Irish Research Council launches call for €3.8m postgrad fund applicants

1 Feb 2018

Researchers have until April 2018 to apply. Image: TORWAISTUDIO/Shutterstock

The funding from the Irish Research Council will facilitate partnerships between researchers, employers and higher-education institutions.

Today (1 February), the Irish Research Council (IRC) announced details of a funding call valued at €3.8m, aimed at benefiting employers and postgraduates alike.

The Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme will provide postgraduate researchers with the chance to complete a research master’s or PhD while gaining valuable experience with an employer partner.

Scholarships are valued at a minimum of €36,000 per year across all disciplines, and a minimum of 30 will be given out during the course of this year.

Potential employment partners include companies, non-profits or commercial semi-state organisations, among others.

Building capacity for innovation

Announcing the launch of the call, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, said: “The Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Programme enables enterprise and voluntary sectors to build their research and innovation capacity.

“This programme not only is a cost-effective way for these sectors to secure the expertise and resources for their research, but it also supports the development of the researchers themselves.”

Recent research partnerships demonstrate the variety and innovation fuelling the Irish research sector.

The list of employers and organisations currently participating in the scheme is varied and includes Kerry Group, Bodywhys, Pfizer, Coillte and Novartis, among many others.

Supporting research

One researcher, Gillian Weyman, is investigating the status of and threats to the native Irish ladybird, following the recent arrival of an invasive new species, the Harlequin ladybird. Weyman is developing conservation and education programmes on the native ladybird species at Fota Wildlife Park. Her academic supervision is provided by University College Cork.

Niamh Maire Mohan works with Nuritas and is also supported by Trinity College Dublin. The company is aiming to discover peptides that can be used by the life sciences sector in supplements and new drugs. Her project hopes to unravel whether any of these peptides possess antimicrobial and immunomodulatory capabilities.

A strand of research will be co-funded by the Irish Prison Service in partnership with the Irish Red Cross, as part of 2018’s call for applications. Applicants are asked to propose a PhD research project to examine the impact of the Community-Based Health in Prisons Programme. This initiative for health, first aid and wellbeing peer-to-peer education operates in prisons throughout Ireland.

A mutually beneficial arrangement

Commenting on the programme, Peter Brown, director of the IRC, said it allows early-career researchers to develop new skills and, at the same time, provides employers with talented individuals.

Brown said: “Partnerships like this are vital to ensure that we continue to support a pipeline of skilled talent for Ireland with cutting-edge skills that can hugely benefit a range of organisations, from multinational high-tech companies to not-for-profits.”

The deadline for applications is 12 April 2018 and more information can be found on the IRC website.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects