The Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Call aims to support and develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and public engagement sector in Ireland by:

  • investing in, developing and extending activity and ability in this area, and
  • exploring and encouraging novel means of engaging the public 

The purpose of the Call is to support projects that encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to be informed, inspired and involved in STEM.

Applications must clearly outline how the project will address Science Foundation Ireland’s goal to have an engaged and scientifically informed public in Ireland.  An engaged public feels confident to:

  • Understand the role of STEM in our lives
  • Can judge between competing STEM arguments / engage in informed debate on STEM issues
  • Encourage young people to study and work in STEM
  • Feels engaged with STEM research

Projects should address this by showing how they:

  • Promote and support STEM education
  • Promote STEM career pathways
  • Increase the general public’s engagement with STEM and its importance in society

In exceptional circumstances the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Opportunistic Funding Mechanism can be used to fund compelling education, outreach or public engagement opportunities, on a flexible basis, that are not otherwise served by other national funding programmes including the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme Calls. The applicant must provide rationale for the project to be reviewed outside of the SFI Discover Annual Call.  This rationale must include the following information:

  1. Why a decision on funding is required outside the timing of the SFI Discover Programme annual calls.
  2. How the project aligns with the SFI Discover Call objectives?
  3. How the project has the potential for significant and compelling impact

Applications will only be considered if these exceptional circumstances are strongly justified.

Applications under the Opportunistic Mechanism may be considered for one-year project funding or one or two-year Regional or National Initiative Funding. Applications will adhere to the eligible costs and funding thresholds, outline in the most recently published SFI Discover Programme Annual Call Guidelines.

Broadcast projects may be considered under the Opportunistic Mechanism; however, applicants must include with the Expression of Interest a letter of support from an Irish broadcaster detailing a statement of intent to schedule the programme.

The Opportunistic Funding Mechanism consists of a two-stage process as follows:

  • This initial expression of interest form, should be completed addressing the nature of the project and the co-funding available; the strategic objectives and benefit of the project and the potential impact of the project.  In addition to this the Project Lead will be required to submit a CV with details of a track record in the project area. 
  • The expression of interest will be reviewed by the Science Foundation Ireland Education & Public Engagement Team who may request a meeting with applicant(s) to discuss the proposal further.  Applications that clearly demonstrate the strategic importance and impact of their proposal will be invited to submit a full proposal on the Discover Programme Opportunistic Funding Application Form.  Full proposals will be evaluated using an appropriate mechanism such as international peer review (depending on the level of funding sought).

Eligibility criteria

The Call is open to a wide range of people and organisations, including mediators and practitioners of science communication; STEM festival organisers; science centres, museums and other cultural attractions; artists; educators; professionals and academics in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM); arts agencies; production companies; schools; local authorities (libraries, city/county councils etc.); universities and colleges; youth clubs; community groups; and research institutes. 

Partnership projects (between different people and organisations, e.g. scientists and ethicists, educators and artists) are welcomed.

Proposals must be explicitly aimed at engaging audiences in the Republic of Ireland, however the subject matter can be international.  Applications are welcome from organisations not based in the Republic of Ireland; however, they must demonstrate in their application how the project will explicitly engage with their target audience in the Republic of Ireland.

Applicants are required to apply through an organisation, such as an academic institution, charitable body, not-for-profit organisation or commercial company and supply the required background and financial information requested in the application form.


We would advise that you contact the team to discuss your project’s eligibility to be reviewed through the Opportunistic Mechanism in advance of submission of an Expression of Interest.  To do this please email