Over €1 million of investment in research and development has been awarded to companies involved in cross-border projects to develop new services and products.

The figures have been revealed by the Co-Innovate programme, which is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and aims to increase the number of businesses participating in cross-border, transnational or interregional research projects.

The Co-Innovate initiative was launched in September 2017, and since then it has helped over 1100 companies through innovation workshops, mentoring and funding. Co-Innovate operates in Northern Ireland, the six border counties of the Republic of Ireland, and in areas of Western Scotland.

Co-Innovate has a specific business-to-business funding stream that supports partnerships by providing investment of up to €150,000.

Dianne Dundas, Co-Innovate's Innovation Advisor, said 11 companies and three academic institutes have secured funding of over €1 million to help push forward their cross-regional research and innovation partnerships. "These include partnerships that are developing fully compostable plastics from renewable sources, developing organic fertilisers from waste products and technology that will help to monitor athletes, their performance and training conditions with the aim of reducing injuries," she said.

Thanks to an extension, Co-Innovate is currently looking for ambitious SMEs that have a cutting edge idea with strong commercial potential to join forces with a business partner to jointly develop innovative products and services. Ms Dundas said it is an exciting opportunity open to businesses for a limited period of time.