Write a proposal for a large-scale programme

Large scale research programmes can be transformative for researchers, for the university, and can shape the direction of a research area in Ireland for a decade or more. Writing successful proposals for large-scale research programmes involves a sustained level of effort and coordination that is distinctive from other proposal development processes. Success requires engagement with multiple academics, your Head of School and College Principal, multiple teams in UCD Research & Innovation, and other administrative units throughout the university. Despite these challenges, UCD has a strong track record in winning large scale research programmes, and we can offer significant support for groups that are pursuing them. 

A typical timeline from initial call to letter of offer is 12 to 24 months, with activity required throughout. Large scale programmes have budgets usually in excess of €5 million and examples include SFI Centres, SFI Spokes, EI Technology Centres, and SFI Strategic Partnerships.

Self-Service Supports


Local Supports

Local administrative support is essential to manage the volume and variety of tasks associated with developing a large-scale proposal.  If you are part of a related UCD Institute (or Centre) with existing research administrators, then talk to the Director about getting support from that resource.  If not, then talk to your Head of School or College Principal about getting support from other local administrative resources.

The Lead PI will need practical day to day support for most of the duration of the proposal development (e.g. booking facilities, coordinating diaries, running events, managing mailing lists, collating materials, chasing inputs e.g. industry letters, collaborator CVs, etc.).

Central Supports

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Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact (VPRII) and Directors of Research, and Enterprise and Commercialisation

  • 3 meetings per Centre:
  • first meeting to agree supports and hear PI plan
  • second to assess progress versus plan and re-evaluate supports
  • third to provide final review and guidance
  • Where appropriate, use UCD's Strategic and Major Initiative Scheme to fund time buyout and/or specialist supports.

The Research Partners Team can help to:

  • Assess the strategic fit with existing national industry and research ecosystems
  • Evaluate the alignment of centre concept with identified industrial, societal or policy needs
  • Support the lead PI to connect core centre concept to the proposed research programme
  • Support PI workshops to brainstorm key sections
  • Workshop the centre structure with PIs
  • Coordinate with case managers and public engagement on impact
  • Provide ongoing review and drafting/editorial support
  • Liaise with other HEI counterparts on governance issues.

To request a consultation meeting, please contact a Research Partner team member who specialises in the relevant research domain.

The Research Programmes Team can help with:

  • General call guidance and templates
  • Liaising with funding agency
  • Assessing and advising on compliance via reviews
  • Creating formal letters (retirements, institutional signoff, etc.)
  • Completing the formal submission process.

Research Programmes Team

The Research Analytics and Impact Team can provide:

  • Data to highlight the achievements for profiling the applicant group
  • International benchmarking data vs comparator groups.

Research Analytics and Impact Team

The Public Engagement and Engaged Research Project Manager can help to:

  • Support the inclusion of public and community partners within your programme.
  • Use existing public engagement vehicles and engaged research practices as part of the programme plan.
  • Provide examples of best practice from existing Centres.


Pre-Award Financial Accountant :

  • The high complexity of large-scale programme budgets means that the Pre-Award Financial accountant will need advance notice (as early as possible) that you intend to submit a large-scale proposal.


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UCD Office of Research Ethics can:

  • Support researchers through the ethics review process, from the preparation of a protocol submission to the review of research and any subsequent requests for approval of amendments
  • Provide an Ethics Advisory Consultation for staff and students
  • Provide seminars, presentations and workshops on research ethics and related areas.

For general queries email: or tel: 8767

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The NovaUCD Knowledge Transfer team can:

  • Advise on industry engagement and content of support letters, commercialisation plans, fit with VC and investor interests
  • Develop programme IP strategy and terms.

If you require further information or support contact a member of the Knowledge Transfer team

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UCD Library Research Services is responsible for developing and delivering specialist and innovative services to researchers, including:

Library services to support research funding applications

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The Work at UCD website outlines the benefits of working at UCD.

In addition, the UCD Research Careers Framework (RCF) establishes a structured and supportive skills and early career development model for Post-Doctoral Fellows at UCD.


Research Careers Framework

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The UCD Graduate Studies Office provides information on the Structured PhD Programme in UCD.

Graduate Studies Research and PhD Support

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Research IT provides a range of services, designed to support and facilitate researchers in their use of IT as an enabler for their research activities.

Research IT
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The SIRC Office can provide assistance and guidance on developing safety management plans, risk assessment, and other safety documentation.

In addition the SIRC Office can provide training across a wide range of areas and can develop bespoke safety training for your research group if required. Click here for further details on training.