€7m funding for BioInnovate Ireland at University of Galway

Minister Higgins announces €7m funding for BioInnovate Ireland at University of Galway

Ian Quinn Centre for Health Technology Innovation formally launched at University of Galway in honour of pioneering medtech entrepreneur

BioInnovate programme forms part of Government of Ireland Innovators’ Initiative and will create opportunities to identify solutions to unmet clinical needs


Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Emer Higgins T.D. has today announced €7 million funding, over the next six years, for University of Galway’s flagship BioInnovate  programme, the only European affiliate of Stanford BioDesign.

The announcement coincides with the official launch of the Ian Quinn Centre for Health Technology Innovation, on the University campus, named in honour of the late Ian Quinn who was central in establishing Galway as a global medtech hub.

BioInnovate Ireland is one of four programmes under the Government of Ireland Innovators’ Initiative and is co-funded by the EU under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and administered by Enterprise Ireland. It was initially established in 2011 with the aim of anchoring the medical device sector in Ireland by educating and training future entrepreneurs. To date the programme has trained 150 participants  and led to the creation of 33 companies – 23 of which are high potential start-ups.

The Ian Quinn Centre will build on the success of the BioInnovate programme and the wider medtech and digital health community by providing co-working space, mentorship and global connections to emerging start-ups, as well as being a venue for industry, clinicians and campus-based innovators to come together and accelerate health technologies.

Speaking at the annual BioInnovate Ireland Symposium at University of Galway Minister Higgins said: “BioInnovate Ireland is a remarkable programme and a huge inspiration for Ireland’s innovation ecosystem. Its success to date in terms of entrepreneurship, indigenous business creation and answering healthcare needs, is testament to those who brought the concept to Ireland, and to University of Galway for hosting the  programme. The new, six-year, €7 million funding from Government and the European Regional Development Fund will empower those who have the foresight to conceive healthcare and treatment solutions for patients, while also embeddd  with the best international practice, talent development and business creation mentorship for medtech in the west of Ireland and beyond.”

 Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “We are delighted to receive this significant funding allocation, and it is apt that it coincides with the launch of the Ian Quinn Centre for Health Technology Innovation. This dual announcement represents a pivotal moment for University of Galway and a significant step forward in our journey to further advance healthcare innovation. We are grateful for the generous contribution from Chip Hance, which has made it possible to initiate the Ian Quinn Centre. His support, alongside support from others in the community, underscores the importance of our work for the public good and for fostering innovation which will greatly benefit future medtech solutions and development, both here in Galway and globally.”

Marina Donohoe, Head of Research and Innovation at Enterprise Ireland, said:

“Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting the development of Irish-owned companies on their journey to achieving their global ambition. A really important element of this is helping to foster the development of Irish innovators who are driving transformation around the world, and programmes like BioInnovate and facilities like the Ian Quinn Centre are key to that. Ireland has established a reputation as being a global leader in healthcare innovation, and this funding will help to further build out that pipeline of talented innovators. Enterprise Ireland has been proud to support this project since its inception, and we wish everyone involved continued success.”

Teresa Hooks, Programme Executive with the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, the ERDF Managing Authority, said:

“BioInnovate Ireland is funded under the Innovators Initiative scheme, which is included in the Northern and Western Regional Programme and is another positive example of EU funding helping to develop a smarter more competitive region.
The objective of the Innovators Initiative scheme is closely aligned to the priorities of our ERDF Programme and Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy and will train more than 70 participants in our region. They will observe and identify commercial opportunities, with the aim of developing High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU), directly contributing to job creation in the region.”

Robert (Chip) Hance, a veteran of cardiovascular, diabetes and diagnostics devices, chief executive of Regatta Medial, and long-time colleague of the late Ian Quinn, said: “Ian Quinn was not just a visionary leader, but also a cherished friend and colleague whose dedication to healthcare innovation was unparalleled. He recognised the pivotal role of the BioInnovate Ireland programme within the broader ecosystem of Ireland’s device industry, envisioning its potential to evolve and expand with a significant indigenous emphasis. Naming this centre in his honour is a fitting tribute. It is poised to inspire future entrepreneurs to carry forward his legacy as we move into a golden age of medical device innovation that will transform healthcare and change the face of medicine.”

The Ian Quinn Centre for Health Technology Innovation at University of Galway will build on the success of BioInnovate since its inception, by becoming a new home for the scholarship programme. It will be a hub of innovation, focused on driving transformative change in the healthcare sector. It will have a strong focus on emerging medical technologies and digital health and it will also be open to industry and clinicians outside of the scholarship programme, providing space to spark and grow innovations and ultimately becoming a destination of choice in Europe for innovators, industry and investors.

Ian Quinn was a visionary in medical device design and innovation. He founded Creganna with his brother, where he served as chief executive for 25 years. Having witnessed the decline of the IT hardware industry and other industries in Ireland, Ian Quinn set about ensuring that the medical device industry would not suffer the same fate.

Following a visit to Stanford BioDesign, Ian Quinn was involved in the foundation of BioInnovate Ireland, along with Professor Mark Bruzzi, bringing the BioDesign model to Ireland, with the aim of creating a programme to educate and train innovators. More than a decade later, Ireland has become a global hub for medtech and digital health, with more than 450 companies, of which, more than 200 are homegrown.

One in 8 Irish medtech companies have come from fellowships at BioInnovate Ireland.

The programme takes in 12 participants  a year on a 10-month specialist, medical device innovation. It combines teams of high-calibre, experienced participants  from medical, engineering, business and technical backgrounds whose aim is to discover unmet clinical needs and align them with market opportunities. The participants  are rigorously selected to contribute their skills, knowledge and expertise as part of multi-disciplinary teams. During the programme they are awarded a scholarship and focus on one specific clinical area, and receive mentorship from industry, clinicians, venture capitalists, domain experts and academics. The participant  teams perform their clinical immersion phase at hospitals in Galway and nationwide.

EU Co Funded Programme Reviewed

The Northern and Western Regional Assembly hosted a very productive and valuable Monitoring Committee meeting in Sligo to review progress under the Northern and Western Regional Programme 2012 – 2027.

Members of the Committee were presented with an updated profile of the Northern and Western Region including developments against key economic and social indicators.

Progress under the EU Co Funded Regional Programmes was presented and analysed and updates were provided for a number of schemes aimed at delivering our regional objectives, those schemes included:

  • KT Boost,
  • Technology Gateways
  • Innovators Initiative
  • Warmer Homes
  • ARC Hubs

A number of other important monitoring actives under the programme were also reviewed including: Enabling Conditions, Horizontal Principles, Evaluation and Communications.

The Meeting was followed by a project visit to the EU Co Funded PEM Technology Gateway.The PEM Technology Gateway has developed expertise in precision engineering and design and works with companies, across a range of sectors on projects that help solve technical challenges they are experiencing or innovation they want to exploit.

Find out more about our EU Co funded Programme here: https://www.nwra.ie/northern-and-western-regional-programme-2021-2027/


Northern & Western Regional Assembly launches new €120m fund to renovate derelict buildings in town centres

  • THRIVE scheme offers local authorities up to €7m to renovate disused heritage buildings in cities, regional growth centres and key towns
  • Initiative has potential to transform town centres across the Northern and Western region

A new funding scheme is to provide €120m to support local authorities and their citizens to re-imagine town centres and to transform publicly owned vacant or derelict heritage buildings through renovation, renewal, and adaptive reuse. THRIVE – the Town Centre First Heritage Revival Scheme – comes under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the Northern and Western Region and will provide local authorities with funding of between €2m and €7m to refurbish disused heritage buildings in their areas.

To qualify for a THRIVE grant to renovate a heritage building, local authorities must own the building and have first engaged in public consultation to establish how residents would like to see the building renewed.

The scheme was launched by Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell TD. THRIVE has been co-designed by the Regional Assemblies and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to address European, national and regional policy objectives. THRIVE is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

Heritage buildings under the scheme are classified as structures that form part of the architectural heritage and have unique architectural, historical, archaeological or artistic qualities, or are linked to the cultural and economic history of a place.

Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell said: “I welcome the launch of the new €120m THRIVE Scheme under the ERDF Regional Programmes.  This is an exciting scheme that will breathe new life into towns and urban centres across Ireland, so that they can function as the sustainable and vibrant heart of the communities they serve. At the heart of this is the Government’s ‘Town Centre Firstapproach. This ensures that local authorities engage with their citizens to develop plans, select suitable projects, and identify sustainable and viable end uses for underutilised heritage buildings. I look forward to seeing the transformative impact in these centres and the benefits this will have in driving regeneration in the years ahead.”   

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said: “This announcement demonstrates the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s commitment to heritage-led generation and tackling vacancy as part of the delivery of Town Centre First policy. The funding will support local authorities not only in preserving and protecting our valuable built heritage, but also by ensuring the long-term sustainable re-use of these buildings and helping us meet our climate change targets”.

Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr John Naughten said: “I believe that THRIVE will go a long way towards kickstarting development in our region by turning our town centres into attractive spaces for people to live and work and visit.  THRIVE will promote a citizen-centred and community-led approach to planning and design while also preserving the unique cultural significance of our heritage buildings.”

Projects are required to embrace the core values of the New European Bauhaus – sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion. The scheme promotes a citizen-centred community-led approach to planning, design and project selection under the Town Centre First framework. Grants of between €40,000 and €200,000 are available to support local authorities with the planning and design phase.

THRIVE is targeted at larger urban settlements – cities, regional growth centres and key towns – and is designed to complement other national funds targeting smaller urban settlements. It is a competitive funding call and with 100% grant aid available, is expected to be highly competitive.

The THRIVE scheme is managed by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly and is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union. The first call is now open and published  here: www.nwra.ie/thrive.

EU co-funded allocation of €84 million to enhance Research and Innovation opportunities for TU sector

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD announced €84 million to enhance research and innovation opportunities for the Technological University sector.

The programme will establish, equip, and staff regional research and innovation offices within TUs to enable deepened engagement with local and regional business, industry, and enterprise stakeholders.

It is also directed at developing researcher human capital in the technological sector, including staff development, recruitment, postgraduate training and supervision, networking, and collaborative knowledge-transfer and mobility schemes.

Minister Harris said:
“I am very pleased to announce, with the assistance of the European Regional Development Fund, the allocation of almost €84 million in funding to our five TUs as well as to Dundalk Institute of Technology and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
“The Technological Universities are uniquely placed to link with local and regional enterprises, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises, to support them to turn innovation opportunities into real-world actuality.
“TUs are catalysts of regional development and support the skills and employment agendas regionally and nationally. This significant research-oriented funding will further enhance their capacity in this regard, ensuring that as a nation Ireland will be recognised as a world-leader in Research and Innovation for years to come.”

TU RISE is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the Southern, Eastern & Midland and the Northern & Western Regional Programmes, 2021-27.

This follows the Minister’s announcement in December of funding of €15 million for research equipment across the higher education sector under the Higher Education Research Equipment Grant, some €3.7 million of which was allocated to the technological sector.

That funding will help higher education institutions purchase and upgrade world-leading research equipment that will serve the research, innovation and development needs of Irish researchers and enterprise collaborators over the next two years. It will support vital research activity across the sector while also building future capacity in R&D.

Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, which will manage the operations of the TU RISE scheme, Dr Alan Wall, said:
“Funding under TU RISE comes at a critical juncture in the development of the technological sector. This funding offers institutions the opportunity to enhance central research functions, which are critical to institutions strategically developing and achieving their research ambitions. Investment in staff and researchers in individual disciplines at Faculty level offers institutions an important opportunity to build expertise in research areas that will facilitate stronger engagement with regional enterprises aligned to Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy and the Regional Enterprise Plans.
“The HEA conceived, designed and will manage this investment to support our TUs contribution to a bottom-up, place-based, dynamic process which brings together regional and national actors to link Ireland’s regional needs and potential with innovative policymaking”.

Welcoming the Scheme, the Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr John Naughten said:
“The TU RISE Scheme is another positive instance of European Funding, delivered by the EU co-funded Regional Programmes to assist the technological sector in enhanced engagement with businesses and stakeholders in the regions. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop much needed researcher human capital in the regions, which is one of the most pressing challenges facing the Northern and Western region.”

EU Co-funded scheme aimed at accelerating economic growth and sustainable job creation in the region was announced in Ballina.

The fund was announced by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, TD, together with Ministers Dara Calleary and representatives of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly.

The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will be open for applications from today.  Co-funded by the Government and the EU through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Scheme will capitalise on existing regional enterprise partnerships and complement priorities set out in the Regional Enterprise Plans and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES).

The new scheme will assist small business in the region and help develop functioning ecosystems to support entrepreneurship, start-ups, and scaling companies. This will be achieved by providing appropriate infrastructure, key staff & resources to deliver innovative solutions. 

There is a national allocation of €145 million for the scheme with almost €31 million of the allocation ring fenced for the Northern and Western Region.

The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is one of a number of initiatives under the Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-2027 which is a €217m investment strategy for the region.

Welcoming the Scheme, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney said;

“I am delighted to announce that applications for the first call for the €145m ‘Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme’ are open for applications from today through Enterprise Ireland.

There is €35 million available under this first call of the Scheme which will support innovative clusters, local infrastructure projects and feasibility and priming funding for early-stage project development.

This funding will further build capacity and encourage innovation in the regions and will ensure that we continue to create employment and opportunities all over the country.”

The overall objective of this Scheme is to drive job creation and enterprise development in each region throughout Ireland. In addition, Smart Regions funding will support the micro and SME client base in strategic regional locations by addressing deficits in key infrastructure.  Successful projects will be collaborative in nature, innovative, financially viable, sustainable and will support existing regional infrastructure.

Also welcoming the Scheme, Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr John Naughten stated;

“As the Managing Authority for ERDF in our region, we are delighted to play a role in securing these funds, both for Enterprise Ireland, and our regionally based companies. This scheme is a departure from other previous supports, and recognises the value in regional based planning, connecting policy and funding. The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme will support investments in key areas identified through our Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.”

Brendan Mooney NWRA, Assistant Director, ERDF Managing Authority said:

“The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme, is co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund. The Northern & Western Regional Assembly together with Enterprise Ireland, envisage this scheme to be a catalyst for regional based companies to achieve their ambition and help fosters a thriving business environment across the entire region”.

Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary added;

“This Government is committed to fostering and delivering balanced regional development. The €35 million call under the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme which opens today will assist regionally based SMEs collaborate with other partners to embrace digitisation, green economy and other new opportunities.

This new Scheme, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will build on the €126 million in regional enterprise funding the Department has already provided to support innovative enterprise focused projects across all regions of the country.

I want to acknowledge, in particular, the Chairs, the Regional Programme Managers, and the steering groups who have driven the development and delivery of the 9 Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024 and have done incredible work in their respective regions. This scheme will assist them in realising the ambitions in the Plans and unlock the potential of their region from the bottom up through collaboration. No doubt this will have major impact in all regions of the country.”

Click here to Find out More about the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme and Download the Call Documents

Opening of EU co funded PEM Technology Gateway in Sligo

The Precision Engineering and Manufacturing (PEM) Technology Gateway, part of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Engineering department of the Sligo campus, had its official opening, inviting industry leaders, innovators, and partners to join in the celebration on Thursday, 5 October 2023.

The occasion showcased the state-of-the-art equipment available to industries in the region and nationwide and provided a platform to introduce the Gateway team. Attendees had the chance to learn how the PEM Technology Gateway can be a driving force behind their industry’s success and regional development, and to explore cutting-edge technology, network with industry experts, and gain valuable insights into Gateway’s extensive offerings.

The PEM Technology Gateway has built on ATU Sligo’s strength and history as the National Training Centre for Toolmakers in Ireland.

Co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Northern & Western Regional Programme, the Gateway has been hosted at the Institute of Technology Sligo (now ATU Sligo) since 2016, providing a gateway for industry into ATU Sligo, enabling access to the right academic expertise for their needs.

The event featured speakers including Dr Russell Macpherson, PEM Technology Gateway Manager; Dr Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University, Úna Parsons, Head of College, Sligo, and Head of the Faculty of Engineering & Design and Dr David Tormey, Academic Director of the PEM Research Centre. Their insights and perspectives added depth to the discussions on research, development and innovation, and technology’s role in shaping the future of industries.

“We eagerly anticipated the official opening of the PEM Technology Gateway, an exciting platform for innovation, industry support and regional development,” said Dr Macpherson at the Gateway. “We were delighted to welcome our guests and the forging of valuable connections that will drive research, development and innovation.”

Denis Kelly, Director of the NWRA, welcomed the launch as part of the ERDF co-funded Northern and Western Regional Programme, saying that it will “contribute to the development of a smarter, more resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and competitive economy in our Region”.


The PEM Technology Gateway, based at Finisklin Business Park, Sligo, is a hub of research, development and innovation dedicated to supporting regional and national industries. We provide industry-focused RD&I services in precision engineering, manufacturing, materials technologies, and innovation. The  PEM mission is to offer cutting-edge technology solutions that empower businesses to develop new products, processes, and services by leveraging the research expertise available through ATU Sligo. PEM services complement industry needs, and their equipment is readily accessible to businesses, allowing the production of one-off test pieces, prototyping, or short-run production. They are committed to driving regional development through collaborative research, development and innovation.

The PEM Technology Gateway is one of 16 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways of R&D excellence working with industry across Ireland.

The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Programme is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.

Launch of €83.68m TU RISE scheme to support research capacity building and enterprise engagement in the technological university sector

Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD today launched TU Research and Innovation Supporting Enterprise (TU RISE), an €83.68 million scheme co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.

The TU RISE scheme will support research capacity building in higher education institutions in the technological sector, with a focus on institutions enhancing engagement with enterprises in their regions. TU RISE will make funding available over four years (2023-2027) via two regional programmes, the Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27, and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.

The purpose of the TU RISE scheme is to establish, strengthen, and systemise research and innovation offices in technological universities (TUs) and institutes of technology (IoTs) to enable greater and more structured engagement with regional enterprises, in particular, small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The benefits of research and innovation offices will be accelerated and cascaded across disciplines and campuses of institutions through staff development at facultyand school level.

The key outcomes of the scheme include:

1. Establishment and/or development of central research functions in institutions to support research capacity building and further engagement with regions.
2. Enhancement of institutional research capacity through increasing researcher human capital in research areas that have potential to facilitate stronger engagement with regional enterprises aligned to Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy and the Regional Enterprise Plans.

Launching the TU RISE scheme at the Research Futures event hosted by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Minister Harris said:TU RISE is directed at developing researcher human capital in the TUs, including staff development, recruitment, postgraduate training and supervision, networking, and collaborative knowledge-transfer and mobility schemes.

It will bolster regional entrepreneurship through investment in the TUs, leveraging the role of these higher education institutions as anchors for enterprise and for regional growth in line with the tenets of the 2019 TURN report and the ambitions of the TU national agenda.

TU RISE is in my view a hugely significant programme that will produce real benefits for the TUs, their staff, students and stakeholders and for our regions more generally.

CEO of the Higher Education Authority Dr Alan Wall welcomed the partnership of the Government of Ireland and the European Union to support the development of the technological sector: “The TU RISE scheme underlines the importance of the partnership of the Government and the EU in developing Ireland’s higher education and research system. The co-funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund for TU RISE complements investment in landscape reform through the Technological University Transformation Fund (TUTF) and N-TUTORR programme, funded by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The HEA is committed to the development and enhancement of research across higher education institutions. Through TU RISE, institutions in the technological sector have the opportunity to develop the structures to enable increased engagement with enterprise and accelerate research and innovation capability. Research fields will be extended and greater capacity will be developed within institutions to serve national and regional strategic objectives.”

Through the TU RISE scheme, funding of €63.68m is available under the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme, and funding of €20m is available under the Northern and Western Regional Programme. Institutional eligibility to apply for these programmes is as follows:

Northern and Western Regional Programme (€20m):

Atlantic Technological University

Denis Kelly, Director, Northern and Western Regional Assembly said: The availability of higher education and research is known to be a key factor in the attractiveness of a region for workers, firms and investors. This TU RISE scheme will be of great benefit to the development of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and it will support the ATU in furthering its research capacity and in building relationships and partnerships with enterprise to bolster the Northern and Western region’s attractiveness, capacity building and innovation.”

Proposals for funding under TU RISE will encompasses initiatives to establish and strengthen research and innovation offices and increase researcher human capital.

The closing date for application is 14 September 2023, with projects expected to commence in 2024.

ERDF TU RISE Call Document and Application Form can be downloaded from the HEA Website

Launch of new EU co-funded Technology Gateway Programme

 The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D and Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Digital Transformation, Dara Calleary T.D. together with Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Assemblies announced €47 million of funding for the continuation of the EU co-funded EI Technology Gateway Programme until 2029.

Charged with increasing the levels of interaction between Irish Industry and the Technological Universities (TU) and Institutes of Technology (IoT), the programme is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.

To date, over 4,500 companies have spent €60 million via the Technology Gateways collaborating with researchers in the TUs & IoTs. The majority of these companies are Small & Medium Enterprises who gain access to facilities and knowledge that would be unavailable to them without the Technology Gateways. 

Speaking at the launch, Minister Coveney said: “I am delighted to announce this funding to ensure the continuation of the highly successful Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway programme. Over the next seven years the new programme will build on its previous achievements and continue to connect our businesses into our world class third level research system, driving innovation across all regions of Ireland. 

The new programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and I would like to thank the Northern & Western and Southern Regional Assemblies for all the assistance in securing this funding.

“The €47million will allow the existing 16 Gateways to continue to deliver solutions for Irish SME’s who are the core users of the programme. The funding will also be used to add a new Technology Gateway to the existing Network based in Technological University of the Shannon:Midlands and Midwest that will help local companies leverage the existing manufacturing expertise of the university.

Commenting on the announcement of the funding, Minister Calleary said: “The funding announced today will support the continued transformation of our enterprise sector offering innovation support and assistance to start-ups, small and medium businesses and more, across a wide range of sectors.

These Technology Gateways offer specialist knowledge and design solutions for industry across a wide range of areas. I know the Gateways have already proven valuable in providing access for companies and entrepreneurs to the expertise of over 300 researchers and to the specialised equipment and facilities available in our  Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology. I expect this programme to build on the success of the last, enabling more Irish businesses to innovate and develop their competitive edge, creating jobs across our regions and for many to start their export journey to new markets.”

CEO of Enterprise Ireland Leo Clancy also welcomed the funding: Technology Gateways focus on key technology areas aligned to industry needs. Companies all over Ireland use Technology Gateways to develop new or better products, processes and services. Since its inception in 2013, the programme and provided over 4,500 companies in Ireland with access to the talents and facilities available in the Technological Universities and Institutes of Technologies.

The success of the programme to date demonstrates how important research and development is to the growth of Irish companies. I fully expect the new programme to continue to deliver the same levels of engagement between Irish industry and the Technology Gateways to ensure our client companies continue to compete, grow and scale.”

Launch of EU co funded SFI ARC Hub Programme

The goal of the SFI ARC Hub Programme is to establish a new model for regional innovation and entrepreneurial training, that will catalyse a step-change in the translation of cutting-edge publicly-funded research toward impact at a regional level. The SFI ARC Hub Programme will enhance and accelerate the commercialisation of research to create new products, processes and services. The realisation of the programme will be through the establishment of up to three regional SFI ARC Hubs focused on specific thematic areas that will be aligned with the respective regional strategic priorities and the ‘National Smart Specialisation Strategy for Innovation 2022-2027’ (S3). The SFI ARC Hub, as a distributed consortium of Research Bodies, will create regional ecosystems focused on optimising research translation and training future entrepreneurs through establishing new academic networks and bringing together stakeholders, while leveraging existing supports, as appropriate. It is expected that SFI ARC Hub will foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship supported by processes that will operationalise and scale opportunity realisation to deliver transformative new products, processes and services to market.

The SFI ARC Hub Programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under two European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regional Programmes – the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027 and the Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-2027. All applicants must comply with the relevant EU and the ERDF regulations as outlined in the Call Document and with the national law. Failure to do so will render the application ineligible for funding.

Opening of a call for applications to the Enterprise Ireland’s Innovators’ Initiative

Enterprise Ireland is pleased to announce the launch of a competitive call for applications to the Innovators’ Initiative: Pioneering Smart Futures 2023-2029, formerly known as the Needs Led Training Initiative. Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) based in the Republic of Ireland are cordially invited to submit applications for funding in accordance with the Innovators’ Initiative Call Guidance Document and using the Application Form. All RPO applicants must comply with the relevant EU regulations as outlined in the Innovators’ Initiative Call Guidance Document and Application Form. Failure to do so will render the application ineligible for funding.

This programme will be co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under the ERDF Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and the ERDF Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-27. The Innovators’ Initiative will support the following ERDF objectives:

  • Policy Objective 1: A more competitive and smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation and regional ICT connectivity
  • Specific Objective: Developing and enhancing research & innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies


The objective of the Innovators’ Initiative is to create a series of multi-year training programmes. Each programme will be hosted in Irish publicly funded RPOs, delivering highly qualified innovation champions with the necessary skillset to observe and identify market led opportunities in key sectors of national and regional importance in Ireland.

Eligibility of Applications

The Initiative is open to publicly funded RPOs based in the Republic of Ireland.

Ineligible applicants: Individual companies, clusters of companies or sectoral representative bodies cannot apply directly for funding nor are they eligible for direct funding via the programme budget.

Geographic Regions Covered

The Enterprise Ireland Innovators’ Initiative is co-funded by two ERDF Regional Programmes. Eligible institutions will be co-funded according to their location within the relevant programme area.

  • Southern, Eastern & Midland Programme Area
  • Northern & Western Programme Area

Total Amount of Support  

The total budget for supports available is €30 million, of which €19.6m is funded through the Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and €5.9m is funded through the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27. The ERDF co-funding is 40% for projects in the Southern, Eastern and Midlands Region and 60% for the Northern and Western Region. Additional funding was also made available from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment totalling €4.3m. Contracts will last up to seven years.

Call Start and End Dates

The call start date is 23rd February 2023. The end date and deadline for applications is 12pm (noon) on Monday the 17th of April 2023. Any applications received after this time will not be eligible.

Application Process

The application should include an electronic copy (in MS Word format and pdf) signed by relevant persons in the Host RPO. The electronic copy should be sent to innovatorsinitiative@enterprise-ireland.com by the deadline.

An online briefing workshop on the application and assessment process for the Innovators’ Initiative will be held soon after the call is launched. This will include a Q&A session where we hope to answer any queries you may have. We strongly recommend that you attend this workshop. FAQs to support your application submission will be available following the workshop.

Following on from the receipt of your applications, you may be invited to meet an assessment panel to discuss your application in further detail in a Q&A session hosted by Enterprise Ireland.

To learn more about the Innovators’ Initiative, contact us: innovatorsinitiative@enterprise-ireland.com

Download the call guidance documentation

Download the application form