The Innovation Partnership Programme encourages Irish-based companies to work with Irish research institutes resulting in mutually beneficial co-operation.
Companies can access expertise and resources to develop new and improved products, processes, services, and generate new knowledge and know-how. The participating company benefits in terms of its growth, the evolution of its strategic research and development and the creation of new knowledge that it can use to generate commercial advantage. The research institute benefits in terms of developing skill sets, intellectual property and publications.
Under state aid guidelines, funding ranges from 40-80% and not exceeding €200,000. Exceptions may be made for established clients of EI and other state agencies where the Innovation Partnership project and follow-on activity will lead to an increase in employment or sales/exports for the company.
Evidence of success
Over the last 5 years an average of 70 companies per year have taken part in projects.
The latest independent review of the programme, which was published in early 2018, included a survey of companies. The review found the following:
Turnover Return per €1 of EI investment is €10.87 | 78% of companies said objectives fully or largely met | 98% said they would recommend the Programme to others | 96% of participants said that the application process is straightforward or very straightforward.
Potential for learning or transfer
The 3rd level institution must be based in Ireland as the funding must be spend in Ireland; however a company outside of Ireland can join an innovation partnership cluster once the main industrial partner is based in Ireland and an economic benefit to Ireland is clearly defined and confirmed by the relevant agency resources. It is a requirement of the Innovation Partnership agreement that consideration should be given to making the results of the research accessible to other researchers either through patenting or publishing as appropriate.
Management of Intellectual Property:
As part of its contract with the company, the research institute should have a prior agreement concerning the exploitation of Intellectual Property. A signed agreement covering Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is required for all approved Innovation Partnership projects.