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Ireland in multi-million postgraduate research drive

€11.8 million Irish scheme to fund new doctoral and masters researchers

The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) has unveiled an €11.8 million scheme which will fund the early career formation of up to 165 doctoral and masters researchers in the sciences, engineering and technology. The Postgraduate Scholarship Research Scheme will operate in 2008 under the Council’s Embark Initiative.

IRCSET’s multi-annual research funding programmes are aimed at knowledge creation for the future benefit of society and the economy. They are also aimed at retaining highly talented researchers and attracting new researchers to carry out their work in Ireland. The initiatives operate under the Irish National Development Plan and form part of wider measures to enhance Ireland's knowledge economy.

IRCSET today issued a call for applicants to a competitive process which will award funding to the most talented students intending to pursue postgraduate research in the sciences, engineering and technology.

This call is open to candidates proposing to commence a research degree in autumn 2008. The scheme is open to candidates worldwide with a number of the scholarships being made available to exceptional candidates from non EU member states. (Closing Date: Wednesday 20th February 2008).

A number of additional scholarships will also be awarded through IRCSET’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme which co-funds research scholars with a range of industry partners. Applicants can indicate on their application if in addition to consideration for an Embark Initiative award they also wish to be considered for an Enterprise Partnership Scheme Scholarship.

The Enterprise Partnership Scheme affords young researchers the opportunity to learn valuable transferable skills and to learn from industry experts. It also allows companies an affordable means of becoming involved with leading Irish academics as well as having a role in the formation of young researchers and potential future employees. Current partners include IBM, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKiline, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Hewlett Packard and Intel.

IRCSET operates under the auspices of the Department of Education & Science. The main emphasis of its funding programmes is on exploratory research aimed at yielding new concepts, findings and innovations within Ireland. Since its inception in 2002, the Council has allocated in excess of €60 million to support the career formation of over 1,000 researchers in Ireland.

Professor Jane Grimson, Chair of The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, commented: “Facilitating the development of the research talent that exists in Ireland is a key element of Ireland’s strategic agenda to enhance overall research competitiveness. The IRCSET scheme is multi-disciplinary, making it appealing to a wide section of research interests in the science engineering and technology fields. It also attracts researchers from other countries to conduct their work in Ireland, facilitating international mobility within the research community.”

Applications will only be accepted through IRCSET’s online grants application system. Successful PhD candidates will be funded for up to three years and successful masters students will receive funding for one year. A decision to grant funding will be based on the student's academic record, research preparation, references and a personal statement. Applications are subject to equal assessment, strictly on merit, by an independent academic panel.

Tim Kinsella | alfa
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