Managing Research and Innovation as a Postdoc 

"Research & Research Management" and "Innovation and Transferable Skills" are two of the four core competencies that underpin the Research Careers and Professional Development programme for Postdocs. Find out more about the Irish context and what you can do to successfully manage your research. 

“Writing a successful grant application is a skill [that] requires time to write and should be clear and easy to read. Crucially the application should excite the reviewers and convince them that you are the right person! Ask for feedback from experienced colleagues who are willing to read your application. Be familiar with the terms and conditions and applicants’ guides as well as other relevant documentation and make sure you follow funders’ instructions meticulously.” - Associate Professor Catherine Cox, Director of UCD Centre for the History of Medicine

“Whether in academia or industry, your Postdoc will likely be about excelling in research and producing papers that will advance the field – and your career. Having a plan helps enormously. Start when you start your Postdoc when you will only need to organise yourself and your own research. Afterwards you will need to organise your team and its research.” - Professor Walter Kolch, Director of Systems Biology Ireland

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There are a variety of Research Funding Agencies in Ireland, but the two largest are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC). 

  • SFI is the national foundation for investment in scientific and engineering research. SFI invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
  • The Irish Research Council (IRC) manages a suite of inter-linked research schemes, funding scholars at various career stages including one to two year postdoctoral research fellowships.

In recent years, Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board have partnered with UK-based agencies to extend opportunities for postdoctoral fellows in a variety of Health and STEM fields. In particular, the HRB-Wellcome Trust and SFI-Royal Society partnerships have opened schemes which allow Irish-based postdoctoral researchers to compete for funding with their UK-based counterparts for prestigious funding.

There are a number of other agencies, such as Enterprise Ireland, Health Research Board, Environmental Protection Agency, Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, that also provide research funding that is available to Postdoctoral Fellows in Ireland. 

The UCD Research and Innovation team provides dedicated grant-writing supports – both online and in-person. This involves everything from online access to a working calendar of when relevant calls open and close, worksheets and toolkits to help write specific aspects of different grants to bespoke workshops and read-and-review services. Check out the UCD Research Portal to identify where on the research project cycle you are, what resources you can access straightaway and what ones will be important to build into your research plan. 

There are a number of ways to make sure you are aware of when Early Career Researcher funding calls open and close including checking out the UCD Research weekly bulletin and the UCD Research national call calendar as well as signing up to the individual funding agency’s social media or newsletter. However, the single best way to independently search for specific funding opportunities that are relevant to your discipline and career stage is to use Research Professional, an online platform providing access to an extensive database of open research funding opportunities, as well as a source of research policy and practice news. This is accessible on the UCD campus, where you can create a user account allowing you to login to the service from anywhere in the world and create personalised email alerts to keep you informed about new developments in your areas of interest. 

The impact of your research on wider society has become more important than ever as major funding bodies around the world now consider this a fundamental aspect of almost all research programmes. For instance, most funding calls require that you write an "Impact Statement" outlining how your research is expected to make a difference. Many calls require a narrative CV that focuses less on publication output and more on alternative metrics and economic and social impact. As well as providing online resources, UCD Research regularly run tailored workshops and host seminars with international impact experts to help researchers at UCD understand this complex area. 

Read this guide on how to write a Narrative CV (requires log-in.) 

To learn more about impact, case studies and future events see: www.ucd.ie/researchimpact or contact UCD's Research Impact Officer David Bennet.

At NovaUCD, the Knowledge Transfer team supports UCD’s research community to identify valuable research results and implement protection strategies, to explore commercialisation opportunities through licensing and spinout formation and to develop productive collaborations with industry. They can also advise on social enterprise projects and research that advances social development/ impact. At NovaUCD there are a range of courses for researchers, at all stages, from spotting good ideas, to commercialisation via licensing or start-up companies. To find out more visit the NovaUCD website.  

For anyone who has already done all the hard work in applying for the research grant, spent countless hours doing the research and now have results that might be patentable and/or have commercial potential you can complete a NovaUCD Invention Disclosure Form (IDF). 

 

UCD is committed to the promotion of an environment which maintains the highest standards of integrity in relation to its educational mission and research activity. It is university policy that all those engaged with research in UCD, including all researchers, students, technical, administrative and research support staff:

  • Maintain the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research; and
  • Ensure that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional obligations and standards.

As a Postdoc you can avail of Research Integrity Training or contact the Research Integrity Office directly with any queries or concerns about Research Integrity or Research Culture