Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Startup Europe Week at DCU Alpha

Small firms and startups should not be put off accessing research through universities due to financial barriers. This was stated by Joe Gibbs, business commercialisation manager at Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, when he spoke at “Startup Europe” Week at DCU ALPHA in Dublin today.

“There’s a perception out there that university research is only for multinationals and big companies but that is far from the truth. Many research opportunities for SMEs and startups exist.”

Speaking on the topic of "Linking Startups and Universities", Mr Gibbs described funding models where SMEs could collaborate with each other or a multinational to share the cost of conducting research that addresses a common need.

“We are implementing a number of projects on this basis which provides world class research for SMEs that might otherwise be outside their budget,” commented Mr Gibbs.

He pointed out that funding was also available through Lero and other research centres where industry funding can be leveraged by a factor of three to four through Science Foundation Ireland backing.

Financial support was also available through Enterprise Ireland and through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme which has a pool of €80 billion of funding available up to 2020.

Mr Gibbs said that generally research programmes need to be in the region of 12 months or more to make it worthwhile for a PhD student to be assigned. Under the Research Centre model, that would require an industry contribution in the region of €15-20,000.

He said that Lero was currently adding industry partners to its research programme following the recent Science Foundation Ireland backed €46.4 million investment over six years.

The Lero expansion now incorporates software researchers from UCC and NUI Maynooth, which means that all Irish universities plus Dundalk IT are represented in the national centre, which is located on the University of Limerick campus.