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SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), Science Foundation Ireland

The SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) Programme provides an opportunity for excellent early-career-stage investigators to carry out independent research in the fields of science and engineering that underpin biotechnology, information and communications technology, and sustainable energy and energy-efficient technologies. The award also provides funding for a postgraduate student, who will be primarily supervised by the Starting Investigator (SI). The SI will work with an associated mentor, who will provide the necessary support and infrastructure for the project to take place. SIRG awards are of €400,000 direct costs for a period of four years; 18 awards are expected to be funded through this Call, which is partly funded through the Marie Curie COFUND Programme. Transnational mobility is a new objective of the SIRG programme. Consequently, a significant number of awards in this Call will be offered to “transnational applicants”.

Objectives of the SIRG Programme

  • To enable those at an early career stage to establish themselves as independent researchers;
  • To provide the support and infrastructure to carry out novel research in areas that underpin biotechnology, information and communications technology, and sustainable energy and energy-efficient technologies;
  • To gain important experience towards a full-time academic position, including the supervision of the postgraduate student supported by the award;
  • To enable the award holder, together with his/her postgraduate student, to carry out their work in Ireland’s public research bodies, including Universities and Institutes of Technology;
  • To offer funding opportunities that help third-level institutions attract and develop researchers and their careers;
  • To allow early-career investigators of all nationalities to enhance their experience in Irish HEIs;
  • To allow early-career investigators who have been employed outside of Ireland to return to work in an Irish HEI.

Eligibility criteria of the Applicant
The SI applicant must:

  • Have at least three years, but not more than eight years of relevant research experience beyond the PhD, MD, or equivalent (an equivalent qualification and/or demonstrated research accomplishments may be accepted in exceptional circumstances and must be approved in advance by SFI). Allowances will be made for documented leave, including maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, military service, sick/disability leave, and carer’s leave.
  • The applicant must demonstrate a proven record of internationally recognised independent research accomplishments. The applicant must be senior author (first, last or corresponding) on at least 3 articles in international peer-reviewed publications AND be a named author on an average of at least 1 international peer-reviewed publication per year since the award of the PhD (or equivalent).
  • The applicant must not hold or have held a significant, independent research award of greater than one-year duration. In addition, this previous award must not have had a total value in excess of €100,000 (or equivalent) direct costs. Personal awards, including student and postdoctoral fellowships, travel awards, and bursaries of greater than one-year duration are permissible.
  • The applicant must not hold a faculty position at the time of application or at the start of the award.
  • The SI must have an identified mentor, who has agreed to allow the SI and postgraduate student to carry out research within their laboratory space for the duration of the award.
  • The Research Body must confirm that the SI applicant meets the above criteria and must also provide assurance that the space and infrastructure to carry out the proposed research are available for the duration of the award.

Definition of National and Transnational Applicants
A ‘transnational applicant’ will be a researcher of any nationality (including Irish) who has not resided in Ireland for more than a total of 12 months in the three years prior to the call deadline.

All other eligible candidates, regardless of their nationality, will be considered as ‘national applicants’.

Research Bodies will be required to submit a list of approved applicants to SFI, which will be made up of approximately two-thirds transnational applicants and one-third national applicants; for full details please refer to the call document.

Key dates
Call open for institutional submission of proposals 3 May 2011
Institutional submission of approved applicants list 17 August 2011, 13:00
Deadline for submission of two-part proposal 31 August 2011, 13:00

How to apply
As detailed in the SFI SIRG Programme call, potential applicants must first contact the Research Office of the intended host institution, who will coordinate a process to obtain a list of approved applicants. Proposals will only be accepted as a single submission in the form of a two-part proposal (two separate PDF documents). Applicants should follow the instructions detailed in the Call document to complete the various sections of the application.

For more information, please visit official website: www.sfi.ie

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