The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) are engaging in a joint initiative to incentivize researchers in Ireland to address global challenges in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically focusing on delivering impact in partner countries where Ireland’s official development assistance (ODA) is directed.

The following challenge-based funding opportunities are currently open for applications under this partnership:

It is expected that teams will consider the potential societal impact of their proposed solution to challenges in one or more of Ireland’s partner countries and include a relevant Societal Impact Champion. Funding must be used for research activities in an SFI Eligible Research Body, but may include, for example, travel between Ireland and a partner country for team members including the Societal Impact Champion (in accordance with DFA travel advice), secondment of team members from Ireland to a partner country to conduct relevant research there, or costs to conduct fieldwork, experiments or workshops in a partner country (all requests must be appropriately justified). Please see the notes and conditions below and the relevant challenge website for more information.

Notes for applicants

  • Applicants should indicate during the application process, where requested, if they fulfil the conditions below for consideration under this partnership;
  • All applications will be eligible to be funded by SFI, regardless of whether they may be considered for funding under this partnership;
  • All applications will be processed and reviewed in the same way;
  • All awardees will be managed by SFI in the same way.

With regard to eligible costs, applicants should refer to the SFI Grant Budget Policy, but a number of points are reiterated here that may be pertinent to applications that include a Societal Impact Champion that is not based in Ireland.

  • Funding may only be used for research activities administered through an SFI Eligible Research Body;
  • Funding may be used, if appropriately justified, for travel necessary for engagement within the challenge team. This may be for the Societal Impact Champion to travel to Ireland or other members of the challenge team to travel internationally;
  • Funding may be used for researchers based at an SFI Eligible Research Body to conduct fieldwork, field testing or workshops outside of the Republic of Ireland.

Conditions for receiving support from DFA

  • Applications must meet all criteria for consideration under these challenge calls, and be recommended for funding by the SFI international peer-review process;
  • The identified challenge is aligned with one or more of the priorities outlined in Ireland’s policy for international development, A Better World, and is of relevance to one or more of the following partner countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Palestine. It is required that the Societal Impact Champion, whose role within the challenge team is to bring appropriate experience in areas relevant to the societal impact focus of the application, is either
  1. An individual based in one of the partner countries listed above, with relevant knowledge and experience of the challenge being addressed in the application;
  2. A staff member of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that directly engages with one of the partner countries and has relevant knowledge and experience of the challenge being addressed in the application. 

Applicants should refer to the Application Handbook on the relevant challenge website for a full description of the role of Societal Impact Champion.

Please note that by submitting an application to the SFI Future Innovator Prize Programmes named above, applicants accept that SFI has the right to share information (including the application and any post-award reports submitted to SFI) with co-funding partners, on a confidential basis, without the need to obtain any further consents from such applicants.