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5647 people working on SFI-supported projects; 2111 postgraduate (PhD and Masters) students supported by SFI; 35% of PhD and Masters students departing SFI teams went to industry as their first destination; 163 PhD students were recruited across six SFI Centres for Research Training, bringing the total number of students supported to 476 (42% of these were female); 554 SFI award holders; 86 PhD students were supported across seven EPSRC-SFI Centres for Doctural Training; 777 funded investigators and co-principal investigators (excludes co-PIs and FIs who arre award holders)


From training highly sought-after PhD students, to supporting early career frontiers researchers and senior research leaders, SFI is working to attract and retain the best talent. This is delivering tangible benefits to Ireland today and into the future.

Collaborating with the higher education institutes, government and industry, SFI supports the development of a wide range of inclusive STEM career pathways, creating a diverse scientific, research and innovation workforce which is welcoming to all. SFI aims to shape a cohesive and vibrant research ecosystem with a common purpose and vision.

An image of Prof Dimitra Psychogiou standing against a grey wall

World-leading expert in Radio Frequency (RF) and wireless communication joins UCC

In 2021, Prof Dimitra Psychogiou, was awarded a prestigious SFI Research Professorship to spearhead a pioneering research programme at Tyndall National Institute (TNI) and UCC. A world-leading expert in Radio Frequency (RF) and wireless communication, Prof Psychogiou is the first woman to be appointed Professor of Engineering at UCC and the first woman SFI Research Professor. Prof Psychogiou and her research team, will work to solve the challenge of spectrum scarcity while enabling wireless connectivity to more devices and applications. Her research will help lead to lowercost broadband wireless infrastructure, which will make digital and internet services more accessible to the general public and support broadband access for underserved rural areas.

Pictured right: Prof Dimitra Psychogiou

3.7 million invested in 47 STEM projects through the annual SFI Discover Programme; 4389 education and public engagement activities delivered by SFI-funded researchers; 2109 Science Week events took place across the country; 335 primary schools received an SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) award; 881 primary school teachers received continuous professional development (CPD) training through the SFI-supported DPSM/European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) programme; 237 second level teachers attended ESERO space-themed continuous professional development; 2385+ senior cycle students attended ESERO Space Career Roadshows


SFI believes that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is for everyone. This includes creating a diverse scientific, research and innovation workforce, as well as bringing science to lif for all. SFI supports and delivers STEM engagement activities across Ireland, championing best practice in STEM education, and promoting curiosity across all age groups and education levels.

By inviting the public to join a conversation about research through campaigns such Creating our Future, and supporting researchers in engaging with the public, SFI aims to increase the accessibility to publicly-funded scientific content and encourage open dialogue with citizens. Working with a broad range of stakeholders and communities during 2021, SFI supported both in-person and virtual activities, creating opportunities for innovative collaboration and reaching new audiences. 

A public conversation about future research

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Creating Our Future was brought forward in 2021 by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD. As an ‘all of Government’ endeavour, the aim was to create an opportunity for the people of Ireland to contribute to the future direction of Irish research and innovation. People and communities across the country were invited to submit ideas through a dedicated online portal, facilitating a national brainstorm about what researchers can do to help create a better future.

SFI acted as operational lead for the campaign, engaging a diverse network of stakeholders. This included the formation of a Steering Committee led by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, an Advisory Forum comprised of representatives from just under 80 organisations, and an Expert Committee comprised of individuals with a diverse range of expertise and interests. The Creating Our Future Roadshow visited every county in Ireland and over 1,500 online and in-person brainstorms and events were held to gather ideas.

STEM Passport for Inclusion

Young women from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds do not traditionally access STEM careers, often due to a lack of role models and limited availability of STEM subjects in their educational settings. The STEM Passport for Inclusion project supports young women through a multi-strand approach. Supported by the SFI Discover Programme Call, it is led by Maynooth University with partners Munster Technological University (MTU), the RDI Hub, Accenture, Microsoft and TeenTurn. Almost 500 girls participated in 2021 and the programme aims to reach 15,000 young women from disadvantaged backgrounds over a three-year period. It is also part of the Microsoft Ireland-Maynooth University Digital Wealth school’s outreach programme.

Pictured right: 6th year students, Beauty Ihekwereme, Sinead Keane, Roisin Keane, and Kelechi Unaegbu, from Firhouse Community College, participated in the STEM Passport for Inclusion Programme. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography.

An image of four students in school uniforms, smiling and talking to each other. One is holding a laptop in their hand

Explore The Report - Our Key Chapters

Global Footprint

In 2021, SFI continued to build strategic international collaborative research partnerships across the globe.

Find out more about Global Footprint

Driving Competitiveness

SFI is fostering a cohesive research and innovation ecosystem that supports Ireland’s competitiveness.

Find out more about Driving Competitiveness

Excellent Research

SFI supports and drives Ireland’s contribution to the latest scientific breakthroughs which lead to innovation for academia, enterprise, the public sector, government, society and beyond

Find out more about Excellent Research

Annual Report 2021

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