Wednesday, 21st February 2024: The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris TD, together with U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, today announced parallel programmes aimed at fostering student mobility and research collaboration between the United States and Ireland. These initiatives, funded by the NSF and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) respectively, aim to facilitate the exchange of PhD students in the areas of data science and ICT. This collaboration signifies the commitment of both agencies to promoting international collaborations and fostering a global research community.

Announcing details of the programme following a recent meeting with the NSF in Washington DC, Minister Harris said: “This is a real and tangible outcome of our recent trip to the United States, where we sought to solidify and strengthen relationships between our two great countries. Student mobility partnership is a launching pad for lifelong connections, collaborations, and mutual learning. By nurturing strong ties between the scientific communities of the United States and Ireland, discoveries and advancements across various academic disciplines will undoubtedly flourish. By immersing themselves in diverse research environments, talented students will be uniquely positioned to address the complex challenges of the modern world.”

“The National Science Foundation Research Traineeship US-Ireland Student Mobility program has had a tremendous impact on students in its first year,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “The program has provided a unique opportunity for U.S. and Irish students to receive professional development training and experience cross-cultural exchange. We are delighted to renew the program for a second year in alignment with our goal of supporting a more globally engaged U.S. STEM workforce.”

Welcoming the news, Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, stated: “SFI is very pleased to be renewing its partnership with the NSF on this student mobility programme, building upon the success of last year’s cohort, which marked the start of this initiative. Feedback from participants has been extremely positive, with the programme’s facilitation of rich collaborations notably highlighted.”

The programme links PhD students from the six SFI-funded Centres for Research Training (CRT) with universities participating in the prestigious NSF Research Traineeship Program (NRT). SFI will provide the support for 20 CRT students to travel to the NRTs in the US for between 4 to 12 weeks. The NSF will support the travel of NRT students to the CRTs in Ireland. Students will travel between June to October 2024.

The programme has now opened for applications from the six CRTs and NRTs, with a deadline for submissions of 14th March. Further information on the SFI programme can found here and on the NSF opportunity here.