ESOF2012 – Enterprise Ireland director outlines the impact of FP7 in Ireland

In the week that saw the final and biggest set of calls under FP7 with €8.1bn available for projects and the launch of ESOF 2012, the national director of Ireland’s National Support Network for FP7 at Enterprise Ireland Dr Imelda Lambkin revealed that FP7 has created 3,245 jobs in Ireland since 2007.

Lambkin was speaking at an event in the European Parliament’s Dublin offices today, attended by innovation commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, to acknowledge Ireland’s champions of European research.

She pointed out that there are 275 leaders of projects in Ireland, which puts the country “up there with the best of them” for leading European research projects.

Under FP7, there have been 1,357 successful applicants for project funding, ranging from single researchers starting out right up to multinationals and hi-tech SMEs.

She said Ireland has received funding of €429.5m so far from FP7, more than twice the amount of funding made available to the country under FP6. “This equals €1.5m coming into Irish research every week,” Lambkin noted, revealing Ireland has so far attracted 1.32pc of the total FP7 budget so far.  This is just above double the amount in the previous programme. For the size of the country the drawdown is that much larger, it’s a positive picture that shows we are punching above our weight.”

Projects that have the winning formula
Lambkin gave a snapshot of the nature of projects from Ireland that are winning funding. She said six projects worth €1m-plus were funded under the Health Innovation Call.

Nine projects in the Green Car, Factories of the Future, Energy and Efficient Buildings calls were also funded. Traditionally, these were areas dominated by large European manufacturing firms but feisty young Irish companies have invaded this space.

DCU’s Maura Conway won leadership funding worth €3.4m for her proposal of a Virtual Centre of Excellence for Research into Violent Online Political Extremism.

Sigmoid Pharma achieved €1m in funding for its participation as an SME under the Res4SME Call.

DP Energy Ireland attracted funding worth €3.4m for a tidal demonstration for energy.

FP7 leads to job creation
Lambkin said that since 2007, some 3,245 jobs have been created thanks to the FP7 programme, including 238 full-time principal researchers and 100 full-time project managers.

She said companies that have benefited under FP7 are averaging 16 new hires a year and 88% of SMEs that were funded are likely to reapply.

“For academics there is the obvious advantage in terms of training. But FP7 is also a good training ground for researchers and gives them a taste of the high level systematic nature of research funding.”

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