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 diverse public in Ireland.  An engaged public feels confident to:

  • Understand the role of STEM in our lives
  • Judge between competing STEM arguments / engage in informed debate on STEM issues
  • Encourage young people to enjoy and use STEM for leisure and to study and work in STEM
  • Feel engaged with STEM research.

SFI Discover Programme objective is to support projects that address one or more of the following:

  • Increase the general public’s engagement with STEM and its importance in society.
  • Reach participants not normally engaged with STEM, particularly those who are not “scientifically converted” as well as continuing to target existing audiences.
  • Stimulate interest, excitement, dialogue and debate about STEM through accessible and entertaining interactions to engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Apply STEM engagement and awareness in innovative ways for the benefit of the public e.g. within youth and community work to support youth and community work outcomes.
  • Inspire curiosity, and confidence in the scientific method.
  • Inspire, inform, encourage and support young people to explore STEM-related careers
  • Support projects which develop capacity for the delivery of STEM Education and Public Engagement (EPE) in Ireland

Key Dates

Date of Publication: Friday 12th April 2019

Closing Date for Receipt of Applications: Friday 7th June 2019 at 13.00 hours (Irish time)


A webinar to support the SFI Discover Programme Call took place on the 17th April.

A recording of the webinar call can be found here.

Questions and answers arising from the webinar can be found here.

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

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

Science Foundation Ireland has a list of Eligible Research Bodies (which includes universities, institutes of technology etc.) – check list of Eligible Research Bodies here.

If your organisation is included on this list, then your application must be signed off by the appropriate officer (typically the Research Office) within your organisation using the Eligible Research Body Cover Sheet available on SESAME.

Application are also welcomed from Non-Eligible Bodies (i.e. any organisation not included on the above list).

There are two categories of Non-Eligible Bodies

(a) Non-Eligible Bodies – State Body (e.g. city or county council) are required to complete, sign, stamp and upload the Non-Eligible Body State Cover Sheet available on SESAME.  A senior executive within the organisation is required to sign the cover sheet indicating the organisation’s support for the application.

(b) Non-Eligible Bodies – Other Organisation (i.e. not an Eligible Research Body or a State Body) are required to:

✔Complete the Non-Eligible Body – Other Organisation 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)
✔Provide a signed copy of the most recent Audited Financial Statements (if applicable)

If you have any doubt about your organisation’s status, please email for clarification.This must be done in good time before the closing date (minimum three 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.

Applications are welcome from any organisation with experience in engaging the groups targeted e.g. youth and community work organisations

Applications will not be accepted from individuals and/or sole traders.

No employee or board member of Science Foundation Ireland may apply.

Film, animation or broadcast projects are eligible to apply for funding under this Call.  These projects should clearly indicate the STEM collaborators or experts contributing to the development of the project and outline the role these collaborators will play.  Proposals should also clearly identify how they will be scheduled (shown to the audience) in the proposal, including support from a broadcaster or distribution partner. 

Full information on eligibility can be found in the SFI Discover Call document (Section 3).

Applications must be submitted via SESAME, Science Foundation Ireland’s Grants Award System.  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 have not previously been registered with SESAME, please email the following information to

✔Project Lead Name
✔Email address
✔Registered Company Name
✔Legal Status: (e.g. company limited by guarantee, limited company, charity etc.)
✔Trading Name
✔VAT Number

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.


A User Guide for completion of applications under the SFI Discover Programme Call 2018 on SESAME can be found here.

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.




Any queries in relation to this call should be emailed to