Carlow County Development Partnership were delighted to participate in the excellent training organized by the Wheel and delivered by Sean McCarthy on EU strategic priority areas and the Horizon2020 Programme.  It outlined the challenge-based approach of the Programme which aims to bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.  The funding focuses on the following challenges facing Europe over the next 10 years:

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  • Smart, green and integrated transport;
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  • Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
  • Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

The training concentrated on ways to maximize participation in the final funding period 2018-2020  which will be launched shortly with a budget of €30 billion,  as well as learning about the project leaders from Ireland who have already benefited from the €75 billion Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme. Horizon 2020 is the EU Programme for research and innovation, and covers activities from research to market. It focuses on preparing society for the challenges it will face in coming years, such as how to develop supportive communities for older persons or how technology can make communities more inclusive.   To date, Ireland has secured funding of €424 million, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.

Carlow County Development Partnership is also engaged in “forward-looking activities” and in sowing the seeds for how the county will look in five and ten years time. The Horizon2020 funding touches a number of areas which the Company is engaged in, especially under the heading “Societal Challenges”. This covers areas such as Health, Demographic Change and Well-being, which includes Older persons and mental health, Climate Action, Environment and Resource Efficiency, which would cover energy efficient communities and Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies, which includes social Inclusion, migration and integration. Because of the number and variety of programmes it has been involved in over the last 15 years, CCDP is ideally suited to being a “Living Lab” for some of the social, environmental or economic areas that need to be researched in order to prepare the county for future challenges and promote greater societal involvement.