The SFI Public Service Fellowship is a new pilot initiative from SFI which offers researchers a unique opportunity to be temporarily seconded to Government Departments, Agencies and the Library & Research Service of the Oireachtas, to work on specific projects where they can add value resulting in mutually beneficial outcomes. Successful researchers will take the title of “SFI Researcher in Residence” for the duration of the secondment. 

The work of the public service is critical to the successful economic and social wellbeing of Irish society, through its delivery of essential services, as well as its development and implementation of national policy.  The SFI Public Service Fellowship programme recognises the importance of connecting the Irish research community with public sector organisations to help inform new policy and improve the services that they deliver. 

Successful candidates might, for example, conduct data analysis to improve process efficiencies or conduct horizon scanning to help inform future Government policy.  Candidates will experience how their expertise, research knowledge and skills can be impactful outside of the academic environment and for some it may offer exposure to an alternative career path. The programme complements the established SFI Industry Fellowship and SFI Fellowship programmes by broadening the secondment opportunities to a public sector setting.

Our Partners

The SFI Public Service Fellowship Programme will be run in collaboration with the following Host Organisations:

  • The Oireachtas Library & Research Service, Houses of the Oireachtas Service
  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform 
  • Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation 
  • Department of Justice and Equality 
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland
  • Office of the Revenue Commissioners 
  • Local Government Management Agency 

All participating organisations have provided project outlines for applicants to consider, which are available in the Host Organisation Project Outline Supplement. These comprise the background and scope of the project as well as the required researcher expertise and expected project outputs. Proposed timelines associated with each project are also provided.

Fellowships can have a duration of between 3 and 12 months if full-time, and between 6 and 24 months if part-time. The maximum Public Service Fellowship award amount is €100,000 direct costs. Please refer to the 2019 Programme Call Document for further details.

  • Enhance collaboration of the research community with Government bodies; 
  • Foster innovation within the Public Sector by supporting research, knowledge exchange and the development and implementation of data-driven and evidence-based approaches; 
  • Provide the Public Service with deep technical knowledge in specific areas to enhance service delivery and inform policy-making; 
  • Achieve the individual goals outlined by the relevant Host Organisations in the project outlines; 
  • Enhance the breadth of researcher understanding of the Public Service, and their employability. 

Full details on programme eligibility are available in the call document. In summary, applications will be accepted where the Applicant satisfies the following eligibility criteria:

  • PhD Qualification:  Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent qualification at the time of application.
  • Employment Status:  All applicants must be a permanent member of the academic staff (“Faculty Researcher”) of an Eligible Research Body (with a contract at the time of application), or a current contract postdoctoral researcher (“Postdoctoral Researcher”) based in an Eligible Research Body at the submission deadline.
  • Under review: Applicants who are currently under review for other SFI Programmes are not eligible to apply to the SFI Public Service Fellowship.
  • Individuals Holding Existing Fellowship Awards: Specific criteria apply for individuals holding Fellowship awards. For more information, please refer to the call document.

Before applying to the programme, please download and carefully read the call document. Applications to this call of the Public Service Fellowship must be submitted through SESAME, SFI's online grants and awards management system in advance of the application deadline of 13:00 on the 23rd January 2020. SESAME will be open for applications on 10th October 2019.

If accessing SESAME for the first time, researchers should contact their local Research Office to be set up on this system. For more information on SESAME see here.

Queries on the SESAME management system should first be directed to your Institute’s Research Office. If still unresolved, queries should be e-mailed to sesame@sfi.ie. Please be aware that response time for queries may be up to 5 working days.

Full details of this application procedure can be found in the call document.

SFI is committed to increasing the number of SFI grants held by female researchers, as described in its Gender Strategy. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply to this funding call.

SFI hosted a webinar on Wednesday 16th October from 14.00 - 15.00 which outlined the details of the SFI Public Service Fellowship programme.

The webinar is available here

  • Call Launch: 8th October 2019
  • Webinar: 16th October
  • Application Deadline: 23rd January 2020, 13:00 Dublin Local Time
  • Funding Decision: April 2020

As outlined in the call document, researchers applying to the Public Service Fellowship should refer to the July 2016 version of the SFI Grant Applications Budget Policy.

For Programme related queries please contact psfellowship@sfi.ie