Sources of funding

Economic theory provides a strong justification for government support for Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I), including subsidies and incentives for business research.

Thus, the overall economic value to society often exceeds the economic benefits enjoyed by innovating firms as a result of their research efforts. However without such support, companies are likely to underinvest in research. As part of the Irish Governments commitment to strategically place Ireland as one of the world leading locations for RD&I. The Government provides funding support through a number agencies and programmes. To help with the awareness of some of these programmes, we have captured such programmes which may be of benefit to you or your firm.

Enterprise Ireland

  • HPSU Feasibility Grant
    Used to support the development of an innovative/high potential start-up and the development of an Investor Ready Business Plan. Eligible costs include; Salaries and Overheads, Consultancy Fees, Foreign Travel and Subsistence, EI approved Business Accelerator Fees, Trade Fair costs and Prototype costs.
  • Innovation Voucher
    Innovation Vouchers, worth €5,000, are available to assist early stage companies to work with a registered college or knowledge provider in Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore a business opportunity or solve a technical problem. A CRO number is required.
  • New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme
    New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme run in partnership with the Institutes of Technology.  The programme is designed to support entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas who are planning to establish and run their own company.  A range of supports including mentoring, incubation space and a €15,000 scholarship payment are provided to help accelerate the development of the business and to equip the promoter(s) with the skills and contacts needed to successfully start and grow a company.
  • Competitive Feasibility Fund
    Open calls for applications for Competitive Feasibility funds are held by Enterprise Ireland throughout the year. The funding is designed to assist a new start-up company or individual entrepreneur to investigate the viability of a new significant growth orientated business or proposition are run throughout the year in specific regions and sectors.
  • Mentor Grant
    Used to support the cost of a Mentor Assignment. Enterprise Ireland can match you with an experienced business mentor to assist you in your start-up phase or advise on specific areas of your plan.
  • Competitive Start Fund (CSF)
    A €50k equity investment designed to accelerate the development of high potential start-up companies by supporting them to achieve commercial and technical milestones such as evaluating international market opportunities or building a prototype.  The fund is open for applications several times throughout the year with special calls made for specific sectors such as digital media and aviation.  In addition specific calls to support the development of female led high potential start-ups are also run under the Female Entrepreneurship initiative.
  • Innovative HPSU Fund (Equity)
    The Innovative HPSU Fund allows Enterprise Ireland to offer equity investment to HPSU clients, on a co-funded basis to support the implementation of a company’s business plans. First time and follow-on equity investments in HPSUs are supported under this offer.
  • Strategic Marketing Review Grant
    Grant support to undertake an approved programme of work in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland advisers and an approved external consultant. This support is targeted at established companies that have experience in selling internationally and who are interested in reviewing and developing their market development strategy.
  • Technical Feasibility Study Grant
    Can be used to investigate the feasibility of developing a new product, process, technology or service offering.
  • R&D Fund – Small Projects
    This fund supports product, process or service R&D projects where the grant amount is less than €150,000. This may suit companies undertaking R&D for the first time or companies progressing R&D activity in the business.
  • R&D Fund – Standard Projects
    Supporting innovation in services, products and processes, the R&D Fund – Standard Projects is suitable for companies that are ready to progress to larger projects. The maximum R&D grant that a company can receive is €650,000.
  • Innovation Partnership Grant Programme
    Offers financial support to companies who engage in collaborative research projects with Irish universities and Institutes of Technology. The proposal process and administration of the project is managed by the participating third level research institution.
  • Strategic Consultancy Grant
    Used to support the cost of planning or implementing a new strategic development initiative in your company. Cannot be used to support routine consultancy costs.
  • Key Manager Grant
    Grant to support the cost of hiring a new Key Manager. Must be critical to the company's future development and introduce key skills and expertise to the company's senior management team.
  • LeanStart Grant
    Used to support the costs of undertaking a “Lean Start Assignment”. This is a short assignment undertaken by a Lean consultant/trainer. Eligible Expenditure is limited to the cost of hiring a Lean consultant/trainer for a maximum of 7 days.
  • GreenStart Grant
    Used to support the costs of undertaking a GreenStart Assignment. This is a short assignment undertaken by an Environmental consultant/trainer. Eligible Expenditure is limited to the cost of hiring a consultant/trainer for a maximum of 7 days.
  • Business Process Improvement Grant
    Grant to support short term company projects that are designed to develop management capability and drive company efficiencies and business process improvements. Eligible Projects include either 1) LeanPlus, 2) E-Marketing or 3) Environmental Improvement Projects.
  • LeanTransform Grant
    Used to support a “LeanTransform Project". This is a large scale, extensive and holistic company transformation programme delivered by an external consultancy team of international reputation. Eligible cost include Fees for an external Lean consultant/trainer and Employee training costs and associated training costs.
  • Job Expansion Fund
    Funding to support new employment. The fund provides grant support up to a maximum of €150,000 towards the recruitment of new employees. Applications for funding will be accepted on specific call close dates.
  • Tailored Company Expansion Packages
    If you are planning to undertake an ambitious expansion of your company that will create employment and grow your sales in international markets, Enterprise Ireland can discuss a tailored financial support package for your company.

Science Foundation Ireland

  • SFI Industry Fellowships

The Industry Fellowships programme facilitates the mobility/transfer of people at all levels between academia in Ireland and Industry in Ireland and abroad.  Fellowships can be between one and twelve months if full-time, or between two and twenty four months if part-time.  Applications may be submitted for an Industry Fellowship award up to a maximum of €100,000 direct costs.

  • SFI Research Centres

These are world leading, large scale Research Centres with a major economic impact for Ireland.  SFI Research Centres may be funded at a level of between €1-5 million per year in direct costs.  SFI funds up to 70% of the overall Research Centre budget.  A minimum of 30% of the budget must be secured from industry partners, at least one-third of which must be in cash.

  • SFI Research Centre Spokes

The SFI Spokes programme provides a mechanism to allow new industry and academic partners to join the existing centres. To apply for a Spokes award under the rolling call mechanism, the industry partner (or partners) must make a minimum 50% cash contribution to the research programme.

The high industry cost-share component of the Spokes Rolling Call reflects the importance and urgency of the programme to industry.

  • SFI Strategic Partnerships Programme

The Strategic Partnerships Programme provides a flexible mechanism by which SFI can build strategic collaborations with key partners such as industry, funding agencies, charities, philanthropic organisations or higher education institutes (HEIs) with the goal of co-funding outstanding opportunities.

Horizon Europe and other EU Research Funding Programmes

If your company is interested in working on collaborative research projects with research partners across Europe, there are a range of international research programmes designed to foster collaborative cross-border research between companies in different member states. Help is available through Enterprise Ireland. For general inquiries call 01 7272000.

European Investment Bank-Ireland

Background to EIB opening a new office in Ireland

EIB providing loan finance to an Irish Pharma company

EIB product to support clinical trial in infectious diseases

The EIB has an advisory team that works to support investors prepare their investment plan

Irish Research Council

The Irish Research Council (IRC) funds both individual scholars and projects/programmes across all disciplines. Additionally it co-funds industry-academia projects through the recruitment of industry based doctoral candidates.

Inter trade Ireland

  • Fusion Programme

Product development and innovation is at the heart of growth but often needs costly technology support.  FUSION can provide that support by helping to fund a high calibre science, engineering or technology graduate and partnering you with a third level institution with specific expertise. The graduate is employed by you and is based in your company throughout the project (12 - 18 months) with mentoring from the academic partner and Inter Trade Ireland FUSION consultant. Available funding- 18 month support package - worth up to £56,000/€67,900 typically in the area of new product/service development. 12 month support project - worth £39,000/€47,400 typically in the area of process improvement.