The Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call aims to support and develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and public engagement sector in Ireland by:

  • investing in, developing and extending activity and ability in this area, and
  • exploring and encouraging novel means of engaging the public 

The purpose of the Call is to support projects that encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to be informed, inspired and involved in STEM.

Applications must clearly outline how the project will address Science Foundation Ireland’s goal to have an engaged and scientifically informed public in Ireland.  An engaged public feels confident to:

  • understand the role of STEM in our lives
  • can judge between competing STEM arguments / engage in informed debate on STEM issues
  • encourage young people to study and work in STEM
  • feels engaged with STEM research

SFI Discover programme objective is to support projects that address one or more of the following:

  • increase the general public’s engagement with STEM and its importance in society.
  • stimulate interest, excitement and debate about STEM through accessible and entertaining interactions with the public.
  • engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds with STEM.
  • promote engagement with STEM through proven, robust methods or pilot novel methods to test proof of concepts.
  • reach participants not normally engaged with STEM, as well as continuing to target existing audiences
  • have considered their target participant group in the design of the project.
  • inspire curiosity, and confidence in the scientific method.
  • Promote and support STEM education and career pathways.
  • provide experiential opportunities to design, create and make while exploring and experiencing STEM.

Key Dates

Date of Publication:   Wednesday 4th April 2018
Closing Date for Receipt of Applications:   13.00 hours (Irish time) on Wednesday 30th May 2018


Eligibility Criteria

The Call is open to a wide range of people and organisations, including mediators and practitioners of science communication; STEM festival organisers; universities and institutes of technology, science centres, museums and other cultural attractions; artists; educators; industry professionals and academics in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM); arts agencies; production companies; schools; local authorities (libraries, city/county councils etc.); youth clubs; community groups; and research institutes. 

Partnership projects (between different people and organisations, e.g. scientists and ethicists, educators and artists) are welcomed and encouraged.

Applicants are required to apply through or partner with an organisation, such as an academic institution, charitable body, not-for-profit organisation or commercial company and supply the required background and financial information requested in the application form.

Science Foundation Ireland has a list of Eligible Research Bodies (which includes universities, institutes of technology etc.) – check list of Eligible Research Bodies here.

If your organisation is included on this list, then your application must be signed off by the appropriate officer (typically the Research Office) within your organisation using the Eligible Research Body Cover Sheet available on SESAME.  This form must also be stamped by the Eligible Research Body.

Application are also welcomed from Non-Eligible Bodies (i.e. any organisation not included on the above list).

There are two categories of Non-Eligible Bodies

(a) Non- Eligible Bodies – State Body (e.g. city or county council) are required to complete, sign, stamp and upload the Non- Eligible Body State Cover Sheet available on SESAME.  A senior executive within the organisation is required to sign the cover sheet indicating the organisation’s support for the application.

(b)Non- Eligible Bodies – Other Organisation (i.e. not an Eligible Research Body or a State Body)

All other Non-Eligible Bodies are required to:

  1. complete the Non-Eligible Body – Other Organisation Cover Sheet available on SESAME, providing details of the organisation’s status, registration number, auditors, solicitors and bankers
  2. provide details of the organisation structure detailing positions and names of post holders
  3. provide a copy of the most recent annual report (if appropriate, i.e. if your organisation is required to publish an annual report)
  4. provide a signed copy of the most recent Audited Financial Statements (if applicable)[1]

This information must be compiled into a single PDF file and uploaded onto SESAME.

If you have any doubt about your organisation’s status, please email for clarification.  This must be done in good time before the closing date (minimum three days) to ensure that your application is completed and submitted before the deadline as no exceptions can be made in relation to the submission date for this, or any other, reason.

Proposals must be explicitly aimed at engaging audiences in the Republic of Ireland, however the subject matter can be international.  Applications are welcome from organisations not based in the Republic of Ireland; however, they must demonstrate in their application how the project will explicitly engage with their target audience in the Republic of Ireland.

Applications will not be accepted from individuals and/or sole traders.

No employee or board member of Science Foundation Ireland may apply.

Applicants may submit more than one grant application under the Call to Science Foundation Ireland at any one time, provided the proposals are clearly differentiated.

Any previously unsuccessful projects are not eligible to apply for funding under this Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call unless fundamental changes or developments have been made to the proposal and are clearly outlined.  Please consult with the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call Manager in advance if you have any queries in relation to eligibility (

The Project Lead is the person who has the main intellectual input into, and ownership of, the outcomes if the application is successful.  This is the individual with whom Science Foundation Ireland will correspond about the application and who takes legal and fiduciary responsibility for the project.  The Project Lead is normally considered by Science Foundation Ireland to be the ‘Holder’ of the grant, i.e. the grant holder.

Please refer to the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call 2018 Call Document for full details

[1] If your organisation is not required to produce audited accounts, management accounts signed off by an accountant will be accepted. Please contact if you have any queries in relation to this requirement.  


Applications must be submitted via SESAME, Science Foundation Ireland’s Grants Award System.  Log-in details are required to access SESAME.

  • If you are already registered on SESAME you can log in using the same email address; if you have forgotten your password, you can use the Forgot Password functionality to re-set it.
  • If you have not previously been registered with SESAME, please email the following information to
  1. Project Lead Name
  2. Email address
  3. Registered Company Name
  4. Legal Status: (e.g. company limited by guarantee, limited company, charity etc.)
  5. Trading Name
  6. VAT Number

A SESAME profile will be created for you and log-in details will be emailed to the email address provided.

Science Foundation Ireland’s grants and awards management system, SESAME, is accessed using the Internet; no additional software needs to be installed.  You can access SESAME online from any location.  The configuration of some browsers and internet infrastructure (pop-up blockers, firewalls, etc.) can restrict an individual’s access to the internet and as a result to the SESAME system.  If you are having any such difficulties, please contact your organisation’s IT support team.

Please note:  Two people cannot use the same profile to login to SESAME at the same time.

Draft applications may be amended as many times as required but once submitted no further changes can be made.

Once submitted, applications cannot be withdrawn and subsequently modified for re-submission in the same Call.

Early submission in SESAME is strongly recommended.  Applicants who wait until shortly before the close of the call take serious risk of encountering submission issues.  The submit button will cease to be active at the indicated deadline.

Please note that SESAME will only accept applications until 13.00 hours (Irish time) on Wednesday 30th May 2018.

No applications can be accepted after that time or by any other means.


A webinar took place on the 11th of April.

A recording of the webinar supporting the SFI Discover Programme Call 2018 call can be found here.

Questions and answers arising from SFI Discover Programme Call 2018 Webinar can be found here.

Additional Information

A User Guide for completion of applications under the SFI Discover Programme Call 2018 on SESAME can be found here (link to SESAME User Guide)

A template for the annual/final reports for projects funded under the SFI Discover Programme can be found here

Please Note:  This template is for information purposes only and may be used for collating your data.  The final report will be submitted via SESAME and may be altered slightly.


Any queries in relation to this call should be emailed to