Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme 2020

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The Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme supports eligible researchers who intend to pursue research, networking and/or dissemination activities within and across the diversity of disciplines. This scheme provides support for research actions, the development of networks and consortia, conference and workshop development, and capacity building for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Eligible applicants must, on the call deadline of 20th October 2020, hold a contract of sufficient duration with an eligible higher education institution (HEI) or research-performing organisation (RPO) in Ireland to carry out the proposed research from the project start date of 1st March 2020 until the project end date.

While postgraduate scholars are not eligible to apply to the strands that will run in the New Foundations 2020 call, their involvement in the proposed projects is encouraged.

The Irish Research Council have announced the new Strands 5, 6 and 7 in partnership with The Creative Ireland Programme, The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the Department of Justice and Equality, respectively. The successful Strand 1a, Enhancing Civic Society within a national context, and Strand 4, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs, will also return for the 2020 call. The Terms & Conditions and associated documents are available here.

Strand 1a: Engaging civic society (awards up to a maximum of €12,000)

Run in partnership with The Wheel and Dóchas, this strand supports small, discrete collaborative projects between postdoctoral or more experienced researchers (acting as the applicant to the Council) and a community/voluntary organisation or NGO. The civic society partner must be a registered charity.

Strand 4: In partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Networking & Collaboration Grants for Prospective North-South Research Partnerships (awards up to a maximum of €10,000)

Funded by Irish Aid

This strand will provide researchers with an opportunity to carry out networking activities or to form consortia. Successful proposals will be funded by DFA and will be in areas of strategic importance to Ireland’s development cooperation programme.

This strand is designed to build a pipeline of research collaborations for the COALESCE call, focusing on innovative responses to global challenges within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030). It is envisaged that up to four such networking grants will be awarded, of up to a maximum of €10,000 each, to support collaboration between Irish and partner research institutions, with a view to making a submission under COALESCE in future calls. Proposals may be bilateral or multilateral in nature. The lead applicant must be based in an eligible HEI or RPO in Ireland.

Eligible partner countries: any country on the African continent; Vietnam; Palestine; Laos; Cambodia; Myanmar.

It is anticipated that successful awardees of New Foundations 2020 Strand 4 may apply to COALESCE Strand 2b in 2021. The DFA Strand of the COALESCE Programme seeks to cultivate high-quality development research capacity both in Ireland and eligible partner countries in response to key societal challenges linked to one of the four policy priorities outlined in A Better World, Ireland’s Policy for International Development. It is designed to encourage interdisciplinary approaches for knowledge generation that will produce rigorous and influential evidence and learning, with a view to impacting at a societal level in partner countries, as part of the implementation of A Better World.

Applicants may wish to consult the 2019 COALESCE Terms and Conditions (particularly Appendix 2) for further information on the Department of Foreign Affairs research activities.

Strand 5: In partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Creative Ireland Programme Research Grants (awards up to a maximum of €40,000 each)

Funded by Creative Ireland

The Creative Ireland Programme is a 5-year initiative which places creativity at the centre of public policy. The Programme is a high-level, ambitious, all-of-government initiative to mainstream creativity in the life of the nation. The core proposition is that participation in cultural and creative activity promotes individual, community and national wellbeing.

The Creative Ireland Programme is keen to initiate a programme of research which, together with the learnings from supported pilot projects and initiatives, will underpin and support the development of the long-term legacy of the Programme – to lead change in public policy across a broad range of areas aimed at supporting continued access to, integration of, and recognition of the benefits to society, of cultural creative activity and participation. It is envisaged that up to two grants will be awarded, to a maximum of €40,000 each.

The funded projects must start in Q1 2021 and be completed in 9 months, in line with the timeline for conclusion of the current Creative Ireland programme in 2022.

The Creative Ireland Programme seeks to engage researchers to advance the following (one award per topic):

  1. To describe any hurdles and barriers impeding access of children and young people to creative activities, exploring their relevance to children and young people (or specific cohorts therein) in Ireland, and identifying national and international best practices and experience in mitigating such issues. (Note: In this regard, the Creative Ireland Programme places particular emphasis on access for, and by, certain cohorts – such as male teens, those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and new or minority communities. Ref: Arts and cultural participation among children and young people – Insights from the Growing Up in Ireland study.)
  2. A review and collation of best available international knowledge, experience and evidence regarding the impact and evaluation of creative engagement on mental health and wellbeing in the community (principally in respect of children and young people), including identifying possible options for collaborative long-term approaches between the creative and health sectors for specific cohorts of the population in Ireland (The review might also usefully highlight findings which correlate with the aims of projects being supported under the National Creativity Fund. The Creative Ireland Programme office will supply the successful applicant with details of each project funded under the National Creativity Fund.)

Strand 6: In partnership with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) Networking Events (award up to a maximum of €10,000)

Funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA)

This strand seeks to fund a proposal to establish a series of linked networking events aimed at identifying potential research projects using Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) data in order to maximise its value for policy development. The events should explore how Growing up in Ireland data could be used in innovative ways to investigate the lives of children and young people, the factors that support or impede their development, and the lessons for policy and practice arising. The Department is particularly interested in projects that identify and interrogate inequalities in children and young people’s experiences.

This strand will provide researchers with an opportunity to carry out a series of networking activities, with a focus on generating innovative ideas and potential research projects. This could include projects which compare GUI data with data from similar cohort studies elsewhere, or studies which analyse GUI data in the context of Irish data from other sources.

It is envisaged that one networking grant will be awarded, of up to a maximum of €10,000, to support collaboration between HEIs or RPOs. International partnerships are also welcome.

Growing Up in Ireland is the national longitudinal study of children. This study examines the factors which contribute to or undermine the wellbeing of children in contemporary Irish families. It is anticipated that applicants will be familiar with the structure and richness of the Growing Up in Ireland datasets. It is desirable but not essential that proposals include an applicant with experience of analysing GUI data. Further resources are available through summary guides, data dictionaries and pilot reports on the GUI website at

Strand 7: In partnership with the Department of Justice and Equality, The Spatial Analysis of Crime, Safety and Confidence Award (max €10,000)

Funded by the Department of Justice and Equality (DoJE)

The DoJE are interested in gaining a better understanding of the relationship between perceptions of safety and confidence in the criminal justice system by geographical patterns (for example, level of deprivation, urban/rural, etc.). They would be interested in

  • understanding some of the theoretical/empirical research that attempts to explain the relationship between geography and safety and
  • seeing how this fits with Irish data and how this could inform policy making in these areas.

This strand will provide researchers with an opportunity to carry out an individual project and networking activity. Successful proposals will be funded by DoJE and will be in areas of strategic interest to this Department. Before the applicant deadline, the successful applicant for Strand 7 New Foundations must be an experienced researcher who already holds a contract of sufficient duration with an eligible HEI or RPO to carry out the proposed research from the project start date until project end date.

Expected outputs would include a short report and presentation to the Department. Proposals may be submitted by an individual, though a partnership of agencies/organisations may be involved. The lead applicant must be based in an eligible HEI or RPO in Ireland.

Applicants may wish to access the DoJE’s Research and Data Analytics Unit webpage for information on research currently being explored by the Department.

Key dates

Important Deadlines Date
Call Opens 15 September 2020
FAQ Deadline 13 October at 4pm (Irish time)
Applicant Deadline 20 October 2020 at 4pm (Irish time)
Research Office Endorsement Deadline 29 October 2020 at 4pm (Irish time)
Call Outcome January 2021

How to apply

Please review the associated documentation in the right sidebar to find details on how to apply. The link to the online application system can be found in the left sidebar.

Potential applicants should read the Terms and Conditions carefully to ascertain their eligibility and how to apply.

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 clarify to

For reasons of transparency and fairness to all applicants, we will not enter into written or telephone correspondence with any individuals about the assessment process or their eligibility to apply. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level, CAO and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses and colleges.


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