The CDA call will not launch in Q4 2018. SFI is planning to launch an Investigator-type call in early 2019, which will be open to CDA eligible candidates. This is subject to SFI Board approval in December 2018.

On this page you will find information on the closed CDA 2016 call.

The launch date and call details are subject to change, e.g. in response to alterations in Science Foundation Ireland’s annual grants budget, staffing resources, other new schemes Science Foundation Ireland may develop and government policy / priorities.

Please subscribe to our email alerts to receive information on call launches and other Science Foundation Ireland related information.

SFI is committed to supporting and developing early- and mid-career researchers to become excellent, fully independent research leaders and offers a suite of funding opportunities to help facilitate this transition, including support for those who are transitioning to independence, transitioning to leadership as well supporting more established research leaders.

The SFI Career Development Award (CDA) Programme supports excellent investigators still in the earlier stages of their research career who are already in an independent (either permanent or fixed-term) academic position. The award has a four-year duration and is intended to provide award holders with the opportunity to extend their research activities by allowing research teams to be built or expanded, and to assist in the procurement of required items of equipment and consumable materials to carry out the planned activities.

Research carried out through CDA funding must be aligned to SFI’s legal remit.

Programme objectives

  • To support excellent scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact
  • To enable those at an earlier career stage who already hold permanent academic positions to advance their careers and build up their research teams and activities
  • To allow researchers in temporary positions to advance their careers and provide them with enhanced opportunities to move into a permanent academic position
  • To maintain Ireland’s top 20 position in international bibliometric rankings through an increase in the number and quality of journal publications
  • To offer funding opportunities that enable the attraction and retention of researchers of all nationalities to work in an Irish Research Body
  • To build capacity and expertise that will allow researchers based in Ireland to lead consortia and to win further support through various non-Exchequer funding schemes, such as Horizon 2020


Duration: Four years

Award Size: Between €300,000 and €500,000 direct costs

Salary: Requests for contributions to the applicant’s salary are not permissible in applications to the CDA programme. Requests for salary contributions for team members must be in accordance with the SFI Grant Budget Policy.

Applicant eligibility

The Applicant will be a researcher with between 3-15 years’ experience beyond the award of their PhD or equivalent qualification , who at the time of application will be either in a permanent, full-time academic position (either within the institution at which they wish to base their CDA-funded research or another elsewhere in Ireland or overseas), or employed on a temporary (fixed-term) contract. 

The applicant, who must not work under the guidance of a supervisor, will have already demonstrated research independence for example by securing a faculty position, by having several publications without the participation of their PhD supervisor, as well as having a track record with senior author publications, potentially having secured research funding and accumulated supervisory experience.

For full eligibility criteria, please refer to the CDA 2016 Call document.

Key dates

Institutional notification of approved applicants: 16th December 2016, 13.00 

Deadline for submission of proposals: 22nd March 2017, 13.00        

Application procedure

Candidate nominations

To be eligible to submit a proposal to the CDA 2016 call, you must first be approved by the Research Office of the host institution in which you wish to carry out your CDA-funded project. Research Offices will be expected to instigate a procedure to select candidates for this call. Those wishing to apply to the CDA 2016 call should first contact their intended host institution and request information on the internal selection process.

All eligible research bodies are permitted to nominate up to a maximum of 12 applicants. Research bodies must provide SFI with their list of approved applicants by 13:00 GMT on the 16th December 2016 (see Call for Proposals for more details). The information should be sent by email to If more than 12 applicants are named in the submitted information, all applications from that institution will be deemed ineligible.


Following successful selection of candidates by the associated host Research Body, approved applicants will be required to submit a proposal to SFI. Proposals must be submitted online through SESAME to SFI by the Research Office of the applicant’s research body before the call deadline (22nd March 2017 at 13:00).

How to apply

As detailed in the CDA 2016 Programme Call for Proposals, all proposals are to be submitted via SESAME, SFI’s online grants and awards management system. If accessing SESAME for the first time, researchers should contact their local Research Office to be set up on this system.

Further information on Sesame can be located on the SESAME web page. To view SESAME User Guides please click here. Questions specific to SESAME are answered on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the SESAME system.

Queries on the SESAME management system should first be directed to your Institute’s Research Office. If still unresolved, queries should be emailed to Please be aware that response time for queries may be up to five working days. For programme-related queries please contact

Please note that SFI is expecting a very high application rate to this programme, and has limited SESAME helpdesk resources. To avoid any delays in submission, researchers should familiarise themselves with the SESAME system and online help resources provided well in advance of the SFI and institution internal call deadlines.

Review process

An outline of the CDA Programme review process can be found here.


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 the 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.

Information webinar

Science Foundation Ireland held a webinar on Tuesday 27th September to outline the details of the SFI Career Development Award 2016

View the webinar or download the webinar slides.

The SFI Impact Webinar is designed to assist applicants to SFI Programme calls in formulating their Impact Statement. Applicants are encouraged to view this webinar in advance of preparing a Career Development Award 2016 proposal.

CDA Programme success rates

  • CDA 2013 – 35%
  • CDA 2015 – 17%

Other funding opportunities

Please click here to view other Funding Opportunities for Early and Mid-Career Researchers.