Martina Anderson MEP speaking at the EU funding conference which she hosted in the Mellon Country Hotel, Omagh said:
"Since being selected as an MEP over a year ago, I have dedicated a lot of my constituency time to engaging with groups and organisations in different areas across the north as well as border counties.
“During these encounters I was surprised at the insufficient flow of information on the EU Funding available to business and Research and Development groups, resulting in minimal draw-down of funding.
"I've therefore prioritised this area of work because research shows we in the north are not fully availing of funding opportunities in Europe. In order to address the knowledge deficit on how to access funding I decided to take a number of delegations to Europe. Most recently I hosted the Chambers of Commerce and representatives from the Independent Retail Trade sector from across the North and Border Counties in Brussels.
"There are nine EU programmes coming on stream, the major one Horizon 2020, will have a massive budget of €70billion for distribution. After my last engagement in Omagh, we committed to returning to discuss these opportunities in more detail alongside OFMDFM officials from The European Centre for Delivering Social Change, as well as Richard Osterhus from Derry City Council's funding unit and the Head of the European Commission Office in Belfast, Colette Fitzgerald, all of whom have a wealth of experience between them and are available to assist and advise local business and Universities etc on how to maximise funding opportunities.
"The conference in Omagh was an excellent opportunity for those attending to receive information first hand from the experts. It was gratifying to see such a large turnout and if the feed-back is a gauge of satisfaction then it was a great success."