Minister Harris announces €4.3 million investment in enterprise research partnerships

The Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme will provide funding for fifty enterprise-focused research awards

Today, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, announced a €4.3 million investment in the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme, providing funding for fifty enterprise-focused research awards. 

This announcement comes nearly a month after Harris’ announcement of the €168 million funding package, secured by Harris for third level education, in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Minister Harris was “delighted to announce [the] funding” for these fifty research projects, as they are expected to provide “a valuable opportunity for enterprise and employers to access research talent” across the higher education system.

Harris continued: “We must continue to promote Irish research and offer our researchers every opportunity and every support. We must continue to support this type of engagement to attract foreign direct investment into our knowledge economy, to assist indigenous SMEs and NGOs to innovate.”

According to the press release, these research projects will cover a broad range of areas, from sexual violence and Irish aquaculture, to the delivery of healthcare in Ireland and the improvement of bone health in jockeys. 

Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown,  described this multidisciplinary scheme as “a keystone” in ensuring support for early career researchers, and will attract investment from overseas. Minister Harris pointed out in his announcement earlier today that the project will provide “insight into career paths beyond academia” for researchers.

The Enterprise Partnership Scheme has been in operation for fifteen years, and has worked to try to  provide benefits to all its recipients. 

The scheme has supported research and innovation capacity on a low-risk basis, as well as providing industry and employers with access to research talent through the postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers involved. These researchers are given the opportunity to collaborate with industry and employers following their years in third-level education within the scheme.

A long standing participant of the scheme, Analog Devices, supported three researchers this year, including Aoife Whiston of University of Limerick, Brian Shortall of Trinity College Dublin, and Mohamed Shehata of University College Dublin.

Shane Geary, who is Vice President of Internal operations and technology in Analog Devices, praised the Enterprise Partnership Scheme programme, stating: “Analog Devices is delighted to partner with the Irish Research Council again on the 2020 Enterprise Partnership Scheme. We have been involved in the programme for many years, with great success, and are looking forward to working with this year’s awardees.

Geary continued: “This programme enables us to collaborate with excellent researchers and integrate their expertise into our processes and innovations. We also aim to provide the researchers with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working in industry, promoting it as a high potential career path.”

Along with Analog Devices, MOWI Ireland, Ericsson, Irish Injured Jockeys, and Marsh’s Library, will participate in the Enterprise Partnership Scheme this year, after recently announced government investment will provide them and researchers with extra support, as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens Irish research projects.

The scheme is designed to build links for postgraduate and postdoctoral participants with the “broader economy and society”.

Enterprise Partnership Scheme awards promote long-term collaborations and engagement between higher education institutions and industry or employers.