Government launch Call 4 of Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

8th November 2021

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, today launched call 4 of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF).

The aim of the fund is to encourage collaborations between industry and the research sector on the development and commercialisation of ground-breaking technologies.

The Government has already allocated €235 million to 72 successful projects approved under the previous three DTIF calls. These projects cover areas such as life sciences, medical devices, ICT, artificial intelligence, manufacturing and environmental sustainability.

To drive enterprise collaborations, each project must have at least one SME and one other enterprise in a consortium of three or more project partners. Collaborations with the Irish research sector are encouraged. All partners must be based in Ireland and be a client of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta, or an eligible Research Performing Organisation (RPO). 

The fund targets industrial research projects of scale and impact. The minimum funding request is €1.5 million for projects of up to three years’ duration, and the enterprise partners must provide matching funding. The fund is competitive and will be assessed by an independent international panel of experts

When launching call 4 today, the Tánaiste said:

“Throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed the incredible ability and agility of the research community and industry to adapt, to rise to previously unthinkable challenges and to find solutions in an unprecedented situation. We want to encourage and support that ingenuity and inventiveness through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.

“The companies working on the existing DTIF projects – and there are over 180 so far – are at the leading edge of their sector. They are pushing boundaries. They are driving change. They are devising better and more effective ways of doing business. They are our future, and we want to keep investing in them.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing this generation and previous DTIF projects have put a big emphasis on sustainability. They include, for example, a refrigerant-free heat pump and a low-cost, high-performance sodium-ion smart battery system using entirely sustainable materials and processes. We need to see more projects with strong, positive, climate impacts like these coming through. To encourage this, all applications must demonstrate their sustainability credentials and indicate how the project will complement the targets in the forthcoming (OR just published, depending on timing) Climate Action Plan.

“This Fund backs the type of innovative thinking we need as we rebuild and recover after the pandemic. I look forward to seeing the next group of ground-breaking projects that come through. If you have an idea that you think would help us meet some of the challenges we face, please come forward, take a chance and the Government will back you.”

Projects must be geared towards commercialisation over a three to seven-year timeframe. They must also align with Ireland’s six Research Priority Areas, namely ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; and Business Services and Processes.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, also welcomed the DTIF funding:

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a unique source of assistance for companies and research institutions that are active in developing industrial research. It offers substantial funding to partnerships within the industry and research sectors that have an idea, have completed their industrial research, and now want to turn it into a commercial product or service.

"The partnership approach, especially between the enterprise and research sectors, is helping to differentiate the Fund from other research funding. Collaboration with research institutions can offer enterprises access to a wealth of knowledge that could make a difference to the success of their idea. We have many fantastic facilities across Ireland with highly qualified researchers in a range of disciplines who can apply a research rigor and analytical excellence to help overcome the challenges that arise in projects of such large scale.

"The fund has already proved to be a useful mechanism for helping the research community – and companies that have emerged from our universities and higher education institutes – to showcase their expertise. There are 90 teams from our research performing organisations already involved in DTIF projects and I’d like to see even more come through in call 4. I would urge all enterprises to explore what assistance the research institutions can offer to help develop their project.”

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, which administers the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, said:

“The Irish industrial sector has faced huge challenges over the last few years. The impacts from Brexit and the pandemic have required enterprises to adapt to new ways of doing business and devise unique solutions to ensure that they can survive. It is this spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that we are looking to harness through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.

"Innovative SMEs are acknowledged globally as a driving force for introducing disruption to the market and I believe Irish SMEs are world-leading. These great companies are key to the success of the Fund and we want to continue to foster their creative talents and flair for innovation under call 4.

"It is notable and commendable that SMEs are leading in 60 of the 72 DTIF projects funded to date. An important factor in this level of engagement is the ability of progressive companies to identify and develop innovative collaborations with like-minded and complementary partners.

"I would like to see the Irish-owned enterprise sector take the lead role in the majority of DTIF applications again this year and continue to make a strong contribution to Ireland’s economic recovery, creating our future as a leading location for technology and innovation.”

The application deadline is 15.00 Irish time on 10 February 2022.

The call for funding is managed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Source:Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment - News & Events