EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced a multi-billion euro funding programme to boost competitiveness and tackle major issues in the areas of health and the environment.

In July last year, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science announced a programme worth about €7bn, which was aimed at creating nearly 500,000 jobs over a 15-year period.

Irish universities, research organisations and industry were able to access €384m of that funding.

One of the projects involved NUI Galway and an examination of cold-water corals off the coast of Ireland with a view to expanding knowledge and commercial fishing opportunities.