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 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:

Download the call guidance documentation

Download the application form