Challenge based funding encourages applications led by postdoctoral researchers

Hi all,

I would like to bring your attention to an exciting challenge-based funding opportunity for which early-stage career researchers, including postdoctoral researchers, are eligible and encouraged to apply.   

The SDG Challenge, launched by SFI in collaboration with Irish Aid ( is a great opportunity for early career researchers to lead research teams to develop innovative solutions to address global challenges. Teams are encouraged to include expertise from different disciplines and must include researchers based in Ireland and in an eligible Irish Aid partner country. This challenge focuses on the area of climate, biodiversity and the environment, and specifically on addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and targets related to SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 15: Life on Land. More information on the challenge area, team and partner countries is available on the website.  

The SDG Challenge will give you the opportunity to work on a specific issue that is important to you and to society, and will give you the chance to validate your research idea and to make a positive difference.  This challenge offers the following opportunities for early career researchers:  

  1. To lead a team and deliver project objectives.  

  2. Funding of up to €300k to develop the proposed solution and the chance to compete for an overall Prize Award of €1M. 

  3. To work as part of a transdisciplinary team including diverse technical and non-technical expertise. 

  4. To receive support to translate research into practice.  

  5. Bespoke training to support the team in advancing their project idea, in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, social value, communications and design thinking. 

  6. Access to expertise, networks and guidance through project partners as well as international experts.  

SFI encourages applications from postdoctoral researchers as either Lead and Co-Lead Applicants. They are able to request a contribution to their salary in line with SFI’s Team Member Salary Scales and with the time commitment to the project.  

The SDG Challenge is open for applications with a submission deadline of 22nd of September.  

If you or colleagues may be interested in the SDG Challenge, there are a number of ways to get additional information: 

  1. The SDG Challenge 2022 website has full details of this funding opportunity and includes a recorded information webinar.  

  2. You can find examples of successful teams taking part in the SDG Challenge 2021. Please, note that the theme of this past call was SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing. 

  3. SFI would welcome the opportunity to talk to any individuals or teams who would like to discuss any aspect of the call or application process. Please, contact to schedule a meeting with them.  

Please do not hesitate in contacting me if you require further information. Please also forward this information to anyone you think may be interested in the SDG Challenge. 

Other challenge funding calls have just been launched and more will be launched in the following year by SFI as part of the National Challenge Fund. All of them will encourage applications from postdoctoral researchers. Find more information here:  



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