DUBLIN, Ireland - A €65 million fund to drive solutions to the green transition and to digital transformation was launched in Dublin on Monday.
The National Challenge Fund consists of eight challenges, 3 in digital transformation and five in green transition.
The first two challenges have been opened for proposals:
- 2050 Challenge - To develop transformative, forward-looking solutions for Ireland to become climate neutral by 2050; and
- Future Digital Challenge - To address the challenge of disruptive digital technologies.
"These areas are among the greatest challenges our country and our world faces. This fund will help each and every one us by navigating the best way forward.," Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said Monday.
"When we launched our new strategy Impact 2030, I outlined the need to put research and innovation at the heart of addressing Ireland's social, economic, and environmental challenges. The National Challenge Fund is a tangible example of this strategy in action."
"I encourage everyone to consider the 18,000 submissions put forward by the public as part of Creating Our Future as we want to respond to issues that matter to people," Harris said.
"Challenge teams will be interdisciplinary with scientists, engineers, and researchers working together with government bodies to develop solutions to problems of national importance, partnering with stakeholders to develop, test, and trial solutions."
The National Challenge Fund is an initiative under the Government's National Recovery and Resilience Plan, funded by the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility and managed by Science Foundation Ireland.
"This is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for research teams to work in partnership with stakeholders to provide solutions to tangible problems that will benefit our society and economy," Ciaran Seoighe, Deputy Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said Monday.
Teams will be provided with additional opportunities to grow and scale their activities with opportunities for follow-on funding in future phases, ranging from €500,000 to €2 million for the most competitive teams.
Each challenge incorporates four stages. The model of the competition means that researchers will receive increased funding at each stage of the process. Research teams and ideas will be evaluated by an independent, international panel of experts. Awards for each phase will be made from 2022 to 2026.