Do you have an idea for a solution that could improve government processes and functions?

The OurTech Challenge gives researchers the opportunity to explore how digital technologies could enhance government processes and functions, create new value for the public through people-centric digital-first public services, and introduce new ways to strengthen the connections between people, their communities and with government. Following review of applications, successful teams will receive funding of up to €200,000 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 €1 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 through their research. In addition to funding, teams are provided 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 open up 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.

Our Tech Challenge comprises four phases: Concept, Seed, Grow and Prize Award. Participation in the challenge will involve teams progressing through the phases, each supporting further development of the challenge concept and solution, to compete for an overall prize award of €1 million.


No. Teams

Duration (Months)

Funding (€)













Prize Award




Keys Date 
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 OurTech Challenge focuses on supporting research teams to address the challenge of enhancing the connections between government, communities, and people. The challenge provides researchers with the opportunity to create new value for the public through people-centric digital-first public services and enable new ways to strengthen the connections between people, their communities and with government (both local and national).

OurTech refers to co-created technology-based innovations that empower citizens and communities to connect and engage with local and national government to address societal challenges.

The OurTech Challenge will support several national strategies (e.g., Making Innovation Real, Civil Service Renewal 2030 Strategy, Our Public Service 2020, AI - Here for Good, Connecting Government 2030 and Harnessing Digital – The Digital Ireland Framework) relating to digital transformation in, for example, the public service, and more broadly around the application of AI for societal good. It is envisaged that the challenge will, by demonstration of impact potential, inform national strategies and policies on how our society can be more resilient.

Applications are encouraged to focus on the challenge of strengthening the connections between people, communities, and government based on principles of trust, privacy, and security. Under this challenge, areas of interest and illustrative examples of high-level research questions include:

  • Knowledge, learning and skills - How can access to scientific knowledge and data be made more accessible and equitable? How can remote learning opportunities be made more accessible and impactful? 
  • Trust, privacy and security – How can digital technologies build trust between people? Can the effects of misinformation be prevented? How can digital technologies ensure privacy while allowing more data to be shared? How can cyber-physical systems be made more robust and secure?
  • Health systems and health care – How can digital technologies enhance the efficiency of delivery and effectiveness of health care? How can digital technologies allow for more holistic approaches to managing physical and mental wellbeing?  
  • Data-driven public policy – How can digital technologies be used to develop and promote inclusive, sustainable and ambitious national policies? Can digital technologies use data to assist in the design of more efficient and cohesive public policy?
  • Government processes and public services – How can digital technologies transform the delivery of government processes and services? How can public services be co-created with and realise new value for citizens?
  • Civic engagement and social connections – How can we strengthen engagement between citizens, communities and governments for societal good? How can digital technologies be used to increase the quality of social connections between people and communities?

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.