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Research Leaders 2025

Research Leaders 2025 is a fellowship programme for experienced researchers, cofunded by the European Commission and Teagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority.  Experienced Researchers shall  at the deadline for the submission of proposals, be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience

It aims to develop the next generation of leaders in agri-food research. Inspired by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Global Fellowships, it focuses on researcher-driven mobility. The programme offers applicants the opportunity to conduct their research in an academic or non-academic organisation of their choice worldwide (outside of Ireland) for 18 months, followed by a return phase to Teagasc (Ireland) for 18 months. The applicant will freely choose the research topic, the outgoing host (and supervisor) and the supervisor for the return phase. In addition, if the outgoing phase is with an academic host, they may choose to incorporate a secondment for up to six months to a non-academic collaborator of their choice.

The programme will have a total value of €5.2 million will have two funding calls; each funding 10 fellowships (total 20 fellowships). Each fellowship will last 36 months.  There will be a strong focus on the career development of the researchers, with all fellows undertaking an accredited management course, having a dedicated career mentor (separate to their scientific supervisors) and attending an annual retreat with presentations from established research leaders in industry, academia and civil society organisations.

The need to address the “leaky pipeline” whereby many promising female researchers do not achieve senior positions is a strong focus of the programme. An International Expert Advisory Board, including experts in the management of MSCA and EMBO fellowship programmes, will review all documentation for the programme to ensure that there is no unintended bias against, or discouragement of, female applicants. Remote review cohorts and the final review panel will be gender balanced. Successful female applicants will be facilitated in finding a senior female researcher to serve as a career mentor.

The fellowship programme will be operated by Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority. With an annual budget of €190 million, Teagasc combines excellent research in the areas of food and agriculture with a dedicated farmer extension/advisory service and a department dedicated to technology transfer to the food industry. The Teagasc annual research portfolio comprises some 300 research projects, carried out by 500 scientific and technical staff in seven research centres throughout Ireland. Research is organised into four programme areas Animal and Grassland; Crops, Environment and Land Use; Food; and Rural Economy and Development. Teagasc researchers have access to more than 1,250 hectares of experimental farm, cutting edge research laboratories and strong industry partnerships.