Firms urged to pursue EU financing programme
Companies in Northern Ireland have been urged to get involved in the EU's financing programme for research, development and innovation.
Horizon 2020 will provide nearly €80bn (£65bn) in funding for research and innovation over the next seven years, while the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) programme will provide €2.3bn (£1.9bn) of additional funding for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by 2020.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "Horizon 2020 promises to be very good for business and it has been purposely designed for SMEs.
"More money will be available for testing, prototyping, demonstration and pilot-type activities, for business-driven research and development, entrepreneurship, and for shaping demand for innovative products and services. Supporting researchers in their work will ensure that we continue to maintain, attract and develop dynamic partnerships. This will allow us to continue to develop home-grown companies and attract foreign investment."
She added that Horizon 2020 could provide opportunities for researchers to collaborate.
"We are consolidating our research capabilities through major local collaborations right across our higher education institutions and with industry partners.
"Our underlying philosophy is to forge alliances between industry and researchers, and this can be evidenced in our recently established competence centres.
"Horizon 2020 takes this to the next level and offers great opportunities for organisations in Northern Ireland to engage in collaboration with other regions," she said.