Everything you need to know about VITAL.

Kindly note that Idea owners currently receiving agency support outside of the Innovation Vouchers Scheme.... or..... those participating in commercialisation support programmes designed to assist with the direct commercialisation of the Idea within any business that one owns, will not qualify for progression on the VITAL Project. This requirement is in place to avoid duplication of current or future Agency support.

Your idea should be knowledge based with potential to make it into export markets. Does your idea stand out from others within the sector? Does it offer a solution to an industry problem? A knowledge based idea doesn't have to be technology based, it might be one which applies knowledge to gain competitive advantage. The idea might result in a physical product, a piece of software or something else equally novel and creative. If in doubt submit the idea and our team will be glad to review it. 

There are lots of reasons why you might want to submit your idea. Many promising ideas and new ventures actually do not progress because a lack of knowledge, networks, track record or an inability to cope with risk. With VITAL the idea is submitted for assessment and if successful, can be matched with someone who has the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to make it happen. 

Your idea will be evaluated against pre-determined criteria, which will consider the size of the potential market, market attractiveness, risk and potential for export. All ideas will be screened, but some ideas may not progress to a detailed evaluation stage. 

If your idea is successfully matched with an implementer then you can negotiate a financial return for your contribution. Any deal you strike with an implementer with regards to the commercialisation of your idea is a matter for you as idea owner and your potential commercial partner. You will of course also have the satisfaction of knowing that your idea/solution might be implemented and could contribute positively to the economy in the cross-border region. 

Intellectual Property will always reside with the idea generator, unless it is assigned to someone else.

Initial idea submissions should only detail the general aspects of your knowledge based Idea without disclosing any unprotected Intellectual Property or sensitive information. Following VITALs review of your web submission, we will contact you if additional information or prototypes are required to further evaluate your Idea. These detailed disclosures shall then be within the framework of a Confidential Agreement document signed by both parties.

An existing SME should be trading in manufacturing or internationally traded services sectors or other sectors excluding retail, public sector or consultancy. Your SME must be based within the INTERREG IVA eligible region of Northern Ireland (outside of the greater Belfast region) or the six border countries of Ireland – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo in Ireland. Your business must also:

  • Have been established for at least three years;
  • Have reasonable financial stability (this will include a review of audited accounts);
  • Suitable management depth and capacity;
  • Established routes to market;
  • And be operating in either the domestic market with potential to expand to new markets or already internationally trading.

Good ideas, which are assessed and evaluated with a business case, is a key benefit. Also, technology transfer enables companies to acquire new products and processes without as much of the expense and risk of research and development. The most common forms of technology transfer are licensing, joint ventures and technical cooperation agreements. Technology transfer allows companies to expand the product portfolio or enhance the functionality of an existing product more easily.

No you don't. You can also be a seasoned entrepreneur or you can be a senior manager with an existing business and have the necessary skills, knowledge and networks to be an idea implementer in a start-up business.

You need a proven track record in developing ideas from conception to commercialisation, coupled with fundamental market or sector knowledge and expertise. The criteria will include, but are not limited to:

  • Previous business turnover
  • A strong commercial track record in domestic and preferably export markets
  • Time to invest in the creation of a new company
  • Ability to transform new ideas into solid businesses
  • Be in a position to push the idea forward within a new company to be set up in the INTERREG IVA eligible region of Northern Ireland (outside the greater Belfast region) or the six border countries of Ireland – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan & Sligo in Ireland.
  • Be highly motivated and able to manage, motivate, lead and inspire
  • Have established and relevant industry contacts and a potential network in the matched sector

Yes. However, large organisations (with more than 250 employees or multi nationals), cannot be idea implementers within this project. If you fall into this category and you have ideas and Intellectual Property, which you want to license out to SMEs or entrepreneurs, then please get in touch. VITAL can help to facilitate the ideas screening, assessment and matching process.

VITAL is a tailor made solution so, where appropriate, we will use a mixture of strategy, process, structure or priming capital to help fast track the idea to market.

There is no charge for participating on VITAL; however if successful, idea implementers must be prepared to give time and commitment to the Project.

This project is funded by the INTERREG IVA Programme which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with match funding provided by the accountable departments North and South. For more information visit our About the Funding section or go to www.seupb.eu

Dundalk Institute of Technology


Invent DCU

Queens Univeristy Belfast


This project has been supported by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body