Regional Technology Cluster Fund (RTCF)

Call open date – 1st July, 2019
Call close date – 3pm on 11th September, 2019

 

What is the Regional Technology Cluster Fund?

Under Project Ireland 2040 Government identified an ambition to build sectoral clusters of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at regional level. This ambition will be delivered through initiatives supporting the development of business-led clustering of competitive advantage.

As one of the Government initiatives in this area, a multi-annual fund for Regional Technology Clustering was announced in Budget 2019. An initial €2.75 million budget will be administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to support this initiative. This will be in the form of a competitive fund open to the Institutes of Technology (IoT) / Technological Universities (TU).

 

Objectives of the Fund

Connectivity with, and engagement between, enterprise and regionally based knowledge providers, such as the IoTs / TUs, drives productivity and competitiveness in and across regions.

The objectives of this fund are to support:

  • IoTs / TUs to increase their engagement and connectivity with SMEs in particular, and industry generally, in line with their research and educational remit, thereby strengthening enterprise productivity.
  • The development of enterprise clustering in identified sectors/thematic areas, that consequently:
    • Fosters increased SME productivity;
    • Drives SME competitiveness; and
    • Supports internationalisation activity. 

 

Who is an Eligible Applicant

The fund is open to IoTs, under the Institute of Technology Act 2006 and also those operating under the Technological Universities Act 2018.

The fund is open to two applications per lead IoT / TU. 

IoTs / TUs can be a collaborative partner on more than one submitted IoT / TU application.

 

Ineligible Applicants

The Scheme is not open to the following:

  • Applications that are received after 15.00 on the call close date.
  • Applications which include or relate to activities that Enterprise Ireland considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk. Ineligible activities include activities relating to:
    • The gambling sector, including ‘gaming’ (as defined in the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956).
    • Adult entertainment.
    • Tobacco products.
    • Military goods.
  • Applications received from bodies other than IoTs under the Institute of Technology Act 2006 and also those operating under the Technological Universities Act 2018.

 

Ineligible Activities

The following activities are not eligible costs under the Fund.

  • Costs incurred other than in forming clusters and the development and implementation of the cluster’s strategic work plan.
  • Any expenditure incurred prior to the 12th of September 2019.

 

Eligible costs

Funded at 100% by Enterprise Ireland

Educational Outreach and Research Manager:

  • Salary costs of up to €80k/year or 100% of eligible costs, whichever is the lesser, for an Educational Outreach and Education Manager. Plus, employer’s PRSI at 11.05% and an employer’s pensions levy of 20% for members of a public sector pension scheme if applicable for the duration of the project. If appointed from within the IoT’s / TU’s existing staff resources, the appointed staff member must allocate 100 per cent of time on activities associated with the role. The appointed staff member must have a fixed term contract and be employed directly by the IoT / TU for the duration of the contract. The IoTs / TU will be required to report to Enterprise Ireland at key project milestones on how the activities of the appointed Educational Outreach Manager is delivering on:
    • Connecting the IoT / TU with SMEs and industry generally in the form of knowledge and research dissemination; and
    • Undertaking activities aligned to the IoT’s / TU’s expertise.
  • Travel associated with educational outreach: A maximum grant of €39,000 over the period of funding to support travel which can be shown to have been reasonably incurred and wholly for connecting the IoT / TU with SMEs in order to drive knowledge and research dissemination. All travel expenses are subject to Enterprise Ireland’s current rate of travel and subsistence.

 

Fundable by Enterprise Ireland at 50 per cent

  • Operational costs for the administration of the enterprise cluster: A maximum grant of up to €60,000 of eligible costs over the period of funding related to:
    • Attending workshops and conferences to support knowledge sharing and networking;
    • Funding for consultancy costs to deliver specialised and customised business support services. Costs must be deemed appropriate, reasonable and justified in the applicant’s business case submission and linked to agreed milestones and KPI’s for successful delivery of the work plan. A maximum daily rate of up to €900 per day, (subject to agreement with Enterprise Ireland) to support the hiring of appropriate external experts required to drive key elements of the work plan.

Overheads: Support for eligible overheads to a maximum of 10 per cent of the total eligible salary costs.

Note: Where there is more than one project funded within a single entity only one manager role will be fundable.

 

Fundable by Enterprise Ireland at 50 per cent

  • Operational costs for the administration of the enterprise cluster: A maximum grant of up to €60,000 of eligible costs over the period of funding related to:
    • Attending workshops and conferences to support knowledge sharing and networking;
    • Funding for consultancy costs to deliver specialised and customised business support services. Costs must be deemed appropriate, reasonable and justified in the applicant’s business case submission and linked to agreed milestones and KPI’s for successful delivery of the work plan. A maximum daily rate of up to €900 per day, (subject to agreement with Enterprise Ireland) to support the hiring of appropriate external experts required to drive key elements of the work plan.

 

How will my application be evaluated?

Evaluation CriteriaDetailsWeighting
1Impacts
  • Have defined economic impact and benefits in the region(s).
  • Demonstrate the added value of the initiative in the region, in terms increasing firm-level productivity and internationalisation of activity. Within this it is important to demonstrate the gap in supports to established SMEs that the initiative will address.
  • Outline the IoT /TU leadership role as an engine for enterprise development in the region.
  • Ability to implement the project plan.
40%
2Future Proofing and Building Regional Strengths
  • Building on existing or potential strengths by sector or thematic area.
  • Evidence of active engagement with, and buy in from, SMEs in the region.
  • Demonstrate coherence with regional enterprise policy – e.g. Project Ireland 2040, Regional Enterprise Action Plans and Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Strategy.
30%
3Collaboration
  • Evidence of strategic collaboration (planned or existing) between relevant stakeholders (e.g. industry groups, education and training providers) in the region/ sector.
  • Ability to implement and progress the project plan.
  • Leveraging of existing public/private infrastructure in the area such as Technology Gateways and Technology Centres.
30%

 The evaluation process will consist of 3 stages.

  • Stage 1: Applications received will be screened against the relevant evaluation criteria, and due diligence and project assessment will be completed by Enterprise Ireland.
  • Stage 2: All applicants will be invited to pitch to an evaluation panel. Dates for the pitch will be set by Enterprise Ireland and are not subject to change.
  • Stage 3: Based on the outcome of Stage 1 & 2, each applicant will be awarded a score. Funding will be awarded to the highest scored and ranked applications following the evaluation process. Where two or more applicants have the same score, the scores attained by each of those applicants in the following criteria will be applied, as necessary, in the following order to determine ranking of applicants:
    • The applicant with the highest score under ‘impacts’.
    • If the scores are still even the applicant with the highest score under ‘Future Proofing and Building Regional Strengths’.

 

Briefing Sessions

Briefing sessions for the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (Call 3) and the Regional Technology Cluster Fund will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley – 19th July
  • Sligo Park Hotel, Sligo – 22nd July
  • Abbey Hotel, Roscommon – 24th July
  • Horse and Jockey pub, Thurles – 1st August
  • Strand Hotel Limerick – 13th August
  • Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone – 14th August

All briefings commence at 12 o’clock for 12.30pm kick-off and conclude at 1.30pm.

 

Application

Call open date – 1st July, 2019
Call close date – 3pm on 11th September, 2019

Applications must be submitted electronically in Word format to Enterprise Ireland at GA-RTCF@enterprise-ireland.com before 15.00hrs. on the 11th September 2019, the call close date.

 

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Harriet Cotter

Manager - Regional Technology Clustering Fund

Mid-West Office - Shannon

Enterprise Ireland

+353 61 777015

Harriet Cotter