The Innovation Partnership Programme encourages Irish based companies to work with Irish colleges to access their expertise and resources to develop new and improved products, processes, services, and generate new knowledge and know-how.

Enterprise Ireland provides grants of up to 80% towards eligible costs of the research project. The proposal process and administration of the project is managed by the participating third level research institution.

To qualify for funding, the research project must outline how the company will benefit in terms of its growth, the evolution of strategic R&D within the company and the creation of new knowledge that can be used by the company to generate commercial advantage.

There are two phases associated with an Innovation Partnership:

Phase 1: Requires the Principal Investigator in a college to submit an Outline Proposal Document of a proposed Innovation Partnership Project to Enterprise Ireland for feedback and guidance.  Phase 1 also allows for the Principal Investigator to apply for an Innovation Partnership Feasibility Study Grant (note this is optional) to develop a proposal for a Full Innovation Partnership Application.

Phase 2: Submit a Full Proposal Application.  Note: Full Proposals will only be accepted following the approval of an outline proposal or the submission of a report following the completion of an Innovation Partnership Feasibility Study.


  • Acquisition of new knowledge and skills;
  • Development of new products, processes or services;
  • Significant improvement of existing products, process or services;
  • MSc or PhD level research, Originality, Publications or patents, of commercial benefit to the company etc (Technical risk is generally medium to high).

ELIGIBILITY: All manufacturing and internationally traded services companies with an operating base in the Irish Republic who wish to collaborate with one or more Irish third-level institutions (based in the Irish Republic) are eligible to participate.

The company must be a registered client of a State development agency before applying; these agencies are Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the City and County Enterprise Boards, Shannon Development and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The company must have the full support of their assigned Development Adviser / Agency Contact to move into the programme. This must be established before any application forms are submitted. In all cases, the company partner must have the resources to fund and commercialise the research.
Companies who have been supported in two or more projects should note that some new rules around the support of repeat applicants have been applied.


Phase 1: No funding available for submitting an Outline Proposal Document. Maximum funding for an Innovation Partnership Feasibility Study is 100% grant to a limit of €9,000. Feasibility proposals are drafted then submitted to Enterprise Ireland by the academic partner. The grant is paid directly to the education institute upon approval.

Phase 2: Innovation Partnership Grant funding from Enterprise Ireland will not normally exceed €200,000. (Applications must be submitted to Enterprise Ireland by the academic partner. The grant is paid directly to the education institute upon approval). Exceptions to this limit may be made for established clients of Enterprise Ireland and other State development agencies where the Innovation Partnership project and the follow-on activity will clearly lead to a significant increase in the company’s employment or sales and exports.

Grant funding to projects involving early stage companies and pre-HPSU (High Potential Start-up) clients will normally be capped at €100,000.

All Innovation Partnership projects require the company partner to contribute a minimum cash contribution of 20% of the total project cost.