Image: DTIF banner

Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

Why is this fund being put in place?

The National Development Plan (NDP) under Project Ireland 2040 confirms the establishment of a €500 million challenge-based Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) that will see investment in the research, development and deployment of disruptive technologies and applications on a commercial basis.

Disruptive technology is technology which has the potential to very significantly alter markets and their functioning and significantly alter the way that businesses operate. While it involves a new product or process, it can also involve the emergence of a new business model. Disruption is not about technology alone but the combination of technology and business model innovation. It is certainly not “Business as Usual”. This Fund is about the deployment and commercialisation of technology to deliver new solutions and to create and safeguard the jobs of the future.

The DTIF is about exploiting research to deliver new technologies and new solutions. The Fund will drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry as well as facilitating enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development and adoption of these technologies.

What type of projects will be eligible under the fund?

Broadly, projects must include the use of disruptive technologies that will significantly alter the way we work and live, involve collaboration, innovation and/or be disruptive in its impact on one of the sectors in the competitively-funded Research Priority Areas designated by Government, i.e. ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; Business Services and Processes. Within each of these six themes we identified specific priority areas such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Advanced and Smart Manufacturing, and Smart and Sustainable Food Production and Processing.

In order to ensure we fund projects of scale and impact, we would like to see applications for project funding amounts of €1 million or more. It is proposed that SMEs would have priority access to a ringfenced share of the funding available in a particular call for project proposals that meet the criteria. Projects submitted by SMEs should also involve a collaborative element.

How will the fund operate?

A Steering Group will be chaired by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and comprised of nominated members of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland (EI), IDA Ireland, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and others. The role of the Steering Group will be to ensure that the objectives of the DTIF project are delivered.

A Stakeholder Consultative Committee will be consulted on the operation of the DTIF and will be comprised of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Education and Skills, the Higher Education Authority (HEA), industry representative bodies such as IBEC, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland (AmCham), Asia Matters and others.

Project proposals will be assessed by two independent panels comprised of national experts and international experts. Projects making it through the assessment stage will be presented to the Steering Group for approval and then final approval by the Minister. It is intended that the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation would allocate funding to the agencies for transmission to the successful projects according to whether they are HEIs or other RPOs (SFI), Irish-owned companies (EI) or MNC-led (IDA).

Who is likely to be applicant(s) to the fund?

Collaboration is central to the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. We also want to fund projects of scale and impact. Therefore, proposals will primarily be sought from multi-partner consortia seeking funding of €1 million or more. Applicants may include collaborations between companies, higher education institutions (HEIs), other Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and public sector bodies.

How much is available under the Fund during Project Ireland 2040 and in 2019?

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) have confirmed funding for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) to 2022 as follows:

2019 €20m
2020 €30m
2021 €40m
2022 €90m

This will provide a total capital funding allocation to end 2022 of €180 million.

In the medium to long-term the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will continue to explore models of enhancing innovation funding via non-Exchequer sources. The Fund is important in positioning Ireland for the future and we expect that projects approved under this Fund will be well-placed to leverage EU funding thereafter.

The Department also expects to see a significant contribution from applicants that leverages private sector and other investment. The Department proposes to fund projects for up to 3 years with an option to extend.

When will the fund be open (and when will there be further calls)?

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will launch the first call under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) in late June 2018 with a view to announcing the first successful projects to be funded in 2019 by end November 2018.