SFI has four new challenges for researchers in Ireland

7 Nov 2022

Image: © MarkRademaker/Stock.adobe.com

Spanning across healthy environment, energy and digital resilience, the four new challenges have awards of up to €2m for winners.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has launched calls for four new challenges with funding and supports for Irish researchers.

The challenges are part of the SFI National Challenge Fund that the Government launched in August. Funded by the EU, it set aside €65m for research projects in Ireland that drive innovation in the areas of green transition and digital transformation.

The latest challenges include areas of research ranging from healthy environment and energy innovation to enhancing tech connections and digital resilience. All four calls are now open and have a deadline of 10 February 2023.

The Healthy Environment for All challenge is looking for researchers working in areas that help ensure clean and healthy air, water and soil for humans, animals and plants. Successful teams will receive up to €250,000, with the overall winner standing in chance to win €2m.

For the Energy Innovation challenge, SFI is looking for researchers that are working on ideas that could contribute to Ireland’s transition to an environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy. Funding pattern for this challenge is the same as the previous one.

Another challenge, called OutTech, has a funding prize of €1m for research teams that have ideas around enhancing the connections between government, communities and people.

And lastly, ​​​​​​the Digital for Resilience challenge is aimed at research teams working on enhancing Ireland’s capabilities in crisis prediction and response. Like OutTech, the overall prize money for this challenge is €1m.

“These areas are among the greatest challenges our country and our world faces. This fund will help each and everyone us by navigating the best way forward,” Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said of the National Challenge Fund earlier this year.

“When we launched our new strategy Impact 2030, I outlined the need to put research and innovation at the heart of addressing Ireland’s social, economic and environmental challenges. The National Challenge Fund is a tangible example of this strategy in action.”

In addition to funding, research teams will be provided with non-financial supports such as training and mentorship – with a focus on inter- and trans-disciplinary research. The challenges will open for submissions on 14 November.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic