Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) currently holds the position of lead institute of technology in Ireland with regard to EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) funding.
This is according to Enterprise Ireland’s Eleventh Interim Report of Irish Involvement in Horizon 2020, released in December 2019, on the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation; the biggest in the EU.
Through Horizon 2020 €80bn of funding has been made available over seven years (2014 to 2020) to stimulate excellent science, build industrial leadership, and provide solutions to the challenges that our society faces. WIT’s success in H2020 up to the time the report was published is just over €15m which comprises 23 successful projects. WIT has a very ambitious target of €20m in H2020 funding and is well on the way to achieving this by the end of the programme with numerous more proposals in the pipeline for 2020. Ireland has secured €861.4m worth of funding in Horizon 2020 to date.
The objective of H2020 funded projects is to create a digital Europe that will benefit the society of the future. This funding framework is designed to further develop research and industry engagement opportunities throughout the EU whilst creating a future society that all users can benefit from.
WIT’s successful projects involve researchers from a number of academic schools in the Institute, covering a wide variety of research such as smart agriculture, data analytics, 5G networks, ocular research, transport, future health, monitoring cardiac arrhythmias, artificial intelligence, disruptive technologies supporting the labour market and many more.
In addition, WIT has been successful with a further €1m for other projects indirectly funded under H2020 bringing the institute’s total funding figure as of 31 January 2020 to €16.1m. WIT researchers are leading 11 of these projects and have partnered with over 500 organisations across Europe. These projects have a total project value of just under €160m.
Dr Mark White, Vice President Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies in WIT stated “We have implemented many support structures which provides the WIT research community the opportunity to apply for internal funding to enhance their research activity, to increase the value of competitively won research funding and to increase the number of quality peer-reviewed publications. These support structures can ultimately build on our success in H2020 and position ourselves for participation in Horizon Europe”.
Dr White went on to say, “WIT’s success in European funding has a huge impact on the South East region. The majority of this project funding translates into high-end, highly skilled research professionals who live in the South east region, bring their families to the South East region and contribute to the South East economy. WIT is a catalyst for raising awareness of European funding across the region and the knowledge development as a result of their success builds WIT’s capacity to support better engagement in the region. WIT collaborations also link us into international best practices which allows companies we interact with access to this best practice and cutting edge research.”
Philomena Treacy, European Research Programme Officer in WIT explained, “The objective of the Research Support Unit is to make each researcher in WIT aware of the funding opportunities available within each of their areas. The team deliver information sessions on the various funding programmes, facilitates training opportunities on every aspect of proposal development and project management and works with the researchers through each of these stages in an effort to improve quality of proposals and encourage new researchers to engage in funded projects.”
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