Thursday 6 May 2021

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (Friday) announced €23 million in funding for a programme for post-doctoral researchers to become research leaders

The investment, which is a joint initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC), will see some 40 early career researchers, across all disciplines, supported to develop cutting-edge projects through awards of up to €550,000 over a four-year period.

The focus will be promoting women researchers in academia, in support of  equality, diversity and inclusion across the higher education sector. 

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte welcomed the news: 

Every stone I turn over these days, I am met with stories of inequality, exclusion, lack of diversity and injustice.  Be it in education, health, business or further afield.

I am delighted with this announcement, lots more to do.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Harris said:

I’m delighted to announce this new initiative to help early-career researchers to lead a research project and develop the essential skills and experience necessary to become research leaders of the future.

This investment will focus on addressing gender imbalance in academia and we really want to encourage applications from women researchers.

The new joint programme between SFI and IRC and will help ensure greater cohesion across our research performing institutions.

The funding was provided as part of Budget 2021.

Minister Harris added:

As we seek to rebuild after COVID-19, the work of researchers and scientists will be key to helping the economy recover.

We have begun to address the shortfall in funding for research but we have much more to do.

Earlier this year, Minister Harris announced the Irish Research Council was to receive additional funding of €3.2 million per annum to support close to 1,300 early-career researchers.

The additional investment saw the IRC post-graduate stipend increased from €16,000 to €18,500 per annum and funding for its post-doctoral researchers also increased.

I’m pleased to see this new joint programme between SFI and IRC contributing to my department’s objective of fostering enhanced collaboration across our research ecosystem.

This builds on previous investment into the sector including the additional funding for PhD IRC Stipends.