Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has launched the e-Challenges Conference a prestigious two day international technology research conference in Templepatrick.
This is the first time the annual conference will be hosted in the UK and examines major ICT issues faced by government, industry and universities. Senior policymakers, practitioners and researchers from leading commercial, government and research organisations from over 50 countries attended the event.
The e-Challenges programme combines strategic keynote presentations related to the €80billion EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, with a series of technical papers, business and government case studies and interactive workshop sessions.
Speaking at the event Arlene Foster said: “A key priority for my Department is to maximise the level of European funding provided to Northern Ireland public, private, education and research organisations through Horizon 2020.
“It is a great privilege to launch the e-Challenge conference here in Templepatrick and for Belfast to host the event. All organisations here need at least two partners from two different EU Member states to compete for funding through Horizon 2020. This is the first time the conference has been held in the UK and brings international companies who are looking to collaborate, in accessing Horizon 2020 funding, to our doorstep.
“Along with the wider R&D and innovation agenda, Horizon 2020 has a role in future growth and prosperity. As part of our innovation strategy a commitment has been made to target €145million for Northern Ireland which follows on from the previous Seventh Framework programme when nearly €90million was drawn down.”
The Minister added: “This is the most recent in a series of high profile events, from the G8 Summit to the Giro d’Italia, that have been showcasing the best of Northern Ireland to both business visitors and tourists. I am sure the international visitors here will find it easy to see that Northern Ireland is confidently moving on, that our universities, hospitals, companies and tourism infrastructure are world-class, entrepreneurial and innovative, and that, above all, our people are exceptional.”