Gender Strategy

SFI is committed to removing and mitigating any existing or perceived factors that may limit the participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, and to redressing the gender imbalance amongst SFI award holders, of which 26% are female (Source: SFI Census 2018).  One of SFI’s Agenda 2020 KPI targets is to increase the proportion of female award holders to 30% by 2020. The aim in attaining this target is to facilitate the retention of excellent female researchers within academia, thereby increasing excellence in research and impact by continuing to fund meritorious researchers regardless of their gender, while widening the pool of potential applicants.

To this end, SFI is focussing on streamlining gender initiatives across all its programmes as outlined in the SFI Gender Strategy 2016-2020.

Consideration of Sex / Gender dimension in Research

Research generates new knowledge and develops technologies leading to new products and services. Each year, the Irish Government spends a significant amount of public funds on scientific research. It is crucial that this knowledge benefits all individuals in society, regardless of gender. Both in the European Research Area and Horizon 2020 it has been pointed out that gender perspectives are not a sufficiently integral part of research and innovation (R&I). This applies in Ireland as well. By increasing the relevance of basic and applied research endeavours to all genders, the integration of gender perspectives in the research programmes will improve both the scientific quality and impact of the outputs and outcomes of Science Foundation Ireland funded research. 

SFI Maternity Policy

SFI is committed to removing and mitigating any existing or perceived factors that may limit the participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. In particular, SFI is committed to supporting the retention of women in science, to encourage women back into STEM careers following maternity or adoptive leave, and to position SFI schemes so that they do not unintentionally discourage the hiring of female researchers. The SFI Maternity/Adoptive Policy aims to help in addressing the gender imbalance among SFI award holders and SFI-funded team members, as highlighted in SFI census data.

The lack of support during critical times such as those surrounding childbirth or adoption is often reported as one of the factors underpinning the well-recognised dropout rate of women from STEM careers.

As of 15th November 2014, SFI invites its award holders to apply for a supplemental discretionary allowance to support their SFI funded award when either a Principal Investigator (PI) or a team member funded on an SFI award takes a period of maternity or adoptive leave. From October 2019, postgraduate students funded by SFI awards are eligible to apply for SFI Maternity/Adoptive Allowance.

Please refer to the SFI Maternity/Adoptive Policy before completing the request for an SFI Maternity/Adoptive Allowance form, so that you fully understand your entitlements.