Representation in Ireland

Maoiniú do thaighde le haghaidh FBManna

Successful research makes Europe a better place to live by improving healthcare, developing sustainable agriculture methods and creating innovative products and services.

It can also help generate clean, efficient energy and integrated transport systems, which in turn tackles climate change and protects the environment.

To achieve this the European Commission and its funding bodies help researchers find funding, research partners, jobs and fellowships.

Image promoting EU research funding

Funding sources

Irish researchers with viable proposals can search for funding opportunities on the EU Funding & Tenders Portal, which is the single-entry point for finding and managing EU grants and procurement contracts.

Officially called the Single Electronic Data Interchange Area (SEDIA) this portal is designed to be a one-stop-shop for applicants, contractors and experts in funding programmes and procurements managed by the European Commission.

Science Foundation Ireland is the national contact point for EU research funding and can help with the application process.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument that puts research investment at the heart of the EU’s drive for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

Over 2,100 Irish organisations have been involved in Horizon 2020 projects, receiving over €880 million in EU funding. Irish SMEs have been granted over €215 million of this total.

You can read about success stories from EU-funded projects involving Irish researchers on the European Commission website.

The next EU research and innovation investment programme, Horizon Europe, should have a budget of around €100 billion.

Research funding for SMEs

Irish SMEs can apply for EU funding and support for breakthrough projects with market-creating potential through the EIC Accelerator (previously called the SME Instrument).

The EIC Accelerator allows Europe's brightest and boldest entrepreneurs to request funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create new markets or revolutionise existing ones.

The European Commission is proposing to increase EIC Accelerator funding for SMEs with innovations that contribute to the goals of the European Green Deal.

SME funding and support through EIC Accelerator includes:

Illustrative image about the EIC accelerator
  • Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes €50,000 (lump sum) per project (70% of total cost of the project);
  • Business innovation grants for innovation development and demonstration purposes, in the indicative range of €500,000 and €2,5 million (70% of total cost of the project as a general rule);
  • Free-of-charge business coaching to support and enhance a firm’s innovation capacity and help align projects to strategic business needs;
  • Access to a wide range of business acceleration services and facilitated access to risk finance to facilitate commercial exploitation of the innovation.

Financing tools and advisory services for SME innovators are also provided by InnovFin, a joint initiative launched by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in cooperation with the European Commission under Horizon 2020.

Other supports

Researchers at all stages in their career are eligible for funding through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Research Fellowship Programme.

The MSCA also support cooperation between industry and academia and innovative training to enhance employability and career development.

To receive funding, researchers or their organisation need to apply to an open call. The MSCA can also help develop training networks, promote staff exchanges and fund mobility programmes with an international flavour.

Young researcher

Grants are also available to researchers of any nationality working in any field of research from the European Research Council.

EU awards and cash prizes for innovative solutions to societal challenges under various categories are also available.

Help is available too for researchers looking for funding partners to collaborate on projects.

Covid-19 funding

Research is playing a vital role in tackling the spread of coronavirus and preparing for other outbreaks.

EU leaders have committed to accelerate support to European research teams and a ten-point action plan was endorsed by EU Research Ministers in April 2020.

The ERAvsCorona action plan identifies ten priority actions to combat the coronavirus, including funding innovative approaches for researchers to deliver quick results.

The European Research Area corona platform has information on initiatives and organisations fighting COVID-19, as well as details of extensions to calls for other funding and tender opportunities.

Researchers working on coronavirus

Financial support for SMEs, including those involved in research, is also being mobilised through COSME, the EU programme for the competitiveness of SMEs.

COSME’s Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) is being boosted with resources from the European Fund for Strategic Investments so banks can offer bridge financing for SMEs.

The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP), a COSME project, has also launched a new webpage to address the challenges posed by COVID19.