The purpose of the SFI Research Infrastructure Call is to support the research community in building and sustaining the required infrastructural capacity to accomplish high quality, high impact and innovative research in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that demonstrably enhance and underpin enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland. SFI encourages the efficient use, renewal and development of existing national research infrastructures whilst also recognising the need for continued investment in cutting-edge research equipment and infrastructure in areas of national priority of particular relevance to SFI’s prior and future investments.
SFI’s Annual Plan for 2015 outlined a number of key objectives which included: Optimising SFI support for Horizon 2020 (H2020) bids; developing partnerships with industry; building research capacity in areas of strategic importance to Ireland; and supporting the on-going development of the SFI Research Centres.
In order to both develop and support these strategic objectives, SFI is pleased to launch the SFI Research Infrastructure Call 2015.
Key Programmatic Objectives
- To build, enhance and maintain national infrastructural capacity by supporting the acquisition of infrastructure.
- To enhance activities and outputs of SFI researchers and other research groups.
- To facilitate a more rapid commercialisation of research.
- To encourage strategic infrastructural planning by research bodies.
- To foster collaboration and partnership between researchers (including those in Northern Ireland).
- To encourage partnership with industry through collaborative initiatives or through provision of access to infrastructure by industry with particular focus on growing the utilisation of the infrastructure by industry.
- To encourage good negotiation with equipment vendors resulting in cost-effectiveness.
- To promote future sustainability through the development of access charge plans.
The following programme objectives should also be considered, where relevant, and are new to the 2015 call. These objectives aim to further maximise the impact of SFI infrastructural investments by:
- Funding key Research Infrastructures that will enable Irish researchers to compete for Horizon 2020 research funding calls, in particular the EU Framework Programmes for Integrated Research Infrastructures, Societal Challenges and Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT).
- Encouraging bids that fund large infrastructures including testbeds, which have the potential to increase the Technology Readiness Level of research activities.
Proposals are invited from individual eligible research bodies or consortia of eligible research bodies for infrastructure requests. Each research body must nominate a key responsible investigator from the research body who will have primary fiduciary responsibility and accountability for the management of the infrastructure award. Please refer to the call document for the eligibility criteria of this key responsible investigator.
Programme phases and proposal categories
The SFI Research Infrastructure call is structured in two phases.
In Phase 1, applications will be accepted for the following two categories of infrastructure request:
- Category A: H2020 Research Infrastructure - Integrating Activities - Advanced Communities aligned bids.There is no cap on the number of requests that will be accepted from research bodies under this category.
- Category B: Large Scale Research Infrastructures for SFI Research Centres. Each SFI Research Centre will be permitted to submit up to two requests each under this category. In Phase 2, applications will be accepted for:
- Category C: Large Scale Research Infrastructure for Research Bodies that focuses on applications for infrastructure requests in areas of national priority and other areas of strategic opportunity that are aligned with the strategic research objectives of eligible research bodies. Each research body will be permitted to submit a prioritised list of up to six requests under this category.
- Category D: Opportunistic Funding for bids representing smaller infrastructure needs that can be purchased through a value-for-money opportunity.
For further details on these proposal categories, the remit of the programme, its eligible costs, application format and procedure, please review the Research Infrastructure 2015 call documentation for further details (linked below).
Call Launch: 12th of June 2015
Webinar: 14:00 (local time, Dublin) on the 30th of June 2015
Call Phase 1 (Category A and B):
Expression of Interest Deadline: 13:00 (local time, Dublin) on 20th July 2015
Proposal Submission Deadline: 13:00 (local time, Dublin) on 24th August 2015
Call Phase 2 (Category C and D):
Expression of Interest Deadline (Category C only): 13:00 (local time, Dublin) on 15th January 2016
Proposal Submission Deadline (Category C & D): 13:00 (local time, Dublin) on 26th February 2016
SFI reserves the right to make amendments to the documents if required and may add additional support documentation as appropriate. Please ensure that you are referring to the most recent version of the Call document and FAQs. Research Offices will be contacted in the event of any updates to the Call document.
A Webinar was held on Tuesday, 30th of June from 14.00 PM – 15.00 PM to outline the details of the Programme. You can access the slides from the webinar here.
How to apply
There are two stages to the submission process for Category A, B and C applications. An Expression of Interest must be submitted by the Research Body via email to email@example.com, followed by a Full Proposal submission Stage via SESAME. For more information, view the SESAME user guides or read the SESAME FAQs.
There is a single stage to the submission process for Category D applications, where Full Proposals are submitted by email. Upon receipt of an Expression of Interest (under Categories A, B and C), the lead research body and key responsible investigator will be contracted by email and provided with log in details for their proposal on SESAME.
Please note that SFI expects a high volume of applications to be submitted to this programme, and has limited SESAME helpdesk resources. To avoid any delays in submission, researchers should familiarise themselves with the SESAME system and online help resources provided well in advance of the SFI and institution internal call deadlines.
Queries relating to SESAME which are not answered in the SESAME FAQ document referred to above should first be directed to your Institute’s Research Office. If still unresolved, queries should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that the response time for queries may be up to 5 working days.
All correspondence or queries in relation to the SFI Research Infrastructure Call 2015 should be directed to email@example.com