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Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology


Terms and Conditions & Assessment Procedures 2006/2007

Terms and Conditions

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (The Council)
N.B. Applicants should study these Terms and Conditions carefully before submitting their applications.


The Scheme supports basic research at postdoctoral level in Science, Engineering and Technology. Where applicants are uncertain if their proposed area of research falls within the scope of the Councils remit, they are advised to consult the Council executive. The scheme is designed to encourage excellence in research by funding those at an early stage of their postdoctoral career to associate with established research teams who have achieved international recognition for their work. Eligible candidates will be researchers who have not yet been employed in a postdoctoral research position for more than 36 months at the closing date of the call. Career breaks or periods in industry will not be included in the calculation of 36 months. A candidate will normally have completed their PhD and defended his/her thesis. No Fellowship can be taken up until the thesis has been accepted by the Supervisor and his/her institution certifies that it has been submitted for examination. The IRCSET Council strongly advocates a variety of experience within the postdoctoral phase of career development. To this end candidates will normally be supported only at a different insitition and research team than at which they completed their PhD preparation. Some exceptional circumstances can be foreseen but these will require complete scientific justification. A section has been provided on the application form for this purpose. For applicants with postdoctoral research experience; if you are not proposing a move to a different insititution for the duration of the IRCSET fellowship award, please provide scientific justification as to why this is the preferable option.


Research teams eligible to host a Fellow under this scheme will include those in the third-level institutions as well as others who can demonstrate to the assessors a sufficiently high international research reputation. For the purposes of this scheme a recognised third-level institution must be within the meaning of Section One of the Higher Education Act, 1971 and/or in receipt of public funding as approved by the Minister for Education and Science for the purposes of the Free Fees Initiative. Successful applicants to this Scheme will hold a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, Engineering and Technology (hereafter referred to as Fellows). Applications that are deemed not to fall within the terms of the above, or which are technically or otherwise inadmissible under the Terms and Conditions of this Scheme, will not be assessed. The Councils conclusions on these matters will be final. Candidates of any nationality may apply to this Scheme. However, successful applicants must * maintain their principal residence in Ireland during the term of the Fellowship (see paragraph 26), and * if not a national of a member country of the European Union (EU), must satisfy the states regulations on immigration and have the support of his/her host institution with respect to these regulations and requirements.




Arrangements with respect to immigration will be a matter for settlement between the proposed Fellow and his/her host institution in Ireland. 6. 7. Permanent employees in third-level institutions in Ireland are not eligible to apply. Successful applicants must contract to take up the award prior to the end of 2007. It will be tenable for a maximum of two years from commencement. Applicants should complete the appropriate online application form. Full instructions are provided at The Council is committed to the maintenance of high ethical standards in the research it funds through this Scheme. Qualifying Research Bodies are expected to have in place clear ethical guidelines and assurance procedures designed to manage research under their direction. Where an applicants research proposal requires approval by the relevant Research Body Ethics Committee, written evidence of such ethical approval will need to be obtained and available for examination by the Council prior to the funding of any successful research proposal. A formal agreement by a recognised research leader or mentor to host the prospective Fellow will be required in order for an application to be valid. If this mentor is not the researcher in charge (or Principal Investigator (PI)) of the the overall research team, the PI must endorse the application. Fellowships may only be held at the research body and with the research team detailed on the application form. Assessment procedure Each eligible application received by the closing date will be sent to several international peers for review in the first phase of the assessment process. An assessment committee meeting will then be convened and this will be the second phase of the assessment process. This will provide an opportunity for all applications to be reviewed and discussed in detail further. Members of the committee will be selected from the peers who have assessed applications in the first phase and will be representative of the research areas in the applications. At the assessment committee meeting, the assessors will discuss and debate the initial scoring and propose a short-list of applicants for consideration by the Council using the assessment criteria. Results of the competition will only be available when both phases of the assessment process have been completed for all applications. A separate assessment committee meeting will be held for each of the 8 primary disciplines as available for selection by the applicant in step 8 of the application form; chemistry, computer science, earth/environmental science, engineering, macro/microbiolgy, molecular biology/biotechnology, maths and physics. This is in order to ensure that all applications are treated equally and that adequate time is available for the examination of all applications in the 2nd phase of the assessment. In the case of interdisciplinary proposals, applications may be passed to a second committee for further assessment where deemed necessary by the primary assessment committee, for example if they do not possess sufficient expertise to assess all aspects of the application. Each committee will be advised as to the overall number of applications for that broad disciplinary category as a percentage of the total number of applications. This will provide a base-line for the probable success by discipline, but it will be open to each committee chairperson to provide evidence for a proportionally greater or lesser success rate.






Assessment criteria Track record / potential of the candidate Quality of the project Significance of impact of the work proposed Quality of the Host laboratory Research potential of the candidate

50% 30% 10% 10%

The research potential of the candidate is the most important criterion to be assesssed. This potential must be demonstrated by the significant achievements to date such as publications record, invited contributions, conference presentations, participation in relevant actions within the research area etc. Quality of the Project The assessors will examine the proposed project bearing the following factors in mind; Originality Clarity of long and short term objectives Suitability of the proposed methodology Feasibility Significance of impact In those projects advancing fundamental science, consideration will be given to the importance in the international context and the possibility that the project will lead to advances in the area. In Engineering and the applied sciences, consideration will be given to the potential for technological impact and the degree to which the proposal addresses present or future socio-economic needs. Host Laboratory The suitability of the host laboratory as the proposed research environment must be fully documented. Considerations may include the research reputation of the PI, as evidenced by publication record, conference participation or other evidence of impact in the research area, the equipment and facilities available, linkages with appropriate partners etc. 13. The assessment committees will have the task of allocating each application to one of the following categories: Category A+: top priority for funds. These are the truly exceptional candidates who are clearly making substantial progress in their chosen area of research. Usually they will have a publications record and will have other evidence of having achieved some recognition in the research area. The refererence provided will recognise the exceptional nature of the candidate. Category A: should be funded. These candidates display evidence of good research achievements. Taking all the evidence available into account, these candidates could have to an excellent research career. Category A-: suitable for a research career. The candidate is well prepared academically and exhibits many of the characteristics required for success in a research career. While not in the top priority for funds, these candidates should be selected to have the second call on available resources.

Category B: many suitable characteristics. The assessors are less confident of the success of these candidates. They appear prepared for a research career, yet are not so clearly in the top cohort of those applying for support. These candidates could be funded if financial resources allow. Category C: less likely to excel in research career. The candidates in this category have not clearly demonstrated why they should be categorised in the top 50% of applicants. Taking the application information and the data on all other applicants in this round, these candidates should be considered to be a low priority for postdoctoral support. 14. The Council will provide feedback on the assessors views in relation to each application. For his/her part, the applicant must agree that this will be provided on an anonymous basis. The Council attaches considerable importance to procedures for monitoring and renewing its Fellowships. Those who receive awards under this Scheme will be required to submit written reports to the Council on completion of 10 months and 20 months after the commencement of the Fellowship. These reports must be accompanied by a confidential evaluation from the Fellows mentor on the progress of the research. It is the responsibility of the Fellow, and of the Fellow only, to ensure that such reports are filed by the due dates. Failure to file these reports by the required dates or the filing of an unsatisfactory report may oblige the Council to cancel the Fellowship. Where a Fellowship is cancelled, the Council will not continue any responsibility for the payments discussed in paragraph 17 and will have leave to seek recovery of some or all monies which have been awarded under this Scheme. The timely submission of satisfactory reports by the Fellow and his/her mentor will be regarded as a condition of holding and renewing the Fellowship. Failure to do so will oblige the Council to seek the repayment of some or all monies already paid to the Fellow by the Council. 16. Award holders will contribute to the general research effort of the team and will not be assigned additional duties without remuneration. While Fellowship holders will be involved in supervision, general research and laboratory upkeep, any teaching or other duties will be remunerated and in any event will not exceed 25 hours per year. The Fellowship will be valued at up to 33,000 1 per annum. Additional social costs in accordance with the policy of the 3rd level institute will be payable. An additional contribution to laboratory costs and to travel up to a maximum of 5,000 per annum is available. It may be held in conjunction with other personal awards, provided that such awards will not exceed a total of the value of 12,700 in any given year during the period of the Fellowship and provided: that before the end of December 2007, the Fellow will inform the source of any other such award in writing of his or her success under this Scheme, if he/she hopes to hold, or currently holds, funding from such an other source. that should Fellows apply for further funding to another source, they will state as part of that application, whether or not they are requested to do so, that they hold a Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and the other funding agency agrees that a Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellowship may be held in conjunction with funds provided by it.



This is currently under review.

The Council will not involve itself in the decisions of other funding agencies in this regard. 18. However, the Council recognises that, from time to time, awards which exceed this limit may independently recognise the outstanding merit of an awardee during the term of the Fellowship. In such circumstances, Fellows are advised that in exceptional cases, and then only on a case-by-case basis, may they hold such major personal awards in conjunction with the funding provided by the Council under this Scheme. The acceptance of such further awards during the term of the Fellowship is subject to the prior approval of the Council. Compliance with relevant taxation legislation is a matter for the Fellow. Fellows are expected to maintain an actual presence within their respective departments/schools during the period of their Fellowships and to reside within a reasonable travelling distance of the institution where the Fellowship is held. However, the Council recognises that Fellows may benefit from spending part of the term of the Fellowship away from their registered institutions. For such research-related trips the Fellow must have the prior written approval of his/her mentor. Fellowships may not be deferred, other than in exceptional circumstances and then only at the discretion of the Council, whose decision on the matter shall be final. Should a Fellow under this Scheme be unable for any reason (including medical reasons) to pursue his/her project in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme, he/she must inform the Councils Director within two weeks of such a situation coming to his/her attention. In such situations, the Council will have regard to the usual conventions of the Fellows host institution. However, given the basis on which Fellowships are made, the Council reserves the right to withdraw the Fellowship. The Council recognises that for personal, professional or other reasons, a Fellow under this Scheme may wish to terminate his/her Fellowship. This should not be done without prior consultation with the Council as it may involve full or partial reimbursement by the Fellow to the Council if he/she cannot justify the funding received by him/her up to the date of termination. All public lectures and/or publications given or issued by a Fellow which arise from work supported by the Council must contain an acknowledgment of funding received from the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology. The Council reserves the right to revise the Terms and Conditions of this Scheme. It is the responsibility of the Fellow to inform the Council in writing of any change of postal address, telephone, or email within two weeks of such a change. Successful applicants may not reapply to this Scheme. Applications to this Scheme will not be assessed if they are incomplete, or have been received in the Councils office after the advertised closing date 29. The Council will strive to adopt procedures that are consistent with the policies of the Irish Government in relation to the development of the Information Society and accordingly properly authenticated electronic communications will be treated as legally equivalent to paper submission. Good practices will be observed in relation to data management, protection and security, but the Council can not be held legally liable for interference by any third party. However it will be a condition of application, that applicants grant permission to IRCSET to share application data with

19. 20.





25. 26.

27. 28.

government departments and other national funding agencies for statistical and policy formation purposes. Where the possibility exists of co-funding an application with our funding partners, the applicant will be asked to authorise IRCSET to discuss their application with such potential cosponsors. 30. Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellowships are held subject to the stated Terms and Conditions. If any of these are breached by a Fellow, the Council may suspend or terminate the Fellowship and/or may require reimbursement of some or all payments as have already been made to the Fellow.



Applications must be submitted through the on-line facilities and must have received a date-stamp before the closing date and time advertised. The closing date for completion of applications is

5 pm, 26 January 2007.

The Embark Initiative Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology Brooklawn House Crampton Avenue Shelbourne Road Dublin 4