News & Events

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation welcomes Director General Jean-Eric Paquet as Ireland secures over €600 million in research funding under Horizon 2020

The European Commission Director General of the Directorate for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet, engaged extensively with the Irish research, development and innovation community during his visit to Dublin today the 16th of November.

Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation said, “I am delighted that the Director General for Research and Innovation met with so many of our key stakeholders in the Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) community in Ireland today. Ireland has a world-class reputation for excellence in research and ranks 10th in the world and 9th in Europe for Innovation. Director General Paquet has had the opportunity today to witness first-hand the commitment to excellence and the drive to innovate of this community. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the European Commission as we look towards the next Framework Programme, Horizon Europe.”

John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development said: “I welcome the visit by Director General Paquet. Irish researchers continue to perform very strongly in the current €75 billion EU Framework Programme, Horizon 2020. Ireland has already secured over €630 million in research and innovation funding, surpassing the total amount received during the previous Framework Programme (c. €625m) and I am particularly pleased that over €100 million of this has been secured by Irish SMEs, primarily under the SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation. We remain on course to achieve our ambitious target of receiving €1.25 billion in funding by the conclusion of Horizon 2020.”

DG Paquet held a number of meetings with representatives from research funding Government Departments and agencies, the research community, industry bodies and a number of companies that have secured Horizon 2020 funding.

Discussions with Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, senior officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, IDA Ireland and other key research funding and performing government departments and agencies focussed on a range of key policy issues: delivery of the whole of Government strategy for RDI in Ireland- Innovation 2020; Ireland’s continued success in securing research funding from Horizon 2020; the Government’s new €500 million Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund and the next EU Framework Programme, Horizon Europe.

DG Paquet commented:
“I am grateful for this opportunity to engage with such a wide array of stakeholders from Ireland’s research, development and innovation community and to witness the commitment of the entire community to research excellence and driving innovation for a sustainable future.
“The continued success of Irish companies and innovators in Horizon 2020 is a testament to the dedication of both the entrepreneurs and enterprise support agencies in ensuring that Irish business builds not only for the present but also the future, and highlights the vital role that the European Union plays in building world-class research and innovation for all European citizens.”

During his visit, DG Paquet met with delegations from two world-leading research centres who have been successful in drawing down Horizon 2020 funding, Tyndall National Institute and the Trinity College- based SFI Research Centre, AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research). Researchers from both centres were recipients of SFI Awards at the Science Summit earlier this week.
DG Paquet also addressed the League of European Research Universities Rector’s Assembly at Trinity College on the new EU framework program for research & innovation 2021-2027, Horizon Europe.

Notes to the Editor:

Innovation 2020, Ireland's strategy for research and development, science and technology, was launched in December 2015 and articulates Ireland’s ambition to become a Global Innovation Leader. The whole of Government strategy aims to build on the significant successes which have seen Ireland dramatically improve its innovation performance globally. Goals in the strategy include:
• Excellent research performed in strategically important areas with relevance and impact for the economy and society;
• A strong, innovative and internationally competitive enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports;
• The development of a renowned pool of talent in Ireland’s public research system and in industry, which maximises exchange of talent and knowledge between the two;
• A coherent, joined-up innovation ecosystem, responsive to emerging opportunities, delivering enhanced impact through the creation and application of knowledge; and
• An internationally competitive research system that acts as a magnet and catalyst for talent and industry.
Expenditure on research, development and innovation (RDI) consists of both public and private expenditure. Gross investment in R&D was €3.2 billion in 2016. This is an increase of over half a billion euro since 2011. Expenditure on R&D by Government departments in 2017 was almost €740 million, an increase of almost €20 million over 2016.
A very significant part of our innovation policy is to align public investment efforts in a manner that leverages RDI activity in the enterprise sectors. Business Expenditure on R&D rose to €2.3 billion in 2016 from €1.7 billion in 2011, an increase of over 35%.
A key commitment of Innovation 2020 is to secure €1.25bn in funding from Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation.
Horizon 2020 is one of seven flagship initiatives in Europe 2020, the European Union’s ten-year jobs and growth strategy. It has a budget of €75 billion and runs from 2014 to 2020. Horizon 2020 funding (i.e. grants) is awarded on a competitive basis to researchers and companies across three main pillars: Excellent Science, Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies and Societal Challenges.
Enterprise Ireland leads the national support network for Horizon 2020, working to increase participation by Irish companies and academic institutions in the EU’s main instrument for funding research in Europe. Led by Enterprise Ireland, the national support network for Horizon 2020 has 9 member organisations; the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council, the Irish Universities Association, the Marine Institute, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. For more information visit
The European Innovation Index (June 2018) ranks Ireland as a Strong Innovator, and the 9th most innovative country in the EU. Ireland has performed particularly well across many of the report’s indicators, placing first in three out of the ten “innovation dimensions”: innovation in SMEs, employment impacts and sales impacts. Ireland’s innovation performance change over time is growing at a faster rate than the EU average.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631-2200
If you no longer wish to receive emails from the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation Press Office, please notify us by email to