Government announce €95m for ground-breaking projects under Disruptive Technologies Fund


Government invests in disruptive technologies in areas such as healthcare, food, factory safety, construction, industrial heating systems and maritime

22 April 2021 The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D., the Minister for Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D. and the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy T.D. today announced that 29 exciting new projects have succeeded in securing funding under the third round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.

The Government is investing €95 million in the successful projects over the next three years. The 29 ground-breaking projects cover areas such as life sciences, medical devices, ICT, artificial intelligence, manufacturing and environmental sustainability.

The projects include sub-sea robotic drilling, artificial intelligence for safety in factories of the future, more effective heating and cooling systems in commercial and industrial businesses, a platform to improve productivity on construction sites, and healthcare solutions in areas such as cancer treatments and chronic knee osteoarthritis.

Announcing the successful projects today, the Tánaiste said:

“The pandemic and Brexit have combined to bring unprecedented economic challenges and volatility to our enterprise sector. But with every challenge comes new opportunities and the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is dedicated to entrepreneurs and researchers working on some really exciting ideas to develop solutions to the problems we face. 

“We are funding projects which will have wide-ranging benefits across many areas of society. Projects using AI to make factories safer and drones to detect drug smuggling, for example. There are many successful projects in the health sector, which we hope will result in better patient outcomes for thousands suffering from cancer, heart disease and fractured bones among other conditions. There is also focus on sustainability, with a number of projects looking at ways to improve and reduce energy use.  

“These new technologies will create high-quality jobs in existing and emerging sectors, now and over the coming decades. There is a good spread of partners, based all around Ireland, highlighting the strength of our enterprise and research base all across the country.

“The level of DTIF funding involved – at €95million – demonstrates our commitment to continue to invest and rebuild a stronger, more resilient economy after the pandemic.”

All projects involve collaborations of between three and eight partners, including SMEs, multinational corporations and research organisations. SME participation is an integral part of the Fund, with 62 SMEs among the 111 organisations involved and 22 leading their project.

The funding announced today brings the total funding awarded under the three DTIF Calls to date to €235m. The Fund, established under the National Development Plan in 2018, commits a total of €500 million of government funding, alongside enterprise co-funding of projects.

Among the successful projects are those that will:

  • Develop an adhesive that will stick broken bone tissue together following fracture, allowing it to heal faster
  • Use artificial intelligence to develop drones to better detect drug smuggling
  • Develop a tool using artificial intelligence to identify breast and prostate cancer patients with early stage disease
  • Design and build a prototype robotic drilling system for a wide range of applications including offshore wind
  • Use artificial intelligence to trial a solution which will make factories safer for workers
  • Use nanotechnology to reduce emissions by 40% in commercial and industrial heating and cooling systems
  • Develop next generation therapeutic and gene therapies for gastrointestinal cancer
  • Develop a treatment for chronic knee osteoarthritis, to deliver dramatic pain and mobility benefits to patients

Simon Harris T.D., Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science also welcomed the DTIF funding:

“The Irish research sector is key to our future economic prospects. Many top-performing indigenous companies have emerged as spin-outs from the research conducted in our universities and higher education institutes. Several recent spin-outs are partners in the consortia that are being awarded funding under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund today. This is in addition to the 37 HE-based partners in those projects. That is a fantastic outcome which reflects the strength of the Irish research sector.

DTIF is an important tool for realising our ambitions as a global innovation leader and a location for research excellence. The level of investment being made today in cutting-edge technologies will create employment opportunities for our graduates and help to maintain Ireland as an attractive destination for top research talent.”

Robert Troy T.D., Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, said:

“The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a vital tool for financing excellent disruptive and innovative projects and is exactly the kind of fund that Ireland needs right now as we navigate the new normal and embrace the opportunities and challenges that disruptive technologies bring to our workplaces and homes.  

“The 29 projects represent the innovativeness of companies across Ireland, from Clare to Dublin and Cork to Westmeath, coming together to bring new levels of digitalisation to a diverse range of industries, such as agriculture, healthcare, construction and more. As a small nation with limited resources, we must work together to maximise the opportunities from the investment in our enterprise sector and research institutions.

“This funding will give the companies involved opportunities to grow their business, even when trading in increasingly competitive markets, through the development of innovative products and services that alter the way that the industry operates.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, who administer the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, said:

“Irish entrepreneurs have yet again demonstrated their ingenuity, adaptability and resilience in the face of the challenges they face. The breadth and scale of the projects that have come through the rigorous DTIF evaluation process is a huge tribute to the quality of our innovative companies and the other partners involved.

“The quality of the partnerships involved, with SMEs, multinationals and research organisations combining to share experience, expertise and knowledge, also deserves acknowledgement. We are a small nation with limited resources and so we must continually demonstrate our flexibility and agility. These projects will enable the enterprises involved to be in strong position as the Irish and global economies rebound once the pandemic ends.”

A total of 62 applications were received under this third call of the Fund. The eligible projects went through a rigorous and competitive evaluation process involving screening and interview by panels of international experts.


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