Laureate Awards Programme: CALL NOW OPEN

A consensus has emerged in recent years that Ireland’s research and innovation framework contains a significant gap, namely opportunities for exceptional researchers to conduct frontier basic research across all disciplines beyond postdoctoral level. Innovation2020 affirms the existence of the critical gap in the Irish landscape and recommends the establishment of a frontier research funding programme, to be administered by the Irish Research Council.

The Council intends to make a minimum of 24 awards valued between €400k and €600k in the first round of awards.

Funding to launch the first iteration of the programme was made available by the Minister for Education and Skills under the 2017 budget. For the first iteration of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme, the Council is inviting applications at the early and mid-career level (Starting and Consolidator). Funding will be awarded on the basis solely of excellence, assessed through a rigorous and independent international peer-review process. Laureates will enhance their track record and international competitiveness. As well as the benefits for the laureate and their team, it is anticipated that the award will enhance the potential for subsequent ERC success as a further career milestone; indeed it will be a requirement of all laureates that they make a follow-on application to the ERC.

The aims and objectives of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme are as follows:

  • To enhance frontier basic research in Irish research-performing organisations, across all disciplines.
  • To support exceptional researchers to develop their track record, appropriate to their discipline and career stage.
  • To build the international competitiveness of awardees and Ireland as a whole.
  • To leverage greater success for the Irish research system in European Research Council awards.
  • To retain excellent researchers in the Irish system and to catalyse opportunities for talented researchers currently working outside Ireland, to relocate to Ireland.

Award descriptions

Award type



Award start date  Discipline coverage  Location 
Starting Laureate Award


Up to 4 years Max. of €400,000 (inclusive of 25% overhead)  Quarter 2 2018  ALL disciplines  Irish HEI/RPO
Consolidator Laureate Award


Up to 4 years Max. of €600,000 (inclusive of 25% overhead)

Potential applicants should read the 2017 Terms and Conditions below and carefully ascertain whether or not they are eligible to apply to the scheme. An indicative Word version of the applicant, forms are also provided below. Please note that these are for information purposes only. All applicants must create and complete their submission through the online system.

Key eligibility criteria include the following:

  • PhD eligibility 
  • Track record 
  • Employment status 
  • Funding history 
  • Resubmissions

PhD eligibility criteria:

All applicants to the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme must meet the following PhD eligibility dates: 

PhD eligibility criteria

Award type


Starting Laureate Award

Applicant should have been awarded their first PhD*

>3 years and < 8 years prior to 1 January 2018

Cut-off dates: 1 January 2010 to 1 January 2015 (inclusive)

Consolidator Laureate Award

Applicant should have been awarded their first PhD*

>8 years and < 15 years prior to 1 January 2018

Cut-off dates: 1 January 2003 to 1 January 2010 (inclusive)


* The official date of the PhD is defined as the year in which the PhD was conferred, i.e. the year stated on the official PhD certificate. The number of years refers to calendar years.

Please read section 3.1 of the Terms and Conditions for information on the key eligibility criteria for the programme.


Any queries relating to these Terms and Conditions, or the operation of the scheme generally should be submitted to the relevant Research Office/Officer of the HEI or RPO in the first instance. In the interest of transparency and fairness to all applicants, the Council Executive will not discuss queries over the telephone.

A list of all queries, not resolved by the Research Office, should then be submitted as a batch to by the designated Research Officer within eligible institutions. The FAQ page on the Council website will be updated on a weekly basis (Friday) up until 4pm on 2 June 2017.

Application and evaluation process

A single submission via the Council's online submission system, followed by a two-step evaluation process. All applications to the programme will be evaluated by an international panel supported by remote peer reviewers, across three panel domains:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)
  • Life Sciences (LS)
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering (PE)

Applicants who proceed to Step 2 will attend an interview in Dublin. 


Important deadlines

Call opening

6 April 2017

FAQs open 

 24 April 2017

FAQ final deadline  

4pm (Irish time) 2 June 2017


 4pm (Irish time) 29 June 2017

Outcome of Phase 1 assessment

  Quarter 4 2017

Panel interviews

Quarter 1 2018

 Outcome of selection process  Quarter 1 2018

Award commencement date

Quarter 2 2018


Please note that the timings provided here are indicative and may be subject to change by the Council.

The Council hosted a webinar on 25 April 2017 which outlined details of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme. To view the webinar please click here. The slides are available to download below.