COALESCE (Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges)


We are pleased to announce the third call under a fund for research that addresses national and global societal challenges.

COALESCE builds on and brings together two of our former funding programmes, namely Research for Policy and Society and the New Horizons Interdisciplinary Research Awards.

The call seeks to fund excellent research addressing national and European/global challenges as set out in the challenge frameworks now in place. The call is run in partnership with a number of Government departments and agencies, who fund specific strands.

COALESCE 2020 will consist of the following strands:

Strand 1K: Reimagining Cities for a Circular Bioeconomy Award 2020, in partnership with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (one award – max €120,000)

Objectives of strand 1K:

  • To provide opportunities for new collaborations between stakeholders in Ireland based around excellent research aligned within one or more of the four policy priorities in the National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy and in the context of the research topic area of “Reimagining Cities”, for a regenerative food & biobased system based on the principles of a circular bioeconomy.
  • To generate impact on policy, particularly within the relevant policy community, and to encourage a challenge-based approach to research, building national and collaborative capacity in this regard, with resulting outcomes in the concept area of “Reimagining Cities”.
  • To enable the development of collaborative research capacity between Irish researchers, and to use this capacity to leverage success in Horizon Europe (FP9).

See also Minister of State Martin Heydon TD’s announcement of this partnership.


Strand 2A: Open call for interdisciplinary research addressing national or global societal challenges, to be led by AHSS PI with STEM co-PI (max €220,000 per award)

Objectives of strand 2A:

  • To cultivate excellent interdisciplinary research addressing global societal challenges.
  • To enhance collaboration between researchers in Ireland and policy-makers and/or civil society, nationally or internationally.
  • To support the development of capacity in the research system for interdisciplinary and challenge-based collaboration.
  • Through capacity-building, to boost the success rate of Irish researchers in applications to Horizon Europe (FP9) societal challenges pillar(s).
  • To support the development of AHSS research leadership within an interdisciplinary context.
  • To provide new opportunities for early-career researchers, under the guidance of the Principal Investigator (applicant), to develop skills and experience in intersectoral and interdisciplinary research collaboration.


Strand 2B: Department of Foreign Affairs Better World Awards 2020, whereby the lead PI will work with a co-PI in one of Irish Aid’s partner countries [Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Palestine, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and any African country] (max €350,000 per award)

Objectives of strand 2B:

  • To provide opportunities for new collaborations between researchers in Ireland and researchers in eligible partner countries based around excellent research projects aligned to the policy priorities set out in A Better World: Ireland’s Policy for International Development.
  • To enable the development of collaborative research capacity in southern partner countries through partnerships with Irish researchers, and to use this capacity to leverage success in securing European funding.
  • To generate impact on global development policy, particularly within the policy community of the partner country.
  • To enhance the contribution of the Irish research system to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • To encourage a challenge-based approach to research, building transnational and collaborative capacity in this regard, with resulting outcomes for poor and vulnerable target groups.

How to apply

Potential applicants should read the 2020 Terms and Conditions carefully to ascertain whether or not they are eligible to apply.

Indicative versions of the application forms will be provided for information purposes only. All participants must create and submit their forms via the online system.


Key dates

Call opening28 October 2020
FAQ deadline15 December 2020
Applicant deadline22 December 2020 at 12pm (Irish time)
Research Office endorsement deadline20 January 2021
Outcome of schemeMay 2021
Commencement of projectsQ3 2021

Please note that the timings provided here are indicative and may be subject to change. If you do not find the answer to your query in the call documentation, you should contact the research office in your proposed institution, which will provide information and clarification on the call. Research offices can send any queries they are unable to answer to

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