11 December, 2014 - Minister congratulates Irish universities and enterprise partners on their success in EU multi-million euro Strategic Partnerships

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr. Damien English T.D., has congratulated Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and their enterprise partners on their success in being part of the winning consortia for the two new KICs – large scale innovation partnerships - that were announced yesterday by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The two new KICs are in the areas of Health and Raw Materials and will aim to boost the EU’s innovation capacity in what are seen as two of the key societal challenges facing Europe. The two partnerships will become fully operational in 2015.

The Minister said “I am delighted that Irish researchers and companies will be involved in these large scale European innovation projects. It is a recognition of the research and innovation capacity in Ireland that it has been successful in not just one of the consortia, but in both of the consortia chosen by the EIT. It is also the results of a 3 year strategy by Enterprise Ireland to ensure Irish participation in such large strategic European initiatives”.

“Involvement in these projects not only brings with it significant funding, but it also allows Irish researchers and companies to collaborate with the best in Europe on finding innovative solutions to some of the most significant challenges facing Europe today.”

The decision by the EIT Board was made following a shortlisting of consortia by independent international experts.  The overriding criteria for selecting these consortia was excellence, and their impact in terms of business creation, entrepreneurship education and societal benefits. 

These two KICs join the initial three KICs that were approved by the EIT in 2009. The EIT with a budget of €2.7 billion is an important part of the Horizon 2020 programme, which is the EU’s €80bn research programme that commenced in 2014 and will run to 2020. The Horizon 2020 programme offers significant opportunities for Ireland’s researchers and companies through its competitive funding calls.

In recognising the strategic importance of being part of the EIT is 2 such key areas, Enterprise Ireland supported Trinity College Dublin to bring together and lead the Irish partnerships in both areas. The Minister also stated that “This investment has now paid off and will reap rewards into the future, not only in positioning Ireland in 2 key very large scale initiatives, but also as an innovation player in Europe, attracting the best and brightest to join the successful participants. Involvement in the EIT is expected to open up opportunities across Europe for Irish SMEs who will have privileged access to other leading European players in their area”.

ENDS

 

  Note to Editors

 

About the EIT

The EIT is an independent EU body set up in 2008 to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. It brings together leading universities, research labs and companies to form cross-border partnerships – called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) - that will develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

About the KICs

The first three KICs in the areas of Climate Change, ICT and Sustainable Energy were selected by the EIT in 2009.The EU decided to expand the EIT’s activities under Horizon 2020 and to increase its budget to €2.7 billion over the period 2014 - 2020. Five new KICs will be launched by the EIT over this period -

•                  Two KICs in 2014 in the areas of 1) Healthy Living and Active Ageing; 2) Raw Materials;

•                  Two KICs in 2016 in the areas of 1) Food for the Future; 2) Added Value Manufacturing;

•                  One KIC in 2018 in Urban Mobility.

The Health KIC, InnoLife, (innovation for healthy living and active ageing) and the Raw Materials KIC, RawMatTERS, (sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution) comprises leading higher education institutions, research organisations and companies in Europe.

Both KICs are expected to become fully operational after signing a seven-year Agreement with the EIT in the second half of 2015.

Ireland is part of two transnational Co-Location Centres -

  • The UK-Ireland CLC with a HQ in London for the KIC EIT Health.
  • The Nordic CLC with a HQ in Lulea (Sweden) for the EIT Raw Material including Sweden- Ireland-Denmark.

The EIT Health KIC comprises Irish based Core Partners of TCD, Intel and Medtronic. Other Irish based partners are Abbvie Ireland, BioInnovate, IBM Ireland Labs, The Digital Hub and the Health innovation Hub.

The EIT Raw Material KIC comprises Irish based core partners of TCD, UL, Boliden Tara Mines and Rusal Aughinish. Other Irish based partners are iFOSTER, SLR, UCD, UCD, DCU and CODELCO (Chile) is a strong international task partner for Ireland. The EPA, GSI, EI are Support Partners.