The Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), with a budget of €55 billion for the period 2007 to 2013, is currently the EU’s main instrument for funding research and development in Europe. FP7 offers Ireland's SMEs, multinationals, and research institutions valuable opportunities to participate in high-calibre research collaborations with our European counterparts.
Job creation and, equally important, job maintenance is increasingly underpinned by science, technology and innovation including, for example, in the pharmaceutical, ICT, agri-food, medical devices, engineering and even financial services sectors which are developing innovative products and services. FP7 enables companies to work with academic research groups and other industry players across Europe and derive the benefits associated with collaborative research. This enables them to gain benefits such as access to knowledge networks, access to specialist equipment, sharing of costs and risks and, in particular for industry, the possibility of opening up commercial opportunities.
Ireland’s researchers and companies have been involved in more than 1,500 successful applications obtaining European Commission funding of approximately €485 million (2007-2012) under FP7. The overall Irish success rate at 22.7%, is above the European Member State average of 22.1%, and a very positive indication of the prospects for Irish participation over the lifetime of FP7, and broadly in line with our national target of obtaining a funding total of approximately €600 million when the programme ends in 2013.
Negotiations on the successor to FP7, Horizon 2020 covering the period 2014 – 2020, have recently been concluded under the Irish Presidency and we are currently putting in place a system of national support structures with a view to maximising our return from Horizon 2020 and building on the success of our participation levels under FP7.