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The Irish Research Council has managed four highly successful Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND postdoctoral fellowship programmes, with a fifth, the DOROTHY COFUND, launched in 2022. The main objective of the MSCA COFUND schemes is to enable researchers to acquire the necessary skills and experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector, by undertaking research projects and experiencing international mobility.  

MSCA fund excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career development and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers, to better prepare them for current and future societal challenges. This funding aims to reinforce cooperation between academia and all types of non-academic organisations (companies, CSOs, hospitals, public bodies etc.) in terms of research training, career development and knowledge transfer.


DOROTHY is a postdoctoral research programme open to researchers from all disciplines who wish to focus on research into public health crises. The programme will break down barriers between different academic disciplines by driving collaboration between researchers through funding research which will shed light on public health crises from wide-ranging perspectives. 25 fellows will be recruited through 36-month fellowships with all nationalities welcome, including researchers based in Ireland. This scheme has a value of €5.5million.

Fellowships provide an opportunity for an international experience and reintegration to Ireland; offer excellent training, career development and networking opportunities; and give applicants an opportunity to provide innovative solutions to public health crises.

The three Irish funding agencies, the Irish Research Council )IRC), Health Research Board (HRB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have come together to create this new interdisciplinary fellowship programme on the topic of public health crises and their legacies. The complementary expertise of the three agencies — namely funding excellence in pan-disciplinary research (IRC), health perspectives (HRB) and environmental policies (EPA) — is key to DOROTHY COFUND’s scope and ambitions. The lead agency, the IRC, will manage the programme, supported by the two other co-funding agencies.

For more information on the DOROTHY MSCA COFUND, please visit


The CAROLINE scheme funded experienced researchers from any discipline to conduct research relevant to the themes of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for shared economic prosperity, social development, and environmental protection. The scheme ran from 2016 and featured three separate calls, which concluded in 2022. A key feature of the programme was a collaboration between the academic sector, non-governmental organisations, and international organisations. The scope of organisations for intersectoral collaboration in terms of their mission was intentionally broad and spoke to one or more of the 17 goals under the 2030 Agenda, which are of interest to researchers with diverse career objectives in mind, including those within academia, civic society, and industry. Across three CAROLINE funding calls, there were 49 funded projects, and the total value of the programme was €10.6 million. 


The  ELEVATE programme, which ran between 2013 and 2018 under the FP7 COFUND programme, was an International Career Development Fellowship that gave the opportunity to researchers to spend two years at an international host organisation in any country outside of Ireland, followed by a one-year return phase at a host higher education institution.  This fellowship allowed experienced researchers to establish new, and strengthen existing research networks, and to work with leading experts in their respective fields. There were 45 projects funded across all academic disciplines under the ELEVATE programme. The fellowships represent an investment of €13.5 million.  

CARA MSCA COFUND (2010 – 2014)

The CARA Postdoctoral Mobility Fellowship Scheme was launched in 2010, the call ran from 1st may 2010 -April 2014. Its main objective was to encourage international mobility amongst Irish-based experienced researchers at the early stages of their career, thus increasing the diversity of their research experience and their overall employability. This scheme was opened to all disciplines within arts, humanities and social sciences. There were two separate funding calls resulting in a total of 25 fellowships. The total value of the programme was approximately €6.7 million.


The INSPIRE programme, established in 2009, the call ran from 1st February 2009 – 31st January 2014, added an international dimension to the fellows’ careers, through the opportunity to undertake research in top research performing institutions within the European Union as well as in non-EU countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia. Before INSPIRE, there was no Irish funding scheme to support outgoing mobility for experienced researchers  INSPIRE thus was the first COFUND scheme in Ireland to introduce new ways of building academic networks between Ireland and the world and it facilitated the exploration of a broad range of research topics in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. There were 50 awards made under two INSPIRE funding calls and a total of 12.5 million was invested in these projects. 

IRC MSCA cofund vital statistics

In addition to the MSCA COFUND programmes offered directly by the Irish Research Council to researchers, the Irish Research Council also has invested in the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office (IMSCO) through our strategic partnership with the Irish University Association since 2012. The IRC thereby supports excellent performance by Ireland and Irish researchers in MSCA, ERC (SSH) and Cluster 2 Horizon Europe funding programmes. This strategic support for the Irish research community encourages a diversity of talented researchers across all disciplines and helps to realise the Government’s ambition in Impact 2030 that Ireland exceed the excellent performance achieved under Horizon 2020.

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