Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Programme. PIRE is an NSF-wide programme that supports international activities across all NSF-supported disciplines. The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. PIRE seeks to catalyse a higher level of international engagement in the U.S. science and engineering community and SFI strongly supports the involvement of researchers from the Republic of Ireland in such international consortia.  The SFI component of the proposed research should align with SFI remit. .


The Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Programme is a two-stage process with a preliminary proposal application followed by a full proposal application, if invited. The deadlines are as follows:

Preliminary Proposal Deadline Date: September 14, 2016
Full Proposal Deadline Date: April 24, 2017

Pre-proposal applications will be submitted by the Research Body of the lead applicant in the US via the NSF FastLane system. Full proposal applications, if invited, will be submitted by the Research Body of the lead applicant in the US via the NSF FastLane system or via the

Further details along with the solicitation can be found at the NSF PIRE webpage. For further queries refer to the NSP PIRE FAQs.

NSF PIRE Webinar

View slides from the PIRE webinar hosted by the NSF on July 7, 2016 and the recording of the webinar.

SFI partnering with NSF

Science Foundation Ireland is partnering with NSF according to Model 1- Joint Review (Preliminary and Full Proposals). In this model, agencies will work closely with NSF from the beginning of the PIRE process and will be sharing information during the preliminary proposal stage, the full proposal stage, the award stage, and the post award stage of the process. Information on PIRE proposals and awards (that involve partnerships with institutions served by that counterpart) will be shared with NSF counterpart agencies throughout the PIRE evaluation and award process. Representatives of each agency partnering according to Model 1, may recommend reviewers and panelists for the preliminary and full proposal stages, and may be present during panels when preliminary and full proposals involving researchers served by their agency are being discussed.  

SFI will not run its own separate competition but do require applicants to contact SFI if planning a submission to the PIRE programme. It is important that RoI applicants ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for RoI applicants to PIRE as if they are not eligible, they jeopardise the collaborative submission to the PIRE programme.  RoI applicants planning a submission under the PIRE programme must email cc’ing their Research Office to register their intent and to ensure eligibility to apply to the NSF PIRE programme.


The maximum allowable budget for eligible Republic of Ireland applicants is €350,000 direct costs for a duration of up to 5 years. Relevant research expenses, including personnel, equipment, consumables and travel. RoI applicants should refer to the SFI Grant Application Budget Policy for details.

Eligibility criteria

The following are the eligibility criteria for Republic of Ireland applicants and co-applicants to the NSF PIRE programme:

Applicant/co-applicant contract status

The lead applicant (and co-applicant/s) must be:

1. A member of the academic staff of an eligible Research Body (permanent or with a contract that covers the period of the award), or

2. A contract researcher with a contract that covers the period of the award, who is recognised by the Research Body as an independent investigator and will have an independent office and research space at the host Research Body for which s/he will be fully responsible for at least the duration of the PIRE award

3. An individual who will be recognised by the Research Body upon receipt of the PIRE award as a member of the academic staff or as a contract researcher as defined above. The applicant does not necessarily need to be employed by the Research Body at the time of proposal submission.

Research Body submission confirms that the lead applicant (and co-applicant/s) meet these criteria and is either a member of the academic staff, a contract researcher, or awaiting appointment as defined above. A co-applicant may be located at a different eligible Irish research institution than the lead applicant. In this case, the grant will be administered through the Research institution of the lead applicant only. A co-applicant, where applicable, must comply with the same eligibility and evaluation criteria as the lead applicant.

Applicant/co-applicant Track Record

The applicant must hold, or have held an SFI award as either lead Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI.

Research awards include SFI IvP, SFI PI, SFI RFP, SFI SRC, SFI CSET, SFI Research Professor, SFI PIYRA, SFI SIRG, SFI CDA, SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders award, SFI Charles Parsons, SFI Mathematics Initiative, US-Ireland R&D Partnership award, SFI Research Centre. Grants such as personal fellowships or travel grants are not included.  If you are unsure as to whether your SFI award is considered eligible, please contact SFI in advance of your submission.

If the applicant/co-applicant is not an SFI awardee, s/he is expected to have demonstrated research independence through securing at least one independent research grant as lead investigator or as co‐investigator. The grant must have been competitively awarded and internationally peer reviewed. Eligible research grants would be expected to support at least one full‐time equivalent, excluding the applicant(s), and include research team costs (e.g., materials and consumables). This EXCLUDES smaller awards such as travel grants, equipment grants, post‐graduate fellowships, postdoctoral fellowships, and awards of short duration (12 months or less). Laboratory fit‐out / setup funding, awards from the applicant’s institution, and awards that have not been subject to external international peer review are also excluded.

The Applicant and any Co-Applicant(s) must have held a PhD or equivalent qualification for at least five years by the proposal deadline

Applicants holding an equivalent qualification may be eligible, but should nevertheless seek approval from SFI in advance of submitting a proposal. See details in the PhD equivalence policy. The official date of a PhD is defined as the year that the degree was conferred (i.e. the year printed on the official PhD certificate). The number of years is determined by calendar year. Therefore, only individuals with an official date of 2011 or earlier are eligible to apply in 2016 for example.