In line with SFI’s 2025 Strategy – Shaping Our Future, the SFI Discover Programme Call aims to empower and inspire deep public engagement and the programme is a key part of the SFI Education and Public Engagement activity. The programme contributes to the themes of Top Talent, Tangible Benefits and A Cohesive Ecosystem. Through its core objectives, the SFI Discover Programme will contribute to growing opportunities for engaged research, to enabling projects which have strong public purpose and value and, through engagement with community partners, draw on multiple sources to improve, understand or investigate an issue of societal interest or concern. SFI Discover will drive dialogue on science and aim to contribute to improving diversity and inclusion, through its aims to broaden participation both geographically and amongst less represented voices. Underpinning all of this is SFI’s ambition to empower participation, grow talent and be a beacon of best practice in STEM education and public engagement, while always endeavouring to achieve this through the spirit of inspiration.
Building on the success of the recent national conversation on research and science, Creating Our Future, SFI encourages continued dialogue with the public on how we can shape a better Ireland through research and science.
The SFI Discover Programme will be run in collaboration with the Department of Education. SFI is open to forging new co-funding partnerships with agencies and organisations.
The SFI Discover Programme 2022 Call documents can be found below.
- SFI Discover Programme CV Template
- Previously funded STEM Education and Public Engagement Track Record and Excellence Form
- Gantt Chart
- Eligible Bodies Cover Sheet
- State Bodies Cover Sheet
- Other Organisations Cover Sheet
- Confirmation of Annual Report Status (to be used if organsiation not required to produce annual report)
- Declaration of Bona Fides
- Declaration of Solvency
A template for the annual/final reports for projects funded under the SFI Discover Programme can be found here. Please note: This template is for information purposes only and may be used for collating your data. The final report will be submitted via SESAME and questions may be amended or added.
SFI welcomes contributions from across the sciences, arts, media, education, youth and/or community work sectors. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that create opportunities for broader participation and engagement of the public with STEM. SFI is keen to push the boundaries of participation and welcomes novel approaches to engaging the public, in ways that are most suited to them.
The aim of the SFI Discover Programme is to support projects that address one or more of the following objectives, projects that:
- Inspire and create greater public awareness of the impact of STEM on society and its connection and contribution to everyday life.
- Stimulate and create debate and dialogue amongst the public, and opportunities for dialogue with STEM experts/researchers, on topics of societal importance where STEM has a key role.
- Use new ways, including through the arts and creative approaches, to understand and engage with those who would not typically engage with STEM, with particular emphasis on equal access, inclusion and diversity.
- Support and build engagement with, and participation of, a broader range of civil society and community groups through specific and appropriate targeted interaction, ideally involving co-creation and/or co-design.
- Build an awareness, curiosity and confidence in the scientific method through relevant experiences.
- Provide insights into STEM-related careers and discoveries while breaking down any barriers to entry including negative stereotypes.
- Support projects which develop capacity and skills for the delivery of STEM Education and Public Engagement (EPE) in Ireland.
This Call is open to a wide range of people and organisations. Organisations are defined in the SFI Discover Programme Call Terms and Conditions.
All projects must be represented by a Project Lead. The Project Lead is the person who is responsible for the main intellectual input, direction and ownership of, the outcomes if the application is successful. The Project Lead has primary responsibility and accountability for carrying out the programme of work within the funding limits awarded and in accordance with the SFI Discover Programme General Terms and Conditions. The Project Lead will serve as the primary point of contact for SFI on the award, during the review process and, if successful, during the course of the award.
SFI has a list of Eligible Research Bodies (which includes Higher Education Institutes) – check list of Eligible Research Bodies here.
If your organisation is included on this list, then your application must be stamped and signed off by the appropriate officer (typically the Research Office) within your organisation using the Eligible Research Body Cover Sheet available on SESAME, SFI’s online grants and awards management system.
Applications are also welcome from other bodies (i.e. any organisation not included on the above list). There are two categories of other bodies that can become eligible for the SFI Discover Programme Call 2022:
(a) State Body (e.g. city or county council)
To become eligible for the SFI Discover Call 2022, then your application must be stamped and signed off by the appropriate person (senior executive) within your organisation using the “Other Bodies - State Body” Cover Sheet available on SESAME. A senior executive within the organisation is required to sign the cover sheet to indicate the organisation’s support for the application.
(b) Other Body (i.e. not an Eligible Research Body or a State Body)
To become eligible for the Discover Call 2022, applicants in this category are required to complete the “Other Body – Cover Sheet” available on SESAME and must demonstrate financial sustainability. They are required to:
- Complete the “Other Body - Cover Sheet” available on SESAME, providing details of the organisation’s status, registration number, auditors, solicitors and bankers
- Provide details of the organisation structure detailing positions and names of post holders
- Provide a copy of the most recent annual report (if appropriate, i.e. if your organisation is required to publish an annual report), i.e., if your organisation is required to publish an annual report). If your organisation is not required to publish an annual report, please download, and upload the signed confirmation on SESAME.
- Provide a signed copy of the most recent Audited full Financial Statements (if applicable)
- Complete the Declaration of Solvency Letter, available on SESAME
Please Note: Failure to provide the required eligibility documentation outlined above, and as relevant for your organisation, will result in your application being deemed ineligible and will not be sent for review.
If you have any doubt about your organisation’s status, please email email@example.com for clarification. This must be done in good time before the closing date (minimum seven days) to ensure that your application is completed and submitted before the deadline, as no exceptions can be made in relation to the submission date for this, or any other, reason.
Additional Eligibility Considerations
Proposals must be explicitly aimed at engaging audiences and participant groups 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.
Applications will only be accepted from an organisation meeting the eligibility criteria outlined above. Typically, these include academic institutions, charitable bodies, not-for-profit organisations or commercial companies.
Under State aid rules (General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) SFI cannot provide funding for undertakings in difficulty. Organisations will be required to confidentially provide additional financial information/declarations to SFI. These documents will be used by SFI to determine eligibility of the company to receive State aid.
If work begins before the applicant has submitted a written application to SFI the initiative/project will be ineligible for State aid.
Applicants may submit more than one grant application under the call to SFI at any one time, provided the proposals are clearly differentiated. A statement of time commitment may be required to ensure adequate resourcing is possible.
Applications will not be accepted from individuals and/or sole traders.
Regional or County Science Week Festivals are not eligible to apply for funding under this call. A separate Science Week Call is published by SFI on an annual basis. To receive regular updates on SFI’s activities, including the Science Week Call please sign up to SFI e-alerts https://www.sfi.ie/subscribe/
Applications must be submitted via SESAME, Science Foundation Ireland’s Grants Award System.
Access to SESAME for this application process will be available by 27th April 2022.
Log-in details are required to access SESAME.
- If you are already registered on SESAME you can log in using the same email address; if you have forgotten your password, you can use the Forgot Password functionality to re-set it.
- If you are from an Eligible Research Body but not registered on SESAME, you should contact the Research Office in your institution to be registered
- If you have not previously been registered with SESAME, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
✔Project Lead Name
✔Registered Company Name
✔Legal Status: (e.g. company limited by guarantee, limited company, charity etc.)
A SESAME profile will be created for you and log-in details will be emailed to the email address provided.
Science Foundation Ireland’s grants and awards management system, SESAME, is accessed using the Internet; no additional software needs to be installed. You can access SESAME online from any location. The configuration of some browsers and internet infrastructure (pop-up blockers, firewalls, etc.) can restrict an individual’s access to the internet and as a result to the SESAME system. If you are having any such difficulties, please contact your organisation’s IT support team.
Draft applications may be amended as many times as required but once submitted no further changes can be made.
Once submitted, applications cannot be withdrawn and subsequently modified for re-submission in the same Call.
Early submission in SESAME is strongly recommended. Applicants who wait until shortly before the close of the call take serious risk of encountering submission issues. The submit button will cease to be active at the indicated deadline.
Top Tips for Preparing your Application
- Read the Call Document and main body of the application form in full before you start to answer any questions - this will ensure that you are fully aware of what you are being asked to do and will help you to avoid duplication in your answers .
- Remember that the word count is a limit not a goal – not all projects are the same and therefore we encourage you to address each question as succinctly and relevantly as possible for your project.
- Keep in mind that the reviewers who read your proposal are experts, but you should make sure that your proposal is clear and can be valued by someone who is not as familiar with the proposal as you are.
- As Science Foundation Ireland only includes international reviewers in this process, ensure that you clearly introduce any acronyms included in your proposal, and upload a glossary to SESAME.
- Be ambitious but also realistic. Promises that cannot be fulfilled within the time, budget or the chosen approach affect the credibility of the application.
- Make sure you have clearly identified the need for this project/initiative and are aware of similar projects/initiatives that have been funded in the past. Reference how you will build on best practice.