06 April, 2017 - Ministers Bruton and Halligan announce the launch of the Irish Research Council’s €2.5m Frontier Research (LAUREATE) Programme

Focus on Attracting World Class Researchers in context of Brexit

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, today (Thursday) announced the launch of the Irish Research Council’s Frontier Research Programme, with initial funding of €2.5 million. The Programme will be titled the Irish Research Council’s Laureate Awards. The Programme will aim to attract world class researchers to Ireland.

Ireland’s response to Brexit will be built on several pillars, including developing innovation and talent. The Laureate Awards will enhance Ireland’s capability to respond to Brexit.

The aims of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards are -

  • To enhance frontier basic research in Irish research-performing organisations, across all disciplines.
  • To develop the track record of exceptional researchers, 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 catalyse opportunities for talented researchers currently working outside Ireland, to relocate to Ireland.

In announcing the launch of the Laureate awards, Minister Bruton said thatInnovation 2020 laid out a vision of Ireland becoming a global innovation leader. We have successfully built our research capacity and capability, and we now have a significant reputation for research excellence along with an increasing base of enterprises engaged in R&D. Our research and innovation system requires investment across all stages of researcher development.

“Ireland is known internationally for the excellence of its research and innovation systems. This makes Ireland an attractive location for researchers who wish to build their international track record and be competitive for key European research funding, in particular the European Research Council.Research, technological development and innovation are central to continuing economic growth and new generations of research leaders are vital to our future competitiveness, as they are the driving force for innovation and new discoveries. The new funding being announced today will be particularly important in attracting world-class researchers to Ireland post Brexit.”

Minister of State Halligan stated“Ireland’s research system needs to cultivate excellent research and researchers across all career stages, from postgraduate students to professors at the forefront of their disciplines. We need to ensure that we have a strong research base and provide our researchers with the environment to enable them to undertake world-class research, for our economic and societal benefit”.

The Laureate Awards will support our policy to promote the Irish research and innovation system as an attractive location for world-class talent, and where success can be leveraged in European research framework programmes. Applications for a Laureate Award are invited from researchers based not only in Ireland, but from anywhere in the world who wish to relocate to an Irish research-performing institution to carry out frontier research.

Ireland research eco-system currently lacks sufficient opportunities for exceptional researchers to conduct frontier basic research across all disciplines beyond postdoctoral level. The launch of the Laureate Award programme will provide new opportunities for our talented researchers.

Funding will be awarded solely on the basis of excellence, assessed through a rigorous and independent international peer-review process.


Note for Editors

Funding of €1.5m was provided in Budget 2017 to commence this new programme, one of the key actions to be delivered under Innovation 2020; Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science and technology.  

A sum of €1.5m was also provided in Budget 2017 to attract researchers to Ireland, as part of our strategic response to Brexit. Given the high level of anticipated demand for awards under the new Frontiers programme, up to €1 million of this funding will be available to this new programme to enable a higher number of awards to be made.

The Programme, managed by the Irish Research Council, will encompass three research career levels - Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant and Advanced Grant, the first two levels are being announced today.  Applications for a Laureate award are being invited from researchers based in Ireland or anywhere in the world who wish to relocate to an Irish research-performing institution, to carry out frontier research.

The Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme supports policy to promote the Irish research and innovation system as an attractive location for world-class talent across all disciplines.