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Funding for academic and specialist support

The Business Explorer programme is an opportunity for business and academia to collaborate by providing support to eligible SMEs to fund a suitable academic professional or industry specialist to help explore new ideas or business challenges as well as develop solutions. The programme provides a pathway of funded support to explore, to plan and to implement an innovative solution into the business through collaboration and knowledge transfer.

The Business Explorer pathway of academic/industry specialist support is provided over 2 programmes:

  • Explore – Investigate a problem or new idea = £5,000/€5,800 + VAT
  • Plan - Take the findings and develop a plan to implement = £20,000/€23,200 + VAT
On completion, the business can seek further academic/industry specialist support through the Innovation Boost programme. Over the 3 programmes, there is an opportunity for potential funding for academics/consultants of £50k+.
    InterTradeIreland are currently inviting academic and industry specialists to submit an expression of interest form so they can take part in the programme, avail of funding and support SMEs across the island.
    We welcome expression of interest from engineering, manufacturing, IT and science sectors.

    Business Explorer - Explore

    Provide businesses with 5 days of academic/specialist support:

    • To explore current challenges or new idea within a business.
    • To draft a plan to address the issues identified with recommendations to begin to implement change. Areas of specialist support can be e.g. energy efficiency requirements, carbon zero plans, digitisation plans, product development, process development, explore use of Industry 4.0 for business improvement and innovative productivity solutions.
    Next steps

    The business can use draft plan/recommendations to apply for further support through Business Explorer - Plan or InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme whatever the recommendation advises.

    Business Explorer – Plan

    Provides businesses with 18 days of academic/specialist support:

    • To develop a plan of implementation based on the recommendations of the exploratory stage. Plans should involve using new technologies, processes or product in order to enable innovative business improvements in operations, business agility, productivity and sustainability.
    • To factor in training and development to embed innovation skills to address the application challenge.
    • To boost SME's knowledge and understanding of innovative practice or initiatives’ to ensure continued business growth performance.
    • To be completed over a minimum of 3 months or a maximum of 6 months.
    Next steps
    • The business can use the Plan of implementation to apply for further support through InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme.
    • If you’d like to support small businesses across the island, submit an expression of interest online form today.

    Once you have read the Rules of Engagement, Eligibility Criteria and Code of Conduct, please continue with your expression of interest form.

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