This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the Republic of Ireland who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. Further details can be found by clicking the button below.

The Royal Society University Research Fellowship

The scheme provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities or research bodies at the end of their fellowships.

Successful candidates will be awarded a fellowship by the Royal Society, the cost of which will be met by Science Foundation Ireland. Funding will be provided for successful candidates for 8 years, with the final 3 years of funding subject to a mid-point assessment. Fellowships are awarded in all fields of the natural sciences which includes but is not limited to biological research, biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics.

Information Webinar

A webinar outlining the Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship 2024 call and its application process will be held on Wednesday 17th July 2024 at 12:30 pm. Please see link below:

Password: thjlrs

ID: 83877784605

Eligibility requirements

The applicant must:

  • Have a PhD, applicants who have just submitted their PhD will not be considered.
  • Be at an early stage of their research career with between three to eight years of actual research experience since their PhD (i.e. date on which the degree was approved by the board of graduate studies) by the closing date of the round. Career breaks will be taken into consideration (see below for more details).
  • Not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit organisation.
  • Not hold or previously have held a nationally competitive fellowship that provides an opportunity to establish an independent research group and therefore independent researcher status (see Scheme Notes for more details)

The Scheme is open to candidates of all nationalities. There is no longer a requirement for applicants to be a citizen of or have a relevant connection to the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

The Society will consider time spent outside the research environment when assessing eligibility. Additionally, where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), or extended sick leave, the Society will allow an additional six months for each period of leave when assessing eligibility.

Applicants should ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.


The Society’s fellowships are highly flexible and part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments can be accommodated. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave.

Value and tenure

The scheme provides a salary contribution based on the SFI Research Fellow scale (Level 3) for the first five years and Senior Research Fellow scale (Level 4) for the remaining three years, and institutional overheads, at 30% of the value of the award (less equipment). Research expenses (up to €90,000 per annum) will also be provided.

Funding is provided for eight years, but confirmation of funding for years six to eight will be subject to satisfactory mid-term review at the start of year four. The University Research Fellowship provides researchers with maximum flexibility and can be held part-time, and allows sabbaticals, secondments, or international experience.

The basic salary requested will be at a level commensurate with the applicant’s skills, responsibilities and experience. The maximum contribution to the URF salary is based on the SFI Grants Team Member budgeting scale. For the first five years of the project the URF salary should be starting at Point 1 of the Research Fellow scale (Level 3) with annual increments. Following successful mid-term review, URFs will be funded at Senior Research Fellow scale (Level 4) for the remaining three years of award, starting at Point 1 (Level 4) with annual increments. Please see the SFI Grant Budget Policy for full details.

Application process

If you have a question about this scheme, please first read the scheme notes which contain more detailed information. If the answer is still not available, you can contact the Royal Society University Research Fellowship team at

SFI advise prospective applicants to use individual and departmental contacts to liaise with current and former URF holders for insights into the application process.

List of current and former URF holders

Deadline: 3:00 PM on 10th September 2024

Please note that this is also the deadline for submission of Nominated References and the Head of Department Statements