual. We’re living in the technological revolution, and we’re looking for proposals for truly game-changing technologies. The world around us is changing and we can’t afford to stand still. The Fund is about ensuring that Ireland can stay ahead of the curve.

“We’re looking for ideas in areas like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Advanced Manufacturing and Smart and Sustainable Food Production. We’re lucky in Ireland to have companies, both multinational and indigenous, that are doing very exciting things in technology. We also have top-class researchers so we want to see proposals that involve collaboration between industry, research bodies and the public sector.”

Minister Halligan said that the new Fund will maximise the return on Ireland’s investments in research over recent years. “This will enable us to address a number of actions contained in Innovation 2020, our strategy for research and development, science and technology.”

“Our investment through the DTI Fund will help us to create and safeguard the jobs of the future. It will allow us to take research that is being performed in both the private and public sectors in such areas as healthcare, energy efficiency and sustainable agriculture and develop new solutions from that research, helping to build an ecosystem around disruptive technology and innovation and creating new markets for our enterprise sector”, he said.

Today’s discussions also focused on regional investment, such as the €60m Regional Enterprise Development Fund, which backs initiatives that are led from the regions, and how businesses are responding to and preparing for Brexit.

“The Government is focused on ensuring that the business sector is prepared and resilient to face the challenges of Brexit and that we sustain the important progress made in developing the island economy”, Minister Breen said.

“In addition, the DTI Fund will ensure that Ireland continues to be a digital hotspot and that we stay at the forefront in exciting new areas such as Artificial Intelligence, advanced manufacturing and the bio-economy”, he added.

Turning to the new report by her Department on Project Ireland 2040, Minister Humphreys concluded:

“Project Ireland 2040 recognises that economic and social progress go hand in hand and are the engines that drive our economy. Through my Department’s investments outlined today, businesses and communities, wherever they may be, now have the platform to build on their own unique strengths and be part of a dynamic and exciting modern Ireland.”

Details about the first call for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund are now available on the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and via its Agencies: Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. 

Further Information:

The €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

Application Process

All interested businesses and research performing organisations should visit www.dbei.gov.ie/DTIF for information on the application process and full information on the Fund.

Themes include Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Health and Wellbeing, Advanced and Smart Manufacturing and Smart and Sustainable Food Production and Processing.

Projects must be collaborative in nature, involving a number of partners working together. There will also be a focus on projects that can be commercialised, meaning they can have a real impact on the jobs of the future.

Announcements on the first successful projects to be funded in 2019 will be made by end 2018.

SME participation in each collaboration is an essential requirement in order to receive funding from the DTIF.

Background

Ireland’s research, development and innovation ecosystem is comprised of businesses, higher education institutions, research performing organisations and enterprise agencies that frequently collaborate on innovation projects ensuring the resulting product, service or technology has commercial application.

The establishment of a €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) will drive this collaboration between our research base and industry in support of the development and adoption of these technologies which will in turn help build new markets and strengthen the competitiveness of the enterprise sector.

To ensure the objectives of the DTIF are delivered, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will shortly establish and chair an Advisory Board comprised of nominated members of Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and others.

Overview of Project Ireland 2040

Project Ireland 2040 is informed by the Programme for a Partnership Government 2016, which recognises that economic and social progress go hand in hand and comprises the National Planning Framework (NPF) to 2040 and the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027.[1]

Project Ireland 2040 seeks to achieve ten National Strategic Outcomes (NSOs), building around the overarching themes of wellbeing, equality and opportunity and representing the ten priorities of the National Planning Framework.

Of these ten priorities, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with our colleagues in the Department of Education and Skills, is leading one: A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills, and supporting a second: Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities.

The National Development Plan commits a total of €3.16 billion of capital funding to deliver the Business, Enterprise and Innovation Priority Investments Projects highlighted in Project Ireland 2040 over the five years to 2022. Specifically, the increased capital funding provided to DBEI for the first five years of the National Development Plan will ensure that:

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, which will be a €500m fund over the 10 year period of the NDP, can start to be rolled out.

Competitive calls for enterprise initiatives under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, with €30m to be allocated in 2018, will continue to be rolled out in the first five years of the Plan.

IDA Ireland’s current Regional Property Programme of €150m can be built upon to deliver enterprise property solutions across the regions.

The number of researchers trained under DBEI research, development and innovation (RD&I) programmes can be increased as envisaged under the NDP.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Enterprise Ireland can continue to fund excellent research and development teams including through Research Centres and Technology Centres. Tyndall National Institute in Cork will receive investment to increase in size.

The Seed and Venture Capital finance for start-up and early-stage businesses and the launch of a new Seed and Venture Funding Programme for 2019 can be developed.

Please see link to full report here: Project 2040: Investing in Business, Enterprise and Innovation 2018 – 2027

Ends

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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