Innovation Vouchers

Innovation Vouchers banner

The Innovation Voucher initiative was developed to build links between Ireland's public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. 

Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company or companies to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider.


Am I eligible?

The Innovation Vouchers initiative is open to all small and medium-sized limited companies registered in Ireland. Applications are not restricted to clients of Enterprise Ireland.



Small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector are excluded in line with State aid guidelines.

Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, “not for profit” organisations, trade associations, company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Sports Clubs and other non-commercial bodies or associations are not eligible to participate in the innovation voucher initiative.


Small and medium-sized company definition (SME):
For the purposes of the Innovation Voucher Initiative, a small and medium-sized enterprise is defined as a company or (if part of a group) a group of companies where the total number of full-time employees in the company (or the entire group) is less than 250 and has an annual turnover total not exceeding €50m and/or an annual Balance Sheet total not exceeding €43m. (Exclusions: small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector are excluded in line with State aid guidelines).


Eligibility Criteria and Conditions of Use

Small and medium-sized companies may make use of a maximum of three vouchers, one of which must be a 50-50 co-funded Fast Track voucher.

Companies that have been approved in excess of €300,000 (includes funding under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership programme) funding from Enterprise Ireland in the previous 5 years are not eligible to apply for a fully funded 5k Standard Innovation Voucher, but are eligible to apply for a Co-Funded Innovation Voucher provided they satisfy all other eligibility criteria.

A company may have one ‘active’ voucher at any point in time. Companies should ensure that the voucher has been redeemed by the knowledge provider before applying for a subsequent voucher.

Companies will not be eligible for further vouchers until their accounts with the knowledge providers are settled in full (including the payment of VAT).

Your voucher will also be accepted by registered knowledge providers in Northern Ireland as part of Enterprise Ireland’s arrangement with Invest Northern Ireland.

Please note that Innovation Vouchers are EXCLUSIVE OF VAT. You will be charged VAT by the knowledge provider and this cost MUST be settled separately by the company.

If you wish to apply for an Innovation Voucher, there are two options:


Option 1:  Standard Applications

You may only apply for a Standard Voucher during one of our open calls and the option to apply for a Standard Voucher is only available within the Online Application System during an open call. Outside of the open calls, a Sample Standard Voucher application form  is available for download to help you prepare for submission in advance of the next call. Please note that this is available for information purposes only and should not be used to submit your application. All standard voucher applications must be made via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System in the normal fashion during one of our open calls.  See Call Schedule below


Call Schedule - Open Calls for Standard Innovation Voucher Applications in 2017
Opening DateClosing Date
Wednesday 18th January, 2017Wednesday 1st February, 2017 at 3pm

Further calls will be announced during 2017


Option 2:  50-50 co-funded Fast Track Applications

50-50 co-funded Fast Track Applications - may be submitted anytime.

Available Voucher Types

  1. Standard Voucher:

    Standard €5k vouchers are available to assist a company explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider. You can only apply for one of these standard €5,000 vouchers during one of our open calls. You do not need to identify your knowledge provider in advance and they are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Please consult our schedule of calls when submitting your application.

  2. Co-funded Fast Track Application:

    The value of the voucher is €5,000 and the company contributes 50% of the project costs in cash. Therefore, a company may use a Fast Track voucher to cover project costs up to €10,000 on a 50-50 co-funded basis. The company and the knowledge provider jointly agree on the work programme for the project in advance of submitting an application. Companies may wish to use this option when they are no longer eligible for a standard voucher (may have used two or more standard vouchers) or where time to market is critical and the schedule for the standard call is not suitable. This voucher application can be submitted at any time and a response may be expected within four weeks.

Permitted uses for a Voucher

Innovation Vouchers can be used for any kind of innovation such as:

  • new product/process development;
  • new business model development;
  • new service delivery and customer interface;
  • new service development;
  • tailored training in innovation management;
  • innovation/technology audit.

Vouchers can be exchanged for knowledge transfer projects from the knowledge provider.

For the purposes of this initiative, a knowledge transfer project is defined as one that transfers knowledge of a scientific, technological or innovative nature that it is new to the small enterprise. The small enterprise may then use the new knowledge to innovate a product, process or service.


Ineligible activities

The Innovation Voucher may not be used to cover the costs of:

  1. achieving compliance with statutory regulations or legislation;
  2. standard training courses;
  3. software purchases and software development;
  4. aid that would promote/subsidise the cost of exports;
  5. internships for students of knowledge institutions;
  6. design and production of advertising material; branding;
  7. sales activities;
  8. business plans, business strategies, economic appraisals, costs analysis, general business consultancy;
  9. standard website development and online optimisation;
  10. standard mobile applications development;
  11. activities such as market research and market surveys that may be readily provided by the private sector;
  12. calorie & nutritional analysis, recipe development etc for all Food Service Outlet menus;   
  13. activities supported by the mainstream funding mechanisms available from other Development Agencies such as the Local Enterprise Offices;
  14. activities unlikely to result in commercial enterprise or business capable of generating jobs and/or exports;
  15. advice or assistance with the following areas;
    • Legal
    • Commercial law
    • Patents
    • Taxation
  16. Training and mentoring;
  17. Marketing activities, digital marketing activities, marketing plans & strategies

If potential solutions to the knowledge question already exist in the marketplace, then Enterprise Ireland is likely to reject the application on the basis that the proposed activity may be undertaken by the private sector.


How do I apply? 

Our Online Application System for Innovation Vouchers allows you to apply for both Standard 5K Innovation Vouchers and Co-funded Fast Track Innovation Vouchers. All voucher applications must be made via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System. If you are a first-time applicant, you will have to register on the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System and create your own account.

All applications for our Standard Voucher must be made during one of our open calls, and we strongly recommend that you commence your application well in advance of the call close date and time.

  • Please note that you do not have to be a client of Enterprise Ireland, nor have an Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser to apply for a voucher.


Applications submitted beyond the call close date will not be accepted.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Download and read Frequently Asked Questions  about our Innovation Vouchers initiative.


Case Studies

Watch video where John D'Alton, Director of Grafico talks about how he worked with the TEC centre at Cork Institute of Technology to develop a prototype of a stock management tool for beer kegs:

Knowledge Providers

To access the skills and research expertise in third level institutions you need to contact one of the knowledge providers listed below who have signed up to participate in the Innovation Vouchers initiative.

Enterprise Ireland is delighted to announce that Invest Northern Ireland is now also operating the Innovation Voucher initiative in Northern Ireland. As a result, there are an additional 10 Knowledge Providers from Northern Ireland participating in the initiative, bringing the total number to 38 in Ireland.


Please select a type:

Borders, Midlands and West | Dublin | Northern Ireland | South and East

Borders, Midlands and West

InstitutionDirectoryContact Details
Athlone Institute of Technology AIT directory

Michael Lonergan

+353 906 471882

Dundalk Institute of Technology Dundalk IT directory

Neil McLoughlin

+353 42 9370453

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Galway Mayo IT directory

Helen O'Reilly

+353 91 742742

Institute of Technology Sligo IT Sligo directory

Niall McEvoy

+353 71 9155385

Letterkenny Institute of Technology Letterkenny IT directory

Padraig Gallagher

+353 74 9186062

National University of Ireland, Galway NUI Galway directory

Fiona Neary

+353 91 492400

St. Angela's Food Technology Centre St Angela's directory

Michael Hosey

+353 71 9150734

+353 87 9735128


InstitutionDirectoryContact Details
Dublin City University  Dublin City University directory

Yuliya Shakalisava

+353 1 700 8010

Dublin Institute of Technology DIT directory

Dr. John Donovan

+353 87 9743137

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design & Technology IADT directory

Mark Riordan

+353 1 2394745

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown IT Blanchardstown directory

Assumpta Harvey

+353 1 8851186

Institute of Technology Tallaght 

Jack McDonnell

+353 1 4042864

National College of Art & Design NCAD directory

David Bramley

+353 1 6364271

National College of Ireland NCI directory

Dr. Anu Sahni

+353 1 4498622

Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland 

Seamus Browne

+353 1 4028651

Teagasc Research Centre, Kinsealy Teagasc directory

Lorcan O'Toole

+353 1 8459000

Trinity College Dublin TCD directory

Audrey Crosbie

+353 1 8963839

University College Dublin 

John Wrigley

+353 1 7163721

Northern Ireland

InstitutionDirectoryContact Details
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) AFBI directory

Beverly McRoberts

+44 75 00800023

Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) BMC directory

Nuala Kilmartin

+44 28 90265052

College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise(CAFRE) CAFRE directory

Christine Haydock

+44 28 86768143

North West Regional College (NWRC) NWRC directory

Fergal Tuffy

+44 28 71276390

Northern Regional College NRC directory

Irvine Abraham

+44 28 90855022

Queens University Belfast Queens University directory

Michael McCleave

+44 48 90974279

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) SERC directory

Karen McClure

+44 28 92626776

South West Regional College (SWC) SWC directory

Aaron Black

+44 845 6031881 ext 4224

Southern Regional College 

Laura Kavanagh

+44 28 38397770

Ulster University Ulster University directory

Kerry Patterson

+44 28 9036 8603

South and East

InstitutionDirectoryContact Info
Ashtown Food Research Centre Ashtown directory

Ciara McDonagh

+353 1 808 9546

Bord Iascaigh Mhara BIM directory

Aileen Deasy

+353 1 214 4100

Cork Institute of Technology CIT directory

Carol O'Leary

+353 21 4326697

Institute of Technology Carlow IT Carlow directory

Ailish Delaney

+353 59 9175208

Institute of Technology Tralee IT Tralee directory

Dr. Siobhan Mac Sweeney

+353 66 7191846

Limerick Institute Of Technology Limerick IT directory

Yvonne Doyle

+353 504 28266

Maynooth University Maynooth University directory

Shona Leith

+353 1 7086233

+353 1 7086682

Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark directory

Kieran Downey

+353 25 42677

University College Cork UCC directory 

Oliver Kingston

+353 21 4903399

University of Limerick UL directory

Paul Dillon

+353 61 202611

Waterford Institute of Technology

 Waterford IT directory

Ciarán Cullen

+353 51 302975

Key contact/more information

For further information about the Innovation Vouchers initiative, please contact the Innovation Vouchers Programme Manager:

Innovation Vouchers Programme Manager

If you would like to collaborate with an Irish University or Institute of Technology on a larger research project, go to Innovation Partnerships Initiative. For more information on Enterprise Ireland Research and Innovation supports, go to our Research and Innovation section.

The Innovation Voucher Initiative was a key recommendation of the Small Business Forum in their report Small Business is Big Business, published in 2006.

Legal and State Aid Basis: The Innovation Voucher Initiative can be run under the powers set out in the Science and Technology Act, 1987. The State Aid basis for the Innovation Voucher Initiative is the ‘de minimis rule’.