Welsh businesses and universities have secured more than €50m in funding from the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
Since Horizon 2020 was launched in 2014, more than 100 Welsh organisations have been successful in winning €54.1m of EU funds to work on pan-European projects.
Welcoming the news, Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford said:
“Horizon 2020 is providing real opportunities for Welsh businesses and universities to be at the forefront of research and innovation, and to collaborate with leading organisations across Europe.
“This is a very competitive programme so I’m delighted we have passed the €50m milestone. This is important investment in research and innovation that is enabling Welsh organisations to play their part in delivering some truly ground-breaking projects.”
St Asaph based semiconductor manufacturer, SmartKem Ltd, has recently been successful in securing €1.8m of EU funds to lead a Horizon 2020 project to accelerate flexible semiconductor adoption in Asia. The project will see SmartKem collaborate with experts across Europe over the next two years.
SmartKem Chief Executive, Steve Kelly said:
“We are delighted to receive this funding boost, which will accelerate the industrialisation of our thin film transistor platform technology for the manufacture of flexible and curved displays in Asia.
“Flexible OLED displays will be integral to a new generation of display based devices for mobile, automotive, industrial and large area applications. The demand we are seeing for our technology emphasises the strength of the EU chemicals industry and the importance of materials innovation in generating growth in new markets such as the flexible display industry.”
Mark Drakeford added:
“As part of our commitment to maximising EU funds in Wales before the UK leaves the EU, we’re also inviting more proposals to come forward to benefit from £40m of Structural Funds which can be used to support the commercialisation of research and innovation in collaboration with businesses.
“EU funds are an important source of investment and we will continue to make the most of every penny we receive from Europe while we remain a member of the EU.”
To support Welsh organisations bidding for Horizon 2020 projects, the Welsh Government is assisting with bid-writing and travel costs through its SCoRE Cymru fund. To date, 69 organisations, mostly SMEs, have accessed over £300,000 from the Welsh Government to support their applications to the European Commission for Horizon 2020 funding.