Science Foundation Ireland is pleased to launch the SFI Centres for Research Training programme which will provide funding for the training of postgraduate students in areas of identified skills needs. Building on research excellence, the purpose of the Centres will be to provide cohorts of academically outstanding future research leaders with the skills and knowledge required to address the future challenges of an ever-changing work environment. Training programmes will be defined through close engagement with enterprise.

Programme Remit and Thematic Area

The inaugural 2018 SFI Centres for Research Training Call will operate on a thematic basis and will accept applications aligned with the broad area of Data and ICT Skills for the Future and which fall within SFI’s legal remit. The scope of this thematic area encompasses the development of innovative software- and hardware-based information and communications technologies (ICT) as well as the diffusion of ICT as a key enabling technology in other application areas of science and technology. This thematic area will cover SFI Centres for Research Training whose vision is either or both:

  • To enable underpinning software- and hardware-based technologies in relevant areas of research in computer science, information science, data science, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, privacy, robotics, artificial/virtual reality, mathematics, statistics, networks and communications;
  • To explore potentially transformative applications of these technologies in research sectors that align with any of the National Priority Areas, which are grouped under six themes (ICT, Health and Wellbeing, Food, Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability, Manufacturing and Materials and Services and Business Processes).  

Applications are therefore invited whose research and training programme aligns primarily with at least one of the Research Priority areas under the ICT Theme, namely, “Future Networks, Communications and Internet of Things”, “Data Analytics, Management, Security, Privacy, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (including Machine Learning)” or “Digital Platforms, Content and Applications, and Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality”. Applications may also potentially align with a secondary “application” Priority Area. 

SFI does not envisage funding Centres for Research Training that overlap significantly in their vision.  It is therefore recommended that applicant groups and institutions collaborate in areas of mutual interest in the preparation and submission of bids.


  1. To develop a pipeline of highly trained, well-networked research talent in areas of strategic priority for Ireland;
  2. To establish world-class, cohort-based, interdisciplinary training programmes within environments of research excellence;
  3. To equip postgraduates for ever-evolving workplaces through the provision of transversal, cross-sectoral and discipline-specific skills training programmes and individual career development support;
  4. To build partnerships with enterprise and other external bodies in the development and delivery of innovative programmes of research and training;
  5. To enhance intersectoral and international mobility of research postgraduates to promote knowledge transfer and innovation;
  6. To leverage non-SFI funding for postgraduates to grow the scale and breadth of the Centre for Research Training;
  7. To contribute to improving gender balance in all aspects of postgraduate training;
  8. To encourage inter-institutional collaboration and efficiency in the provision of excellent postgraduate student training.

Programme Scale

Applicant groups and institutions are encouraged to collaborate in areas of mutual interest to develop programmes of scale. SFI Centres for Research Training will enrol four consecutive annual cohorts up to 30 postgraduate students, i.e., up to 120 students will be trained over the duration of the award. Successful Centres for Research Training will be required to leverage a minimum of one additional student for every four funded by SFI. Please refer to the call document for more information on the scale of the Centres for Research Training and funding available.

Key Dates

  • Call Launch: 31 May 2018
  • Call Webinar: 6 June 2018, 14:00 Dublin, Ireland local time
  • Deadline for submission of EoIs: 26 June 2018, 13:00 Dublin, Ireland local time
  • Deadline for submission of full proposals: 5 September 2018, 13:00 Dublin, Ireland local time
  • Interviews of applicant groups: November 2018
  • Awards commence: March/April 2019
  • First intake of students: Academic Year 2019/20

How to apply

Applicant groups intending to submit a full proposal application to the call must prepare an Expression of Interest using below. This must be submitted to crt@sfi.ie by the Research Office of the Host Research Body of the Lead Applicant no later than 26 June 2018, 13:00 Dublin, Ireland local time. Submission of this Expression of Interest is mandatory and full proposals will not be accepted from applicant groups for whom this information has not been received.

Full proposals are to be submitted via SESAME, SFI’s online grants and awards management system. SESAME will be accessible online for this call starting from 8 June 2018.


Full details on the proposal and submission requirements may be found in the proposal call. Please read the documentation carefully in advance of queries and submission.

SFI reserves the right to make amendments to these documents if required. 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 documentation.


CRT 2018 Webinar: SFI hosted a webinar on Wednesday 6th June from 14.00 - 15.00 which outlined the details of the CRT programme (the slides from the presentation are available at this link).

Further Information

A flyer on the SFI Centres for Research Training Programme is available for download here.

For further information on the SFI Centres for Research Training, please contact crt@sfi.ie