Irish Research Council Policies


The mission of the Irish Research Council (the Council) is to enable and sustain a vibrant and creative research community in Ireland.  The Council funds cutting-edge research in all disciplines and encourages interdisciplinary research. The primary strategic objective of the Council centres on building an expertise-driven research system to enhance Ireland's creative and innovative capacity in a rapidly-changing global environment where skills and knowledge are keys to economic, social and cultural development. The Council is further committed to facilitating the integration of Irish researchers in all disciplines within the European Research Area.

The current policy of the Council is that in order to be considered an eligible institution for the purpose of applying to our funding programmes (postgraduate, postdoctoral and project) an institution must be

(i) A third-level institution within the meaning of Section One of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971 and/or in receipt of public funding as approved by the Minister for Education and Skills for the purposes of the Free Fees Initiative

(ii) Be in receipt of public funding from the Department of Education and Skills for the purpose of higher education and research. 

In recognition however of the contribution of non-HEI publicly funded research performers to Ireland’s research base, other research performing organisations (RPOs) may also be eligible, subject to a qualification process, to apply to the Council’s postdoctorate and project schemes. In this regard, an RPO would possess an existing in-house capacity to carry out research that materially extends and enhances the Irish research base and be in a position to demonstrate an independent capability to undertake and lead research projects/programmes.

In order to qualify as a designated RPO for the Council’s postdoctorate and project schemes, an organisation must satisfy all of the following conditions:

1) The organisation must be a legal entity which is established to conduct research or primarily (i.e. 50% or more) funded for research and innovation purposes

2) The organisation must possess an existing in-house capacity to carry out research, in the field or discipline in which it wishes to be funded, and be able to demonstrate an independent capability to undertake and lead research programmes, as demonstrated by:

(i) Sufficient high-quality current research capacity;
(ii) Track record of staff who while employed at the organisation in the previous five years have led or co-led innovative research projects, including directing postdoctoral researchers;
(iii) Sufficient financial support for research at the organisational level to ensure the availability of essential infrastructure.

Once eligibility has been granted, it will last for a minimum period of 5 years. 

If the status of an RPO changes during this period the RPO’s eligibility to apply to our schemes would require re-consideration.

If deemed eligible as an RPO for the Council’s postdoctoral and project schemes, the RPO may not then be an employment or enterprise partner in Council schemes where this option is available.