Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today announced a total investment of €7.9 million in 80 research projects, including 15 University College Dublin (UCD) projects, under the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) enterprise programmes. The funding includes partner co-funding under the IRC’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme.
Each year, the IRC partners with around 70 organisations, ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs, public-sector agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), under its Employment-Based Postgraduate (EBP) Programme and Enterprise Partnership Schemes (EPS).
Through these co-funded programmes, postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers develop new, advanced knowledge and skills linked with industry and employer needs. The programmes train early-career researchers for the diversity of employment opportunities in industry, the public sector and the non-government sectors. For enterprise and employers, the schemes provide a low-risk, flexible route to research collaboration and identifying new talent for innovation.
The EBP Programme supports researchers to undertake research based in and employed by their employment partner while the EPS provides researchers with the opportunity to pursue research in collaboration with enterprise while based at a higher education institution.
Of the 15 UCD-funded projects, 7 are under the EBP programme and 8 are under the EPS. Three UCD spin-out companies (Bioplastech, MiNAN Technologies, SiriusXT) and two UCD spin-in companies (Blafar and Innovation Zed), all five supported by NovaUCD, are among the successful enterprise partners.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said, “Talent and innovation are key priorities of my department and will be increasingly important to build a sustainable 21st century economy. This investment will further boost the skills and knowledge pipeline for innovation in industry and employers.”
He added, “I am delighted to see both multinational companies and indigenous industry reflected in this year’s enterprise awards. I want to acknowledge the co-funding that partners are bringing to the awards, indeed the public-private partnership dimension to the programmes brings higher education institutions, industry and employers together and cultivates longer-term collaborations of benefit to all.”
The UCD researchers awarded funding under the EBP programme are;
The UCD researchers awarded funding under the EPS are;
Peter Brown, Director, IRC, said, “Ensuring the benefits of new knowledge and talent, across all disciplines, are shared as widely as possible is a key part of our mandate, and our enterprise programmes have always been a key part of our funding portfolio. Whether supporting the expansion of R&D in large-scale industry, boosting SMEs or helping to drive social or cultural innovation, the schemes provide a range of benefits for all participants.”
He added, “The contexts for researchers to make new discoveries and apply state-of-the-art knowledge go well beyond academia, and the diversity of organisational partners in this year’s cohort of awards is testament to the opportunities that are being grasped by enterprise, employers, the awardees and their host institutions.”
A survey conducted by the IRC of past and current partners (61 partners participated in the survey) confirmed the key benefits of these funding programmes for enterprise and employers.
The most cited reason for engaging with the IRC’s enterprise programmes among survey respondents was to “facilitate research relevant to business and operation needs”, with the second most cited reason being because they “offer excellent value for money, maximising shared benefits.”
The survey findings point to significant benefits for the early-career researchers as well as their enterprise/employment partners. Over two-thirds of respondents said they were likely to employ the researcher they worked with following completion of an IRC programme, while over 93% were likely to recommend the researcher to future employers.
Additional key findings from the IRC’s survey include: