| 13.5°C Belfast

Innova launches £5m cross-border R&D plan

An all-Ireland business body has announced it will invest almost £5m in cross-border research and development partnerships.

The Innova programme aims to support research and development co-operation between companies working on new products, processes or services with up to £250,000 funding per project available until 2012.

One company which has already benefited from the programme is Dungannon meat processing plant Dunbia, which diversified into new markets and generated new business as a result.

It was linked with Alltech from Dunboyne, Co Meath, a research-based animal health company, to enhance the nutritional value of beef through the diet of cattle.

The partnership generated millions in new sales for the two companies.

Jonathan Birnie from Dunbia said that the participation in the Innova programme has changed the way the firm does business, while Liam Nellis, chief executive of InterTradeIreland, said that companies in Northern Ireland will benefit from pooling their expertise and resources and succeed faster than if they were working alone.

“Both companies gleaned significant benefits from their collaborative approach to research and development through our Innova programme,” he said.

InterTradeIreland is now seeking 18 Innova partnerships and for the first time, the programme will now be ‘open’ for applications all year round.

Companies interested in further information about the Innova programme and to apply should visit www.intertradeireland.com/innova.

InterTradeIreland is the only organisation which supports SMEs across the island to develop North-South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies.

InterTradeIreland research identifies barriers to doing business across the island and identifies solutions to obstacles in cross-border infrastructure, planning, transport, energy, skills and regulation — making recommendations to both governments on how they can be overcome.

The organisation bring together networks of companies to help them to become more profitable and competitive.