The SFI Investigators Programme will not launch in Q4 2018. SFI is planning to launch an Investigator-type call in early 2019. This is subject to SFI Board approval in December 2018.

On this page you will find information on the closed Investigators Programme 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.

Science Foundation Ireland in collaboration with TeagascGeological Survey Ireland (GSI), the Marine Institute(MI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is pleased to launch the SFI Investigators Programme 2016 call.                                                                                                                                                                                             

The SFI Investigators Programme supports the development of world-class research capability and human capital in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that demonstrably support and underpin enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland. To this end, the Investigators Programme funds outstanding people with innovative ideas and strategic partnerships, recognising that excellence remains a paramount criterion. For this Programme, scientific excellence is both necessary and paramount but is not sufficient in isolation; applications must also be able to clearly articulate the potential for economic and societal impact.

Programme objectives

  • To support excellent scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact aligned to Innovation 2020 enterprise themes
  • To build capacity, expertise and relationships 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
  • To support relevant collaborations and partnerships between academia and industry
  • To maintain Ireland’s top-20 position in international bibliometric rankings through an increase in the number and quality of journal publications
  • To allow Ireland-based researchers to win top-tier international prizes (e.g., the Nobel Prize, the European Science Prize, the Lasker Award, etc.)
  • To facilitate partnerships with other agencies
  • To support researchers returning to active academic research after a prolonged absence through the Investigator Career Advancement (ICA) component of the call


To be eligible for funding through the IvP 2016 call, all proposals must be aligned to SFI’s legal remit and must also either be aligned to one of the 14 priority research areas (see below) or to any other research area where there is convincing evidence that there will be significant potential for economic and/or societal impact in Ireland.

IvP 2016 research areas

  • Future Networks and Communications
  • Data Analytics, Management, Security and Privacy
  • Digital Platforms, Content and Applications
  • Connected Health and Independent Living
  • Medical Devices
  • Diagnostics
  • Therapeutics – Synthesis, Formulation, Processing and Drug Delivery
  • Food for Health
  • Sustainable Food Production and Processing
  • Marine Renewable Energy
  • Smart Grids and Smart Cities
  • Manufacturing Competitiveness
  • Processing Technologies and Novel Materials
  • Innovation in Services and Business Processes
  • Other Research Areas with Significant Potential for Economic and/or Societal Impact

Support for alternative approaches to the use of animals in research

As part of the SFI Investigators Programme 2016 call, SFI is providing applicants with the opportunity to seek funding to support the development and validation of new tests, models and approaches not involving the use of live animals and/or addressing the principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement). It is envisaged that this development and validation work related to the 3Rs would complement the hypothesis-driven research programme and would run alongside the main research activities. 

Please refer to the Programme Call Document for full details

Key dates

Lead Applicants on Investigators Programme proposals must submit the requested preliminary information to SFI through their host institution Research Office before the deadline of Friday 30th September 2016 at 13:00 Dublin Local Time. The form that Lead Applicants need to provide to their Research Offices is available here.

Only Lead Applicants that have submitted the requested preliminary information through their host institution Research Office will be permitted to submit a proposal to the call.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday 9th December 2016 at 13:00 Dublin Local Time.

Review process

View an outline of the Investigators Programme review process.


Duration: 4 or 5 years

Award size: €400k-€2M in direct costs

Investigators Programme Success Rates

Investigators Programme 2013 – 19%

Investigators Programme 2014 – 17%

Investigators Programme 2015 – 17%


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 document.


Science Foundation Ireland held a webinar on Thursday 11th August to outline the details of the SFI Investigators Programme 2016. View the webinar.

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 an Investigators Programme 2016 proposal.

SFI-Teagasc Partnership Information Event

The SFI-Teagasc Partnership component of the Investigators Progamme 2016 call aims to strengthen and accelerate research and innovation in the agri-food sector through the funding of joint grants between scientists from the agriculture and food disciplines and scientists from other scientific and engineering disciplines.  Projects awarded under this partnership will be jointly funded by SFI and Teagasc.

Teagasc recently hosted a networking and information session in Moorepark for scientists who wish to apply to the Investigators Programme, particularly the SFI-Teagasc component of the call. The slides from this event are available here.


Location: Paddy O'Keeffe Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, P61 C996

Date/Time: Wednesday, 14 September 2016 from 14:00 to 17:00

Target Audience: Any researcher who plans to submit an application to the SFI Investigators Programme 2016. Representatives of Research Offices.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the Investigators 2016 call
  • Meet SFI staff and ask specific questions about the call
  • Find an agri-food Applicant/Co-Applicant with whom you can submit a joint proposal

How to register: Complete the short online booking form ( If you wish to meet with a specific Teagasc researcher or for Teagasc to link you with an appropriate researcher, include details and Teagasc will endeavour to facilitate this.

How to apply

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. View SESAME User Guides or read the SESAME FAQs.

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.

Further information

The SFI Grant Applicants Budget Policy will be updated in July 2016. As outlined in the call document, researchers applying to the Investigators Programme 2016 call should refer to the July 2016 version of the policy. Queries on the SESAME management system should first be directed to your Institute’s Research Office. If still unresolved, queries should be submitted to SESAME. Please be aware that response time for queries may be up to 5 working days.

For Programme related queries please contact