Companies in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland are being assisted to develop bright ideas for new products and processes through the International Fund for Ireland’s newradiane programme that is being administered jointly by Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland.
Under the programme, manufacturing and internationally traded service companies, in an eligible area of Ireland, can obtain up to £65,000 to set up a research and development joint venture agreement with a business in countries which have made donations to IFI – the US, European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the case of the EU, partnerships between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland are acceptable.
Under newradiane, flexibility is provided through a three-phased partnership approach to innovative ideas built on new commercial principles.
William McCarter, International Fund for Ireland chairman, said: “The new programme has been shaped by experience the fund’s Radiane initiative which supported over 80 companies to develop successful partnerships.
“The overall objective of newradiane is to drive Ireland’s economic development by creating an environment in which new ideas will flourish and companies focused on innovation in all aspects of their business will be encouraged and assisted to achieve faster and profitable growth.
“It is also an opportunity for companies to identify new commercial benefits in areas they have not previously considered.
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s managing director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “The objective is to encourage companies to look at ways of strengthening business by adding value to their products and/or processes.
“Innovation need not be sophisticated technology and is not confined to high-tech companies. It is essentially about ideas that create value for customers, whether in terms of product development, service delivery or process improvement. Innovation can also involve established approaches applied to new uses.
“An incremental improvement achieved through a partnership can often lead to a significant rise in business,” she added.