Do you have an idea for a solution that could help Ireland become an environmentally sustainable economy?

The Energy Innovation Challenge gives academic research teams a unique opportunity to contribute to Ireland’s transition to an environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy. Following review of applications, successful teams will receive funding of up to €250,000 and training to accelerate development of their idea. A number of teams will then be selected as finalists and receive up to €500,000 to further develop their idea before an overall winner is selected for the €2 million prize award.

The National Challenge Fund is an agile, fast-paced programme that allows research teams to work with societal stakeholders to deliver tangible impact from their research. In addition to funding, we will provide teams with training and mentoring to support acceleration of an idea and to demonstrate how it can solve real-world problems. Participation has the potential to create significant career development and collaborative opportunities.


Applications are welcome from teams of academic researchers based at eligible Irish research bodies. Teams are strongly encouraged to consider including researchers from different and diverse disciplines, at all career stages. 

Applications should be submitted by two academic researchers who will act as team lead and co-lead. It is strongly recommended that applications also identify a Societal Impact Champion to act in a non-technical leadership role. Where a Societal Impact Champion is not identified at the time of application, teams successful in their applications will be expected to have the Societal Impact Champion in place soon after their award commences

There are four phases in the Energy Innovation Challenge: Concept, Seed, Grow and Prize Award. Teams will progress through the phases, each supporting further development of the challenge concept and solution, to compete for an overall prize award of €2 million.


No. Teams

Duration (Months)

Funding (€)













Prize Award




Key Dates 
Milestone Date
Call Launch    7th November 2022
Application Deadline    10th February 2023  
Award Decision  April 2023
Concept Phase

Q2 2023

Seed Phase Q4 2023
Grow Phase Q4 2024
Prize Phase Q4 2025

The Energy Innovation Challenge seeks solutions to accelerate Ireland’s transition to a clean and secure energy system. 

Restoring and maintaining a resilient environment is a fundamental component of the Green Transition, and essential for the creation of a healthy and secure future. Environmental degradation exacerbates the effects of climate change, threatens health, increases the risk of natural disaster, accelerates biodiversity loss, and destabilises societies.  

Under this challenge, applications will be considered in areas including but not limited to: 

  • Energy storage – solutions to enable storage and ubiquitous use of energy generated from clean sources in application areas such as grid-level storage, transport and domestic use. 
  • Energy materials – solutions to advance clean energy technologies based on novel or innovative materials or through improved production and recycling technologies.
  • Energy efficiency – solutions to reduce our energy usage or to transition to cleaner energy sources, for example, through the reduction of energy usage in high-demand sectors.
  • Low-carbon fuels – solutions for the production, distribution, and usage of sustainable, low-carbon fuels, for example, biofuels, synthetic fuels or hydrogen. 
  • Energy management – solutions to address challenges across the full breadth of energy management from the generation, transmission, distribution, and usage of energy.

Solutions may be proposed in any sector but must demonstrate the potential for transformative impact in achieving Ireland’s transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally sustainable, and climate-neutral economy.   

This broad thematic call is one of a number of calls that seek solutions to support Ireland’s Green Transition. Applicants to this call are particularly encouraged to consider novel, forward-looking solutions that could contribute to meeting 2050 objectives

The National Challenge Fund was established under the Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. The fund is coordinated and administered by Science Foundation Ireland.

Applications must be submitted through SFI’s Grants Management System SESAME which will open for submissions on November 14th. If accessing SESAME for the first time, researchers should contact their local Research Office to get access to the system.

The deadline for submission of applications to this call will be 10th February 2023.

Applicants should carefully review the call documentation below including eligibility information before preparing an application. Applicants must use the templates provided below and adhere to all guidelines.