2024 IRC Postgraduate enterprise schemes

Applications for the IRC's postgraduate Enterprise Partnership Scheme and Employment Based Programme are currently being accepted - deadline for applications 4pm (Irish time) Thursday 16th November 2023.

Application details are to be submitted to TORA by Thursday 9th November 2023.

An application can be made for either the Enterprise Partnership Scheme (EPS) = where the researcher is based in DCU; or the Employment Based Programme (EBP) = where the researcher is based in & employed by the organisation. Those who applied for this year's Government of Ireland (GOI) scheme may also apply.

Under the EPS, the enterprise partner can be based nationally or internationally; under the EBP the employment partner should be based in the Republic of Ireland and have suitable facilities to host and mentor the researcher - the employment mentor must also be based in Ireland.

The IRC website has a spreadsheet of companies who have also expressed an interest in funding postgraduate researchers. Applicants and supervisors/mentors may contact the nominated person to discuss their research interests and potential co-funding under the scheme:                    EPS - Organisations interested in funding researchers EBP - Organisations interested in funding researchers
The proposed Enterprise/Employment Partner (ie. the actual organisation) needs firstly to be pre-registered if it is not listed on the online system.  The applicant must complete the ‘Invite to Register’ form on the online application (see pages 10-12 of the Applicant Guide).  Only after the Enterprise/Employment Partner has been registered can an applicant go in and select an Enterprise/Employment Mentor.

Evaluation Criteria: Applicants are assessed under 4 headings with different weightings for example than the GOI scheme - see Appendix 2 of the Call Document (same criteria for EBP). Applicants should familiarise themselves fully with this evaluation criteria before applying:

Project (40%) Applicant (30%) Environment (20%) Training and Career Development (10%)

Costs to the enterprise/employment partner:

EPS - The Enterprise Partner is required to contribute €9,500 annually towards the cost of funding a researcher under the EPS.

EPS - NGO waiver in year 1:

Again in 2024 under the EPS, eligible NGOs may avail of a waiver for the first year enterprise partner contribution for all new applications to the Enterprise Partnership Scheme 2024. NGOs are required to seek approval from the Irish Research Council by submitting a waiver application form to schemes@research.ie by 31 January 2024 (nb: this is a strict deadline).

EPS - The Employment Partner is expected to commit a minimum of €9,500 per annum towards the cost of funding the researcher.


Scheme documents:

Applicant Guide to the online system

The IRC's General Application Feedback document for the 2022-23 scheme may provide useful application information before applying.

EPS Call Document

EBP Call Document

Applicants should contact the Graduate Studies Office for further supporting information.

Latest EPS FAQs - 9.11.23

Latest EBP FAQs - n/a

Please note the following:

  • Academic supervisors who are not currently supervising an IRC student will need to be pre-registered on the online system (email scholarships.graduatestudies@dcu.ie to do so).  
  • Applicants will only require a Primary Academic Supervisor plus an Enterprise/Employment Mentor - no Referees are required.
  • Supervisors and Mentors will only be able to submit their references after the applicant has submitted their application.
  • Applications should be gender blind so gender should not be identified. The Assessors will not see the personal details of the applicant. Supervisors, referees and employment mentors should also be cognisant of this.
  • Note that the application should be completed by the applicant NOT  the supervisor. The IRC have stressed that plagiarizing or copying other students’ applications will result in not being allowed to apply for future applications.

What the scholarship offers:

The IRC award consists of an annual package of up to  €28k per annum.


The relevant deadlines are as follows:

1. The deadline for FAQs (address to scholarships.opportunities@dcu.ie) is 4pm (Irish time) on Thursday 9th November 2023. (Applications to go on TORA by the same date).

2. The deadline for applications to both schemes is exactly 4pm (Irish time) on Thursday 16th November 2023.

3. The deadline for primary academic supervisor and mentor submissions is exactly 4pm (Irish time) on Thursday 23rd November 2023.

4. The closing date for endorsement by the research office of the proposed host institution is exactly 4pm (Irish time) on Thursday 30th November 2023.

Results are expected to be announced in April 2024. Official start date is 1st September 2024.


What is an enterprise/employment partner?

The IRC currently has c.200 enterprise partners within Ireland and internationally. An enterprise partner is a business, a company, a registered charity, a social, cultural or not-for-profit civic organisation, a semi-state commercial organisation or eligible public body that will co-fund the researcher for the duration of the award.

A public body is a public service body with specific scientific or cultural infrastructure that is integral to the conduct and completion of the proposed research. If a public body or higher education institution is an eligible research performing organisation, it is not an eligible enterprise partner under this scheme.

Enterprise Partners can register with the IRC at any stage throughout the year.  Note that it is possible for someone to submit a registration form on the Enterprise Partner's behalf however the primary contact identified on the form should be from within the organisation.  The organisation should also be aware that the registration form requires them to agree to certain terms and conditions.


Benefits to the enterprise/employment partner:

Both Irish enterprises and researchers benefit greatly from the programmes. Enterprise partners co-fund excellent researchers who dedicate their time to a specific research project related to the organisation.  At the end of the project, the researcher will gain workplace skills and a degree by research. The enterprise benefits from high value and in-depth research in an area closely aligned with their strategic interests.


Academic Supervisors & Enterprise Mentors

The Enterprise/Employment Mentor (person or persons designated by the partner as being responsible for supporting and mentoring the scholar in relation to the partner's involvement in the scheme) does not have to be pre-registered. 

Primary Academic Supervisors who are not currently SUPERVISING an IRC scholar, will have to be pre-registered on the IRC online system, and they should email scholarships.graduatestudies@dcu.ie for this to happen. 

Applicants will know if their  primary supervisor needs to be pre-registered as their details won't appear in the drop down list on the online system. Once added to the online application, primary supervisors can logon and view the draft but cannot submit the supervisor form until the student has submitted their final application to the IRC.

Applicants can add one secondary supervisor to their applications. In the event of joint Academic Supervision, the applicant must choose one to be the Principal Academic Supervisor. (Details of other supervisors can be written into the 'Proposed Research' section).

All scholarships are to commence on 1st September 2024. Non-EU applicants must satisfy DCU's english language entrance requirements: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml