€3.8 million funding call launched today for postgraduate researcher-employer partnerships

Posted: 1 February, 2018

The Irish Research Council today announced details of a €3.8 million funding call that facilitates partnerships between researchers, employers and higher education institutions in Ireland.

The Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme provides postgraduate researchers with an excellent opportunity to complete a research master’s or PhD degree while gaining practical experience within an employment partner. Scholarships are valued at a minimum of €32,000 per year and participants are based in an enterprise or other organisational setting while also benefitting from research supervision in their host higher education institution. Applicants are invited to approach potential employment partners and academic supervisors with their proposed research project.

The programme supports applications for research scholarships across all disciplines, and a minimum of 30 awards will be made in 2018. Potential employment partners include companies, social, cultural or not-for-profit organisations, or commercial semi-state organisations, all of whom must have a physical operational base located in Ireland.

As part of the 2018 call for applications, the Irish Research Council welcomes a strand of research to be co-funded by the Irish Prison Service in partnership with the Irish Red Cross. Applicants are invited to propose a PhD research project to evaluate the impact of ‘The Community Based Health in Prisons Programme’ . This health, first aid and well-being peer-to-peer education initiative operates in prisons throughout Ireland.

Employment partners currently participating in the Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme include Kerry Group, Bodywhys – Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, the GAA, Coillte, Pfizer, Enable Ireland, Novartis Ltd., Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and Monaghan Mushrooms. Examples of recent research partnerships include:

  • Teresa Burke, based at Transpharmatation Ltd., and supported by Trinity College Dublin who is investigating biomarkers and pharmacological interventions in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Niamh Maire Mohan works with Nuritas and is supported by Trinity College Dublin. Nuritas is a company aiming to discover peptides that can be used by the life sciences sector in supplements and new drugs. Niamh’s project aims to unravel whether any of these peptides possess anti-microbial and immunomodulatory capabilities.
  • Caitriona Donnellon, with a background in law, is based with the Disability Federation of Ireland and National University of Ireland, Galway, and is working on reformulating mental health law and policy in Ireland in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities.
  • Gillian Weyman is investigating the status and threats to the native Irish ladybird, following the recent arrival of an invasive new species, the Harlequin ladybird. She will develop conservation and education programmes on the native ladybird species at Fota Wildlife Park. Her academic supervision is provided by University College Cork.
  • Daniel Curley is working on developing rural archeological and heritage tourism initiatives in Roscommon and Galway through his research on the O’Kelly Kingship in the region from the 12th to the 17th century. Daniel is working with Tulsk Action Group Ltd. and  is provided with academic supervision by National University of Ireland, Galway.

Announcing the launch of the call, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development Mr John Halligan TD today said “The Irish Research Council’s Employment-Based Programme enables enterprise and voluntary sectors to build their research and innovation capacity. This programme not only is a cost-effective way for these sectors to secure the expertise and resources for their research, but it also supports the development of the researchers themselves”.

Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council said: “This programme allows early-career researchers develop important additional workplace and organisational skills while employers gain access to talented researchers. Partnerships like this are vital to ensure that we continue to support a pipeline of skilled talent for Ireland with cutting edge skills that can hugely benefit a range of organisations from multinational high-tech companies to not-for-profits.”

Applications will only be accepted through the online application system. The deadline for applications is 4pm (Irish time) on Thursday, 12 April 2018. Further information, including frequently asked questions, is available here.

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