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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems


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in the course of 2018, the European Commission approved the, ‘Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on Microelectronics’ under state aid law. this allowed four European Member States to jointly support transnational cooperation projects with major synergies in microelectronics for the first time.

the explorer programme has been launched as a collaboration between the Irish Photonics Integrated Centre (IPIC) with Tyndall National Institute, the IPCEI European cluster collaboration, international high-tech photonics OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, and IQE with support from SFI, Cork Institute of Technology, DCU, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. the programme takes place between January and June 2021.

proposed programmes activities and mentorship will empower like-minded entrepreneur explorers to:

  • pursue an entrepreneurial path;
  • understand customer needs and pain points;
  • focus on market verticals moving from a product to a market perspective;
  • de-risk deep-tech ventures via product and customer validation;
  • learn from peers, while building a strong cohort community spirit;
  • prepare for next stage supports including grant funding and investment; and an
  • be aware of recent/leading edge developments from opto-electronics and microelectronics (as investigated by IPCEI).

the programme will provide teams with a variety of essential business supports including:

  • industry collaborations at a European scale;
  • entrepreneurial know how, mentoring and feedback from established industry experts and entrepreneurs;
  • press and media exposure through high profile brands; and
  • facilitated access to influential stakeholders and government agencies as well as high-tech companies throughout Ireland.

we are looking for impressive ideas at early stage, ideas that seek to make a real difference and address the societal and environmental changes that we face today. convince us that your idea is the next big thing and you’ll gain the opportunity to learn from the best, receive training and industry mentorship to develop it from concept to pitch. Six ideas will be selected to participate on eight workshop sessions, culminating in a programme showcase where one winner will receive a cash prize.

a cash prize of €20,000 will be awarded to the idea with the best global growth potential.

individuals and teams with an explorer personality, very much like the eminent scientist John Tyndall. Tyndall had a fearless disposition, and demonstrated this through his persistence to explore new ways of looking at the world and conducting scientific experiments that challenged the norm. He shared his discoveries widely within the academic community and most importantly with the public. We want to continue this legacy and recruit applicants that are as daring as he was and are typically:

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such as engineers, programmers, corporate professionals, innovators, students, researchers, Intrapreneurs, innovation managers, entrepreneurs, in fields including energy efficient chips, power semi-conductors, smart sensors, advanced optical equipment, compound materials and applications-related fields, i.e. solutions for health, wellbeing, green society, agriculture and transport.

  • applicants must apply online before midnight on Monday, 25 January 2021.
  • applicants may apply as individuals or as part of a team. up to three participants per team may join the workshops.
  • the programme is open to European residents and all-island residents of Ireland.
  • individuals and/or teams should not have received equity investment funding for the idea.

09/12/20: call for applications open
14/01/21: applicant open evening
25/01/21: applications close
01/02/21: shortlisted teams announced
11/02/21: workshop I: orientation
18/02/21: workshop II: problem framing
11/03/21: workshop III: customer discovery
01/04/21: workshop IV: value proposition
22/04/21: workshop V: market sizing
13/05/21: workshop VI: presentation skills
27/05/21: workshop VII: practice pitch
03/06/21: programme showcase

*if selected individuals/teams must be available to attend all workshop days.

if you have a question about making an application to explorer, or about getting involved as a mentor, please email us at


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