€9m funding to boost research at Ireland’s ITs and TUs

15 Apr 2021

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SFI’s new funding call will support research capacity in technological universities and institutes of technology across Ireland.

A new initiative from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is looking to support research in technological universities and institutes of technology.

The Frontiers for Partnership awards programme aims to invest €9m to broaden research capacity in these higher education institutions over the next five years.

It was launched today (15 April) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD. “I’m delighted to announce this new initiative to increase geographical involvement and research engagement across the country, building on the unique strengths of both sectors,” he said.

“A key element of the programme is to increase research capacity in technological universities and institutes of technology by facilitating teaching replacement and increasing the number of PhD students.”

Ireland’s first technological university, TU Dublin, was announced in 2018 and launched the following year. The newest addition to this ecosystem is Munster Technological University, which was formed in the south-west of Ireland earlier this year.

SFI is inviting research proposals that are led by technological universities and institutes of technology with partners from the university sector. This is in line with the agency’s new strategy, in which a new stream to support research capacity aims to build collaboration and partnerships between all higher education institutions.

This is just one element of SFI’s 2025 strategy. The Government agency also plans to increase funding for individual-led awards and centres for research training and to attract more world-leading researchers to Ireland.

At the strategy’s launch in March, SFI director general Prof Mark Ferguson said that while increasing the efficiency of R&D had been the main focus for the agency in recent years, the time has come for greater investment.

The €9m budget for the Frontiers for Partnership programme will be spread across five years, with €700,000 allocated for 2021. The awards will be between €500,000 and €1m and provided over 48 or 60 months, supporting teaching buyout and the recruitment of PhD students.

Those who wish to learn more can read about the programme and its application process here.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021