© Lyn Gateley
© Lyn Gateley

Irish universities discuss Horizon 2020

The Irish Universities Association’s (IUA) Vice-Presidents and Deans of Research (VPDOR) Group has met in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss what next for Horizon 2020.

Facilitated by Enterprise Ireland under its Horizon 2020 liaison programme, the meeting was arranged to enable the VPDOR to meet with EU officials to discuss their areas of research, as well as to promote excellent science within Irish universities.

The EU’s framework programmes for research and innovation have long been a priority for the IUA, which have been successful in securing funding from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), winning €346m and representing 56% of the overall FP7 funds to Ireland.

Ned Costello, IUA chief executive and director of research and innovation, said: “Collaboration is key to success in research and innovation. Horizon 2020 is a key facilitator of that collaboration and to ensuring that the effectiveness of our national strategy is enhanced by fully linking it into the wider European Research Area.”

In December 2013, the IUA published a strategy for engaging with Horizon 2020, which laid out plans for targeted engagement and exemplary performance. The implementation of these plans have yielded a strong start, with Irish universities included for the first time in the top 50 participating higher education organisations in terms of funding.

Despite the increased focus on funding to support the private sector and the historically low success rates seen in Horizon 2020, the IUA has secured €179m of funding (53% of the national total), with a success rate of 13.4%, above the EU average of 11.8% and on a par with the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

Ireland’s top programme area in Horizon 2020 is the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MCSA), which supports the mobility and training of researchers, securing €59.7m in funding.