INTERREG IVA is a wide ranging EU funded cross border initiative and this Department have co-funded the Enterprise strand, in conjunction with our counterpart Department in Northern Ireland, and the EU refund most of our expenditure, to the central exchequer.
A total of 28 individual projects were funded under the current programme (2009-2014) –highlights include the North West Science Park initiative with new building being constructed in both Derry and Letterkenny, to encourage high tech start-ups and more Research and Innovation. In addition new Enterprise Centres were constructed in Omagh, Co, Tyrone and Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
That Programme is now coming to an end and this Department has been involved in a process to develop a new programme, (2015-2020) to be known as INTERREG V. This Programme has now been finalised by the EU Managing Authority, approved by the Irish Government and the N.I. Executive and is with the EU for agreement – expected in Spring 2015. This will have a different focus, with significant funding allocated for ‘Research and Innovation’, most of which will be spent on ‘Research Centres of Excellence’. There will be opportunities for the three Institutes of Technology in the approved border area i.e. Letterkenny, Sligo and Dundalk, to form partnerships with N.I. institutions, In addition, there will be a separate smaller allocation to assist SMEs to pursue Research and Innovation. ( Other elements of this INTERREG Programme will fund initiatives on Transport, Environment and Health and the RoI element of these re being handled by other Departments)