The National Challenge Fund is a €65M research fund established under the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, that will support academic researchers to work with government, enterprise, public sector organisations and societal stakeholders to address national priorities for Ireland. This fund will be coordinated and administered by Science Foundation Ireland.   

The initiative will address key national challenges in the areas of Green Transition and Digital Transformation. It aims to foster collaboration between government departments, agencies, enterprise, the academic research community, and societal stakeholders to identify challenges and mobilise action to address green transition and digitalisation targets set at government level. 

To address complex challenges, stakeholders, beneficiaries and end-users should be involved in the co-creation of research activities and should inform the expected outputs and outcomes to ensure that they are meaningful and relevant, and to ensure a full understanding of the issues relating to the adoption and scaling of solutions to achieve impact. It will be expected that solutions are inclusive, equitable and sustainable and adhere to the principles of responsible research and innovation.   

The National Challenge Fund will consist of eight challenges, which aim to fund approximately 90 research teams with funding of up to €250k over a duration of 18 months to develop their ideas. Under each challenge stream, a number of teams will then be awarded follow-on funding of up to €500k and compete for Prize Awards of up to €2M.

The first challenges under the National Challenge Fund, the 2050 Challenge and Future Digital Challenge, will launch in August 2022

The Challenge descriptions outlined below are indicative only and may be subject to change. To keep up-to-date with the latest Challenge Call information, please sign-up to receive SFI alerts here.

Green Transition Challenges 

Digital Transformation Challenges

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more about the National Challenge Fund or explore opportunities to become involved, please contact Dr Stephen O’Driscoll (Digital Transformation Lead) or Dr Darragh O’Neill (Green Transition Lead) at challenges@sfi.ie