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Cultivate Ireland’s success in European Funding

Supporting Ireland’s success in Horizon Europe

IRC engagement with Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe (2021-2027) is the European Union’s (EU’s) key funding programme for research and innovation, with a budget of more than €95 billion. The programme is built around three main pillars – excellent science, global challenges and industrial competitiveness, and innovative Europe.

Ireland’s early success under Horizon Europe builds from a notable performance in Horizon 2020, the EU’s previous funding mechanism (2014 – 2020). By the end of Horizon 2020, Ireland ranked third in Europe after Denmark and Cyprus in terms of MSCA funding secured per capita. From Horizon 2020, the MSCA was the area of highest funding secured by Ireland, followed by ERC grants: Ireland secured a total of €1.21 billion from over 20 different research funding programmes within Horizon 2020.

The inclusive nature of IRC schemes, across all career stages, and the structure of support has strongly contributed to the success of our funded researchers in securing prestigious European research grants, including European Research Council awards. Since January 2022, 67% of Ireland-based ERC awardees are current or past IRC award holders and/or mentors/supervisors of IRC funded researchers. Grants provided by the IRC are made in the name of the Principal Investigator (PI). This is critical as it enables the awardees to demonstrate experience in managing research grants and to evidence their leadership track record in developing early career researchers, which are core criteria in the evaluation of research grant proposals. The funding programmes offered by the IRC therefore play a central role in supporting the delivery of national objectives and building the research talent pipeline to secure prestigious European research grant funding.

How the Irish Research Council supports Irish engagement with Horizon Europe

  • The IRC holds the National Delegate and National Contact Point services for the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. In addition, the IRC is responsible for the provision of the NCP for ERC (SSH panels) and for the NCP for Cluster 2 (Culture, Creativity, and Inclusive Society), including related missions and partnerships.
  • These roles are currently housed within the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office (IMSCO) which is funded by the Irish Research Council and operated under a joint partnership with the Irish Universities Association. The Office provides advice and support to applicants from Ireland-based organisations on preparing applications and managing awards.
  • The IRC also holds the National Expert role for ERC and the National Delegate role for Cluster 2 and works closely with colleagues in the IMSCO.
  • The IRC develops and maintains Irish links within European research networks and alliances, including Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), GENDER-NET Plus, GENDERACTIONPlus, CHIST-ERA, the European Social Survey, CESSDA ERIC – the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives and DARIAH ERIC -a research infrastructure that enhances and supports digitally enabled research and teaching across the Arts and Humanities.
  • We help prepare the Irish research community for interdisciplinary engagement with the European societal challenges by fostering collaborative connections across all disciplines via our COALESCE and other awards.
  • We support fundamental research across all disciplines and all career stages via our Laureate Awards, thereby supporting the next generation of researchers to compete effectively on the global stage.


For more information on the IMSCO and programmes it supports, click here

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