Scientific Reporting Requirements
Reporting on SFI awards is used to monitor the progress of individual awards against a. the research programme milestones and deliverables, and b. the overall objectives of the SFI Programme funding call under which the award was made.
Compliance with SFI’s reporting requirements is part of SFI’s Grant General Terms and Conditions which are agreed to upon acceptance of an award. Awardees that fail to comply with these requirements risk having their grant payments suspended and / or the processing of applications under review in SFI Programme funding calls paused, until their reporting status is rectified.
In this context, it is important to review the following information, which summarises the reporting requirements and schedule for all SFI awards. You should also note whether there are any bespoke or specific additional reporting requirements for your particular award.
The SFI Grants and Awards Management System, SESAME, is the primary conduit for all SFI reporting. User guides and webinars describing SESAME, including a dictionary of SESAME terms, are available here.
A description of the Research Centre reports, including the Centre specific reporting requirements and schedule, can be found here.
Reporting Submission Schedule
The submission schedule for all elements of SFI reporting is outlined in the Table below. Please consult the relevant sections further down this page for more information on each requirement. We recommend that you complete your Research Profile prior to completing your annual report, since this will ensure that data entry is not duplicated.
|Research Outputs 2019||All recipients of SFI funding*a||22nd January 2020|
|Annual report||All active SFI award holders*b*c||31st January 2020|
|Researcher Snapshot||All active SFI award holders*a||22nd January 2020|
|Survey||TIDA award holders||31st January 2020|
|Final report||All SFI award holders||3 months after end date of the award|
*a C&W awardees who do not hold other SFI awards are not required to complete the annual stocktake of SFI Research Outputs or a Researcher Snapshot.
*b If the final report due date is before or on 31st January only a single final report is required. In all other cases (with the exception of TIDA and Industry Fellowship Awards), both an annual and final report are required, even if the two reporting deadlines are close in time.
*c Annual reports are no longer required for Industry Fellowship Awards or TIDA awards, only a final report is required.
The SFI Research Outputs are drawn directly from the data entered into the SESAME Research Profile, which must be completed by all SFI award holders in January each year.
- Only outputs which have a primary or secondary attribution to an SFI award need to be entered onto SESAME. The primary attribution reflects the main award that has contributed to those outputs and outcomes and the secondary attributions are associated awards that also contributed to the output.
- Data does not need to be re-entered each year. However is imperative that you update existing records, where relevant. For example, if a team member departed during the year, rather than providing us with details of that team member, you can simply update the existing record with their departure date and with any relevant departure information requested.
- SESAME is integrated with ORCID - this integration allows users to connect to their ORCID account and pull down publications into their SESAME profile, reducing some of the burden of data entry.
- Data stored in your Research Profile can be pulled into your annual report – there is no need to input the data twice. We recommend that you complete your Research Profile prior to completing your annual report.
- C&W awardees who do not hold other SFI awards are not required to complete the annual stocktake of SFI Research Outputs or a Researcher Snapshot.
Download the guidelines for the completion of the Researcher Outputs here.
- Researchers are requested to submit their annual reports by 31st January of each active year of the award, to report on progress during the previous calendar year period (January – December). Researchers are also required to submit a final report within 3 months of the end date of the award (see section below)
- If the final report due date is before or on January 31st only a single final report is required. In all other cases, both an annual and final report are required, even if the two reporting deadlines are close in time. In such cases, it is permissible for awardees to submit very similar annual and final reports.
- A final report is to be submitted within 3 months of the end date of the award. The final report should capture all progress and outputs since the previous report. This final standard report is the same as the annual standard report, except for an additional table at the end which enables researchers to provide a summary of all outputs achieved throughout the full duration of the award.
- For the majority of awards, both annual and final reports are required. However, for shorter term awards, such as Conference &Workshops (C&W), only a single report is required. Please consult the relevant programme reporting guidelines below for more details.
- Reporting templates for the vast majority of SFI programmes are available on SESAME and should be completed therein. Researchers will be notified through automatic reminders from SESAME when they are required to submit their annual and final reports. The steps required to submit annual and final reports via SESAME are outlined in Module 11 of the Researcher User Guide for SESAME Award Management System. Detailed guidelines and background information on all report templates are described below.
Programmes that use the standard report template
The Standard Report Template, which is available on SESAME, is used for awards made under a number of SFI programmes, including the following:
- Investigator Programme, Principal Investigator (PI), Investigator Project and Investigator Award (IvP)*
- President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), President of Ireland Future Research Leaders
- Research Professorship Programme
- ERC Development Programme
- SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award Programme
- BBSRC-SFI Partnership Programme
*Additional guidance for SFI-DEL Investigator Programme awardees is provided here.
The following international partnership awards use the Standard Report Template with an additional mandatory field to articulate the added value of the partnership and to outline the research work carried out by co-PI(s) in partner country(ies).
- US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme*
- BBSRC-SFI Partnership Programme
- EPSRC-SFI Joint Funding of Research
- SFI-NSFC Partnership Programme
*Please note that for US-Ireland Centre-to-Centre Partnership awards, these will be reported on as part of the Research Centre award. See Research Centre annual reporting guidelines for more information.
The following awards use the Standard Report Template but also require some additional documentation which must be submitted with the annual/final report. In the case of the SIRG programme, a mentor support letter is also required. Additional guidelines can be downloaded for the following programmes:
- Strategic Partnership Programme**
- Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG)
- Career Development Award (CDA)
- Awards made under Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs), Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), ERA-Nets and the Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN) initiative
Detailed guidelines on the Standard Report Template can be found below.
**Awardees under the Strategic Partnership Programme should complete the Standard Report Template on SESAME and upload additional documentation relating to governance and cost share, unless otherwise advised. Bespoke reporting guidelines may apply to awards made under this programme, depending on the scale of the award
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before proceeding with report submission. For any queries relating to SESAME, including the completion of the Research Profile, please contact email@example.com.
Programmes that use bespoke report templates
Bespoke SESAME report templates are available to accommodate reporting on awards made under a small number of programmes. Guidelines specific to each of these templates can be accessed through the links below:
- Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA)
- Conferences and Workshops (C&W)
- SFI Industry Fellowship Programme
- Research Infrastructure Award
- Research Centres
- SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme (ETP)
- SFI Future Innovator Prize
Progress against awards made under the Spokes Programme should be reported on through the relevant Research Centre award. Please note that if the Centre-to-Centre partnership or Spokes award involves more than one SFI-funded Research Centre, that all RCs involved are required to report on the partnership.
For other awards made under a Competitive Joint Funding Partnership Programme that are not covered in the above guidance, the following guidance should be noted. Where an award is made with a partner agency as lead, a report WILL NOT be submitted via SESAME. Such programmes include the
- HRB-SFI Translational Research Award (TRA) Programme
- Royal Society – SFI University Research Fellowship Programme
- SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership
Recipients of awards made under these programmes are required to complete a Research Profile in SESAME as part of the annual stocktake of SFI Research Outputs, and a Researcher Snapshot.
If you are involved with a programme which is not listed above and have concerns about reporting procedures, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further clarification.
Researcher Snapshot must also be completed in SESAME as part of your reporting requirements; this must be up-to-date and available for publication on the SFI website in January each year. Download guidelines for the completion of the Researcher Snapshot.
For a TIDA award, a short survey must be completed on an annual basis for 5 years, to allow the gathering of statistics on the evolution of commercialisation outputs following completion of the TIDA feasibility study. The annual deadline for the TIDA survey is the 31st of January. The purpose of this survey is to collate quantitative metrics and to enable awardees to self-assess their outputs. The survey provides valuable insights into the longer term outcomes of TIDA feasibility studies. The survey is integrated into the SESAME award management system and can be accessed through the ‘Surveys’ tab on the researcher SESAME account workbench.
The final standard report is the same as the annual standard report, except for an additional table which enables researchers to provide a summary of activities for all years of the award. The final report (free text fields) should reflect any additional activities or updates which have not been reported on previously, for example which have arisen since the last calendar year report was submitted.
Description of Standard Report Sections
The Standard Annual and Final Reporting Templates, which are available through the SESAME Grants and Awards Management System, ensure that progress on awards can be monitored against the specific objectives defined for the programme in which the award was made. The ‘deliverables’ on these objectives will contribute towards relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) outlined in SFI’s Agenda 2020. The Standard Report Template has been designed to cover awards arising from a wide range of programmes which are active in the SFI portfolio.
There are a number of sections to the Standard Report Template; some are self-explanatory and some require additional guidance, provided below.
Current Irish government policy mandates that the majority of public research funding is aligned with areas identified in the report of the National Research Prioritisation (NRP) Steering Group, published in 2012. Therefore, SFI requests that all awardees select the most relevant NRP area from the drop down list provided. SFI acknowledges that the NRP areas may not be applicable to a small subset of awards. If this is relevant to your award, select ‘Other’, which denotes Basic Biomedical Research, Minority Research or another area not specified. Please familiarise yourself with the report before you complete this section. SFI also requests that all awardees select the most appropriate TRL level to match their research activities. To assess the maturity of awards within its funding portfolio, Science Foundation Ireland has adopted the same Technology Readiness Level (TRL) evaluation scale as utilised by the Horizon 2020 Programme which is an adaptation of the TRL scale developed by NASA in the 1970s (http://www.sfi.ie/about-us/).
In this section, a field exists to gather information on where team members gain employment once they leave the SFI award. This is relevant to a KPI outlined in Agenda 2020: “By 2020, 50% of SFI trainees will be moving to industry as a first destination”. There are also questions relating to maternity leave of team members.
Awardees are asked to report on all refereed journal and conference publications and international presentations directly supported by the grant. SFI funding has produced high quality, high impact publications which have resulted in Ireland rising to the top 20 in international bibliometric rankings of repute. SFI’s Agenda 2020 sets a target for Ireland to maintain its position in the top rankings and for SFI funded researchers to win top tier international prizes. In this section of the annual report, awardees are asked to report on all scientific awards received during the reporting period.
Education and Public Engagement (EPE)
Awardees are asked to input details on education and public engagement (EPE) activities performed during the reporting period. Awardees are asked to provide details on any EPE activities which were run as part of the core SFI Discover programmes, including but not limited to: Discover Primary Science and Maths, Smart Futures and Science Week. In addition to this, any key accomplishments in EPE activities during the reporting period should be detailed. Gathering this information will enable SFI Discover to develop case studies and exemplars of good practice for EPE activities amongst awardees and to establish a baseline of EPE activity within the community.
In this section, awardees are provided with a list of 11 Impact ‘declarations’ or statements. At least one statement must be selected but awardees are encouraged to rank up to 5 statements, starting with the number 1 as being the most relevant. Awardees are then asked to provide more details justifying the declarations selected by pulling in all relevant impacts from their Research Profile. To assist you the impacts on the profile are categorised with shortened version of the 11 categories. The Impact statements will help SFI to quantify the types of impacts coming from the various SFI programmes. In this section, awardees are also asked to provide details on any industry engagements.
- The research conducted through my award has enabled me to leverage international funding through industry/collaborative research
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in the start or expansion of a company which has resulted in the creation of high value jobs
- The research conducted through my award has attracted developing and nurturing businesses, through for example, the licensing of technologies
- The research conducted through my award has attracted international scientists and talented people
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in a new policy being implemented and/or an improvement to the delivery of a public service
- The research conducted through my award has enhanced the quality of life and health of Irish citizens:
- The research conducted through my award has contributed to environmental conservation and / or enhanced the sustainable relationship between society, industry and the environment:
- The research conducted through my award has increased the knowledge, appreciation and understanding of science, engineering, and technology amongst the general public:
- The research conducted through my award has developed the country’s international reputation
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in the creation of employment through directly influencing and inspiring the future workforce and/or the production of a highly educated and relevant workforce in demand by industry and academia:
- The research conducted through my award has not realized any impact as of yet or has impacted in other areas not reflected in the choices provided, for example by enhancing the creative output of Irish citizens.
Knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities
Awardees are asked to input details on Invention disclosures filed; patents filed, granted or exploited; licensing agreements signed; ICT standards and spin out companies created. Gathering this information will enable SFI to report against the following KPI: “By 2020, the proportion of invention disclosures, patents, licenses, and spin outs recorded by Enterprise Ireland that are linked to SFI research, will be doubled.”
Where relevant, SFI requires that award holders report on all ongoing SFI-supported clinical trials and investigations, indicating where HPRA approval is required. Note that this includes studies that may currently be at the planning stage but for which a formal application to the HPRA has not yet been submitted. Full details of the investigator’s obligations under this policy are available on the SFI website.
SFI requires evidence that relevant ethical and regulatory approval has been granted for studies involving animals prior to an award commencing. In exceptional cases where such research may not commence until a late stage of an award, SFI may permit submission of ethical and regulatory approvals following the award start date but prior to commencement of the research.
The funding diversification fields in the annual report have been updated to include the most up to date funding streams, such as Horizon 2020. Gathering this information will enable SFI to report against the following KPIs:
- To increase the average research income secured by Ireland based PIs from international funding entities such as the EU and in doing so reduce the number of researchers that rely on SFI for the majority of their funding
- To increase the level of leadership roles held by Ireland based PIs in major European Initiatives, in particular Horizon 2020
- To increase the number of ERC grants secured by Ireland based PIs.