€65m fund to address green transition, digital transformation launched
A €65 million fund to drive solutions to the green transition and to digital transformation has been launched by the government.
The National Challenge Fund consists of eight challenges, three in digital transformation and five in green transition.
The first two challenges are now open for proposals. This includes the 2050 Challenge, which aims to develop transformative, forward-looking solutions for Ireland to become climate neutral by 2050; and the Future Digital Challenge, which was developed to address the challenge from disruptive digital technologies.
The National Challenge Fund is an initiative under the government’s National Recovery & Resilience Plan, funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility and managed by Science Foundation Ireland.
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 increasing 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.
Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general, Science Foundation Ireland (pictured), said: “We look forward to working in partnership with government departments and agencies to define the challenges and help to build partnership with the wider research community to develop research solutions to these challenges.”
“These areas are among the greatest challenges our country and our world faces,” said Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris. “This fund will help each and everyone us by navigating the best way forward.
“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.”
Minister Harris continued: “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.”