Got an idea for a SPARC project? Here’s all you need to know to make an application!

Application Process

Please note he application period for SPARC is now closed.  2018 dates will be announced closer to the beginning of 2018/19 term. 

Applications can only be made via the online application form available in the Apply section of this page. The form is now live and ready to go. To apply you must have identified a project team consisting of at least three members. Partnerships should normally consist of three or more applicants made up of a mix of students and staff members.

In early November, applications submitted will be reviewed by an independent panel of UCD staff and students and assessed against the SPARC programme criteria. These are:

1. The project demonstrates partnership

  • The project must facilitate staff student partnership.
  • All staff and student roles must be identifiable and add value.
  • There must be a credible partnership between the members - the work balance doesn't have to be equal but must be articulated.

2. The project will have a tangible impact

  • The project must have a clearly stated aim that adds value and has a defined output.
  • The application must address an authentic issue.
  • The population(s) that will be impacted upon must be clearly defined i.e. who will be affected and in what way(s) by the outputs of this project.

3. The project is realistic in terms of scope and scale

  • The project must be realistic i.e. achievable, within resources limit and timeframe.
  • It must have a realistic expected impact and a concrete definition.

4. The project time-frame is clearly set out and aligned to SPARC programme time-frame

  • The project schedule must be realistic and clearly stated.
  • Up to six key milestones must be outlined.
  • Projects may be scheduled to run for up to 9 mths but project worth is not determined by its duration, shorter projects are equally valued

5. The project must be innovative

  • The project must originate from an idea that is new/new to UCD or develops on existing work in a meaningful way

6. Due consideration must be given to project legacy.

  • The project outputs must demonstrate potential for sustainability.
  • Legacy could be articulated by describing who would take ownership following the project lifecycle.
  • Consideration could be given to whether or not specialist knowledge will be required to ensure sustainability and if so how this knowledge would be transferred.
  • In considering the project legacy the focus should remain on UCD and environs.

Successful applicants will be notified week beginning Monday 14th November. All successful applicants will be expected to participate in a project planning workshop in November/December 2017 (date TBC), to support the development of a project plan and to clarify roles and expectations of all concerned parties.

Key Dates

  • Friday 29th September 2017 - SPARC application period opens at 9am.
  • Friday 27th October 2017 -  SPARC application period closes at 6pm
  • Week beginning 6th November 2017 - SPARC project adjudication takes place
  • Week beginning Monday 14th November 2017 - Successful SPARC applicants will be notified
  • November/December 2017- Compulsory SPARC project planning workshop (date/time TBC)
  • 31st August 2018 - All SPARC projects must be complete by this date

Application Support

In your application, you will need to provide information on:

  • The aim, impact and expected outcomes of your project
  • Project scope, i.e. a definition of the area/problem/issue that the project will address.
  • Project timeline (incl. up to 6 project milestones) and dependencies
  • A draft project budget as well as a description of all non-financial resources required to complete the project
  • Details of your project team, including names, programmes/school/unit and year (in the case of students) as well as a short statement on what each member brings to the team
  • Project outputs and legacy

You can look at some successful SPARC applications here:

If you're interested in working on a SPARC project this year but you're having difficulty coming up with a strong idea for your application why not take a look at the current university strategy for some ideas.

If you are a student with a good idea for a SPARC project but are not sure how to link up with a staff member, you could approach one of your lecturers who may be interested or they may have some suggestions. Alternatively you could have a look at the UCD research website  to find researchers, academics and experts in your area of interest. Once you have identified a staff member, flesh out your idea a bit before approaching them. How about completing this simple project proposal document and sharing it with your your potential future project partner in advance of an initial meeting.

Should you have any queries or need some help with an application or getting a team together you can contact Rebecca at or 01 7167510.

Terms and Conditions

Applicant commitment

The nature and volume of work required will be project dependent however all successful applicants must meet the following requirements:

Successful applicants will be required to attend a workshop to support the development of a project plan and to clarify roles and expectations of all concerned parties. Successful applicants will be required to complete the following reports during the project life cycle. The dates for submission of these reports will be agreed on a project-by-project basis.

  • Report 1 (300 words aprox): Project update - Mid way through your project
  • Report 2 : Project review, outcomes and lessons learned - at completion

Project schedule and duration

Projects must be completed by August 31st 2018. Project worth is not determined by its duration, shorter projects will be equally valued. All dependencies must be taken into account in the project schedule. All projects must commence no later than mid-January, projects may begin in advance if desired.

Funding for Selected Projects

Funding up to a maximum of €1000 will be available to successful applications. Funding will be transferred as required based on project expenses. Funding will not be provided for payment of project team members for work done on the project. All expenditure must be agreed in advance.

Eligibility and Application Process

  1. This initiative is open to current staff and registered students of UCD.
  2. All applications must be made via the online application form on or in advance of the closing date.
  3. Individuals can be involved in multiple applications.
  4. The decision of the SPARC Adjudication Committee in respect of selected applications and assessment of same is final.
  5. The SPARC Adjudication  Committee reserves the right to seek clarification in respect of any element of applications following submission.
  6. It is expected that the intellectual property rights in respect of the SPARC project outcomes will be shared freely.
  7. Project teams must consist of three or more applicants.
  8. Each project team must contain at least one UCD Staff member and two or more UCD students.
  9. Each project team must meet the reporting requirements as defined by UCD Career Development Centre.
  10. UCD reserves to right to feature participants and/or details of their projects in future UCD promotional material.
  11. SPARC branding must be visible on all materials produced by project teams. We can provide these logos.
  12. Work on SPARC funded projects cannot be recognised in terms of academic credit.