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News & Events

Tánaiste and Minister Donnelly launch Call for Innovative Health Projects

Call for Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on Health now open

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, are today (9 September) inviting businesses and research organisations working in the areas of biopharma, MedTech and health to express their interest in being included in the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on Health.

Important Projects of Common European Interest are large-scale, multi-country projects for global state-of-the-art innovation to solve market or systemic failures in particular sectors. Favourable State aid rules apply to IPCEI, allowing for the possibility of public-sector funding to be granted for certain projects that make an important contribution to the strategic objectives of the European Union.

This call aims to identify businesses (including SMEs and/or groups of businesses) and research organisations that are willing to participate in a project, within the scope of the upcoming Health IPCEI, with other European organisations.

The primary focus of the Health IPCEI is expected to cover four main areas:

  • The modernisation of production processes
  • Innovative products in new therapeutical areas
  • Personalised medicine and MedTech
  • Health crisis preparedness

Speaking today, the Tánaiste said:

“The pandemic has highlighted the need to accelerate medical research, to build up Europe’s production capacity to allow us cope with a sudden increase in demand if and when it’s needed, and to push for better coordination between countries.

“Ireland is a global leader for medical device products, with over 300 MedTech companies based here, and we have a significant track record of clinical and academic research excellence in biopharma. We are well placed to play an active role in this IPCEI. 

“This call is a great opportunity for cross country collaboration, for research and development into new therapeutics and personalised treatments, and, of course to look at new ways to help us prepare for future health crises, including vaccine development and research into fighting emerging infectious diseases. Successful projects will bring investment and create jobs. I encourage any organisation interested to seek more information from our website enterprise.gov.ie and apply.”

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said:

“Over the last 18 months, COVID-19 has taught us the high cost that novel infectious diseases can inflict on the health and wellbeing of our societies. We are working closely with our EU partners on a range of initiatives to better protect the health of our citizens and to prepare for future pandemics.

“This call offers the opportunity for Irish businesses and researchers to join counterparts across the EU to address some of the biggest challenges we face. Beyond improved crisis preparedness, projects may also focus on developing the enormous potential of innovation in new therapeutics and personalised medicine.”

Further details, including the proposal template, the scope of the IPCEI, and the criteria proposal must address can be found on the Department’s website here: Call for Expressions of Interest - Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on Health.

The call will close at 12 noon on Friday, 8 October 2021.

NOTES TO EDITOR

What is an IPCEI?

Important Projects of Common European Interest are large-scale, multi-country projects for global state-of-the-art innovation to address market or systemic failures in particular sectors. Favourable State aid rules apply to IPCEI and this framework allows for the possibility of public-sector funding to be granted at national level for certain projects that make an important contribution to the growth and competitiveness of the European industrial sector and to the strategic objectives of the European Union. This type of pan-European industrial policy has already been shown to be successful through the two existing IPCEIs on battery cell production and microelectronics.

The notion of "Important Projects of Common European Interest" is laid down in Art. 107(3)(b) TFEU as part of the State aid rules, describing a type of aid that can be compatible with the internal market; but was in the past rarely used (for example, for some collaborative R&D programmes and some infrastructure projects). In 2014, the Commission revisited this clause by adopting a dedicated Communication laying out the conditions for its application. This Communication is set to be reviewed again in Q1 2021.

IPCEI are about disruptive and ambitious research and innovation, beyond the state-of-the-art innovation in the sector followed by first industrial deployment, where very important RD&I is still necessary (for example, to scale up a pilot line). The IPCEI provide knowledge, expertise, financial resources, and economic actors throughout the EU in order to overcome important market or systemic gaps and societal challenges that could not be addressed otherwise. IPCEI must contribute to EU objectives and have a significant impact on economic growth, sustainability, or value creation across the EU.

An IPCEI involves more than one MS and should have positive spillover effects on internal market/Union society with the benefits not limited to participating Member States and companies. In case of RD&I, projects must be of a major innovative nature or of important added value in the light of the state of the art in the sector. First industrial deployment is covered where it allows for the development of a new product with high RD&I content or of a fundamentally innovative production process is being developed. By their nature, IPCEI often entail significant risks and require joint, well-coordinated efforts and transnational investments by public authorities and industries from several Member States.

IPCEI also include actions by beneficiaries to generate positive spill-over effects beyond their business as usual, throughout the EU, based on the knowledge and results they generate from participation in the IPCEI.

Currently, there are two batteries IPCEI and a microelectronics IPCEI in progress. Several other IPCEI are in development – in Hydrogen, Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI-CIS), and for Microelectronics and Communications Technologies (Microelectronics IPCEI2) and this proposed Health IPCEI. New IPCEI have also been proposed in the areas of Proteins for Animal Feed and Raw Materials.

Health sector in Ireland

Ireland’s MedTech sector has become one of the leading clusters for medical device products globally with over 300 MedTech companies and nine of the top ten global MedTech companies based here. Exports of medical devices and diagnostic products represent 8% of Ireland's total merchandise exports and Ireland is the second largest exporter of MedTech products in Europe. Ireland boasts five clinical research facilities, which support patient-focused research and we are ranked number one globally for the exchange of technology and ideas. Over 70% of MedTech companies in Ireland are engaged in R&I.

On the biopharma side, over 85 pharmaceutical companies operate in Ireland, with 9 of the world’s top pharma companies based here. Ireland has a significant track record of clinical and academic research excellence in this area with around €2 billion is invested annually in Biopharma R&D by IDA client companies.

 

ENDS