The Irish Government has announced the first pillar of its Future Jobs Ireland strategy including a €100m call for projects under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, one of the first funds of its kind in the world.

The €100m funding call is part of a wider €500m Disruptive Technologies Fund for the period 2018-2027 consisting of an initial Exchequer allocation of €180 million to 2022.

The purpose of the fund is to drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry as well as facilitating enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development and adoption of these technologies.

“Irish workers face a 46pc chance that their job will be automated by the 2030s. This presents challenges but also new possibilities – certain job roles will disappear or be redefined, and brand-new job roles will appear requiring new and different skillsets”

The €100m call is available to support projects that will have a transformative impact on how we work or live.

Projects must involve partnerships between enterprises, SMEs and researchers with a minimum ask of €1.5m per application.

Disrupt rather than be disrupted

“Technological change is already impacting on several sectors, such as manufacturing, finance, retail and transport,” said Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

“Taking the workforce as an example, according to a recent study by the OECD, Irish workers face a 46pc chance that their job will be automated by the 2030s. This presents challenges but also new possibilities – certain job roles will disappear or be redefined, and brand-new job roles will appear requiring new and different skillsets. Against this backdrop, it’s crucial that we position Ireland to respond to changes ahead.

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a key part of our efforts to prepare now for tomorrow’s world. The successful projects will be rooted in collaboration between industry and academia, with a clear focus on commercialisation. Crucially, they will have a transformative impact on how we work or live.”

More than €75m was allocated to 27 ground-breaking projects under the first round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund following 300 expressions of interest. Successful projects covered areas like household electricity generation, sepsis treatments, coastal flooding supports and medical 3D printing.

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund will provide opportunities for our most dynamic companies to translate their research into a commercial reality by working in partnership with Higher Education Institutions. Ireland needs to maintain its position as a technological leader in a modern, global economy,” Paschal Donohoe, TD, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform explained.

“The investment that I and the Government have made available through this initiative for co-funded projects will help us to achieve that objective in the coming years.”

Projects that may obtain support under the fund must be geared towards commercialisation and are required to align with Ireland’s Research Priority Areas of ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy; Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; and Business Services and Processes.

The call for funding will be administered for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation by Enterprise Ireland. Prospective applicants can obtain detailed information on the Fund and on the application process through the dbei.gov.ie/DTIF webpage. The application deadline is 15.00pm Irish time on Wednesday, 18 September 2019.

Written by John Kennedy

Published: 8 July 2019

Irish Government buildings image: Peter Krocka/Shutterstock 

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