National Funding Programmes


Funding is available at a national level to support research of varying scale as well as the support activities that underpin excellent research. Since 2012 the majority of exchequer funding has been directed toward 14 priority research areas and some underpinning areas of basic underpinning research and infrastructure. This is outlined in the Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group and the areas are listed below.

  • Future Networks and Communications
  • Data Analytics, Management, Security and Privacy
  • Digital Platforms, Content and Applications
  • Connected Health and Independent Living
  • Medical Devices
  • Diagnostics
  • Therapeutics, Synthesis, Formulation, Processing and Drug Delivery
  • Food for Health
  • Sustainable Food Production and Processing
  • Marine Renewable Engineering
  • Smart Grids and Smart Cities
  • Manufacturing Competitiveness
  • Processing Technologies and Novel Materials
  • Innovation in Services and Business Processes

Basic Underpinning Research – Basic Biomedical Science, Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, Microelectronics, Photonics, Software Engineering.

Infrastructure – Operation and Maintenance of Equipment, Clinical and Translational Infrastructure, eInfrastructure.
Other areas of scientific endeavour that impact on the future development and competitiveness of industry and enterprise in the State are fundable through the various national funding agencies once a strong justification is made for this impact.
A minority of funding is directed towards research for evidenced based policy and research for knowledge.
National funding agencies fund research activities in the following broad areas. A non-exhaustive list of the types of programmes funded is also detailed below.

Major Collaborative Bids (Multi Million € Centres)

Examples include:

  • SFI Research Centres and Spokes (world leading, large scale centres providing major economic impact for Ireland, significant industry involvement)
  • SFI Partnership Programme (SFI and industry co funding research to support areas of economic importance)
  • Enterprise Ireland Technology Centres (market focussed, strategic R&D for industry, industry led).

Research Projects

Examples include:

  • Dept of Agriculture Food and the Marine FIRM (Food related), COFORD (Forestry related) and Stimulus (Agricultural production related) Funds.
  • Health Research Board Health Research Awards (Patient, Population and Health Services related research)
  • Irish Research Council New Horizons Starter (basic and exploratory research in AHSS to seed ERC submission) and Interdisciplinary (seed collaboration between AHSS and STEM towards joint H2020 submission).
  • Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme (addressing crucial research questions in STEM)
  • Science Foundation Ireland & Health Research Board US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme (funding themed areas of research taking place in US, Ireland and Northern Ireland)
  • Environmental Protection Agency Project Based Awards (relating to climate, sustainability, water and green enterprise)

Conferences, Travel, Networking Support

Examples include:

  • Enterprise Ireland H2020 Proposal Preparation and Coordinator Travel Support
  • Irish Research Council Ulysses Travel Programme (supporting travel/networking between Ireland and France.
  • Science Foundation Ireland Conference and Workshop Grants (to host conferences in Ireland)


Examples include:

  • Science Foundation Ireland Infrastructures Programme (building and sustaining research infrastructure)

Industry Engagement, Commercialisation and Economic Impact

Examples include:

  • Science Foundation Ireland – Enterprise Ireland Technology Innovation Development Award (seeding applied research which may have commercial benefit if developed further)
  • Science Foundation Ireland – Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award (focus on translating scientific discoveries into new medicines, accessing Pfizer’s drug discovery platforms)
  • Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund
  • Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers

Outreach, Policy and Societal Impact

Examples include:

  • Irish Research Council New Foundations Awards (supporting collaboration between researchers and community/voluntary groups)
  • Irish Research Council Research for Policy (partnerships with government departments/agencies to enable research underpinning policy decisions)
  • Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Engineering (promoting public engagement and awareness in STEM)


The UCD Research Intranet contains general information, guidelines, suggested content and background information which can be used in developing proposals for the many types of national funding available.
For certain calls of high volume and/or strategic importance to the University specific help notes and review processes are created and made available on the Intranet. Other enhanced supports such as consultant led training, proposal writing workshops, mentoring, etc. are also made available for these types of calls. These supports will be communicated to the research community where available.

Contact Us

Dr Anne-Louise Holloway
Research Programmes Officer – National Programmes / Proposal Support Team Lead

Anne-Louise provides specialised knowledge and support for national funding schemes including SFI, EI, DAFM and HRB.

T: 01 716 4062
E: Email Anne-Louise