Scientific Reporting Requirements
Reporting on SFI awards is used to monitor the progress of individual awards against the research programme milestones and deliverables, and the overall objectives of the SFI Programme funding call under which the award was made.
Compliance with SFI’s reporting requirements is part of SFI’s Grant General Terms and Conditions. Awardees who fail to comply with these requirements will incur penalties that may result in exclusion from applying for subsequent SFI funding. For further details, please see the SFI Reporting Compliance Policy.
In this context, it is important to review the following information, which summarises the reporting requirements and schedule for all SFI awards. You should also note whether there are any bespoke or specific additional reporting requirements for your particular award.
The SFI Grants and Awards Management System, SESAME, is the primary conduit for all SFI reporting. User guides and webinars describing SESAME, including a dictionary of SESAME terms, are available here. Researchers will be notified through automatic reminders from SESAME when they are required to submit their annual and final reports. The steps required to submit annual and final reports via SESAME are outlined in Module 11 of the Researcher User Guide for SESAME Award Management System.
Reporting Submission Schedule
The submission schedule for all elements of SFI reporting is outlined in the table below. We recommend that you complete your Research Profile prior to completing your annual or final report, as this will ensure that data entry is not duplicated.
|Research Outputs 2021||
All recipients of SFI funding
|24th January 2022|
All active SFI award holders
(Note: *b *c *d)
|31st January 2022|
|Survey||TIDA award holders||31st January 2022|
All SFI award holders
|3 months after end date of the award|
*a Some exceptions for non-research awards (for example C&W) may apply.
*b Annual reports are not required for awards made under certain SFI programmes, including those listed below. Final Reports are however required.
- SFI TIDA
- SFI Industry Fellowship
- SFI Public Service Fellowship
- I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme
- SFI COVID-19 Rapid Response
- SFI C&W
- SFI Discover Projects
*c If a final report is due in 2021 after January 31st, an annual report must still be submitted by the deadline.
*d Separate reporting guidelines and deadlines apply to SFI Research Centre awards, as well as Centre linked and supplementary awards. Further information can be found here.
The SFI Research Outputs are drawn directly from the data entered into the SESAME Research Profile, which must be completed by all SFI award holders in January each year.
- Only outputs which have a primary or secondary attribution to an SFI award need to be entered onto SESAME. The primary attribution reflects the main award that has contributed to those outputs and outcomes and the secondary attributions are associated awards that also contributed to the output.
- Data does not need to be re-entered each year. However, is imperative that existing records are updated, where relevant. For example, if a team member departed during the year, rather than providing us with details of that team member, you can simply update the existing record with their departure date and with any relevant departure information requested.
- SESAME is integrated with ORCID - this integration allows users to connect to their ORCID account and pull-down publications into their SESAME profile, reducing some of the burden of data entry.
- Data stored in your Research Profile can be pulled into your annual report – there is no need to input the data twice. We recommend that you complete your Research Profile prior to completing your annual report. Download the guidelines for the completion of the Researcher Outputs here.
Annual & Final Reports
Researchers are requested to submit their annual reports by the 31st of January of each active year of the award, to report on progress during the previous calendar year period (January – December).
Researchers are requested to submit final reports 3 months following the end date of the award. The final report should reflect any additional activities or updates which have not been reported on previously, for example activities/updates which have arisen since the last annual report was submitted. In addition, researchers are required to provide a tabular summary of all outputs achieved throughout the full duration of the award.
Programmes that use the standard report template
The Standard Report Template, is used for the majority of awards made under SFI programmes, including the following:
- Investigator Programme, Principal Investigator (PI), Investigator Project [LH1] (IvP) and Investigator Award (IA)*
- Frontiers for the Future Awards and Projects
- President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), President of Ireland Future Research Leaders
- Research Professorship Programme
- ERC Development Programme
- SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation Award Programme
- SFI COVID-19 Rapid Response Programme
A detailed description of the fields contained in the Standard Report Template can be found below.
*Additional guidance for SFI-DEL Investigator Programme awardees is provided here.
The following awards use the Standard Report Template but also require some additional documentation which must be submitted with the annual/final report:
Programmes that use bespoke report templates
Bespoke report templates are available to accommodate reporting on awards made under a small number of programmes.Specific Guidance is provided below:
- Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA)
- SFI Conferences and Workshops (C&W)
- SFI Industry Fellowship Programme
- SFI Research Infrastructure Award
- SFI Research Centres
- SFI/NSF I-Corps@SFI Entrepreneurial Training Programme (ETP)
- SFI Future Innovator Prize
- SFI Industry RD&I Fellowship Programme
Progress against awards made under the Spokes Programme should be reported on through the relevant Research Centre award. Please note that if the Centre-to-Centre partnership or Spokes award involves more than one SFI-funded Research Centre, that all Research Centres involved are required to report on the partnership.
The following international partnership awards use the Standard Report Template with an additional mandatory field to articulate the added value of the partnership and to outline the research work carried out by co-PI(s) in partner country(ies).
- US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme*
- BBSRC-SFI Partnership Programme
- EPSRC-SFI Joint Funding of Research
- SFI-NSFC Partnership Programme
*Please note that for US-Ireland Centre-to-Centre Partnership awards, these will be reported on as part of the Research Centre award. See Research Centre annual reporting guidelines for more information.
For other awards made under a Competitive Joint Funding Partnership Programme, where an award letter is issued by the partner agency, an SFI report is not requested to be submitted via SESAME. Such programmes include:
- The Royal Society – SFI University Research Fellowship Programme
- The SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership
Recipients of awards made under these programmes are however required to adhere to reporting requirements of the lead agency and are required to complete an SFI Research Profile in SESAME as part of the annual stocktake of SFI Research Outputs.
Description of Standard Report Sections
The Standard Annual and Final Reporting Templates, which are available through the SESAME Grants and Awards Management System, ensure that progress on awards can be monitored against the specific objectives defined for the programme in which the award was made. The ‘deliverables’ on these objectives will contribute towards relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) outlined in SFI’s Agenda 2020. The Standard Report Template has been designed to cover awards arising from a wide range of programmes which are active in the SFI portfolio.
There are a number of sections to the Standard Report Template; some are self-explanatory and some require additional guidance, provided below.
Current Irish government policy mandates that the majority of public research funding is aligned with areas identified in the report of the National Research Prioritisation (NRP) Steering Group, published in 2012. Therefore, SFI requests that all awardees select the most relevant NRP area from the drop down list provided. SFI acknowledges that the NRP areas may not be applicable to a small subset of awards. If this is relevant to your award, select ‘Other’, which denotes Basic Biomedical Research, Minority Research or another area not specified. Please familiarise yourself with the report before you complete this section. SFI also requests that all awardees select the most appropriate TRL level to match their research activities. To assess the maturity of awards within its funding portfolio, Science Foundation Ireland has adopted the same Technology Readiness Level (TRL) evaluation scale as utilised by the Horizon 2020 Programme which is an adaptation of the TRL scale developed by NASA in the 1970s (http://www.sfi.ie/about-us/).
In this section, a field exists to gather information on where team members gain employment once they leave the SFI award. This is relevant to a KPI outlined in Agenda 2020: “By 2020, 50% of SFI trainees will be moving to industry as a first destination”. There are also questions relating to maternity leave of team members.
Awardees are asked to report on all refereed journal and conference publications and international presentations directly supported by the grant. SFI funding has produced high quality, high impact publications which have resulted in Ireland rising to the top 20 in international bibliometric rankings of repute. SFI’s Agenda 2020 sets a target for Ireland to maintain its position in the top rankings and for SFI funded researchers to win top tier international prizes. In this section of the annual report, awardees are asked to report on all scientific awards received during the reporting period.
Education and Public Engagement (EPE)
Awardees are asked to input details on education and public engagement (EPE) activities performed during the reporting period. Awardees are asked to provide details on any EPE activities which were run as part of the core SFI Discover programmes, including but not limited to: Discover Primary Science and Maths, Smart Futures and Science Week. In addition to this, any key accomplishments in EPE activities during the reporting period should be detailed. Gathering this information will enable SFI Discover to develop case studies and exemplars of good practice for EPE activities amongst awardees and to establish a baseline of EPE activity within the community.
In this section, awardees are provided with a list of 11 Impact ‘declarations’ or statements. At least one statement must be selected but awardees are encouraged to rank up to 5 statements, starting with the number 1 as being the most relevant. Awardees are then asked to provide more details justifying the declarations selected by pulling in all relevant impacts from their Research Profile. To assist you the impacts on the profile are categorised with shortened version of the 11 categories. The Impact statements will help SFI to quantify the types of impacts coming from the various SFI programmes. In this section, awardees are also asked to provide details on any industry engagements.
- The research conducted through my award has enabled me to leverage international funding through industry/collaborative research
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in the start or expansion of a company which has resulted in the creation of high value jobs
- The research conducted through my award has attracted developing and nurturing businesses, through for example, the licensing of technologies
- The research conducted through my award has attracted international scientists and talented people
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in a new policy being implemented and/or an improvement to the delivery of a public service
- The research conducted through my award has enhanced the quality of life and health of Irish citizens:
- The research conducted through my award has contributed to environmental conservation and / or enhanced the sustainable relationship between society, industry and the environment:
- The research conducted through my award has increased the knowledge, appreciation and understanding of science, engineering, and technology amongst the general public:
- The research conducted through my award has developed the country’s international reputation
- The research conducted through my award has resulted in the creation of employment through directly influencing and inspiring the future workforce and/or the production of a highly educated and relevant workforce in demand by industry and academia:
- The research conducted through my award has not realized any impact as of yet or has impacted in other areas not reflected in the choices provided, for example by enhancing the creative output of Irish citizens.
Knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities
Awardees are asked to input details on Invention disclosures filed; patents filed, granted or exploited; licensing agreements signed; ICT standards and spin out companies created. Gathering this information will enable SFI to report against the following KPI: “By 2020, the proportion of invention disclosures, patents, licenses, and spin outs recorded by Enterprise Ireland that are linked to SFI research, will be doubled.”
Where relevant, SFI requires that award holders report on all ongoing SFI-supported clinical trials and investigations, indicating where HPRA approval is required. Note that this includes studies that may currently be at the planning stage but for which a formal application to the HPRA has not yet been submitted. Full details of the investigator’s obligations under this policy are available on the SFI website.
SFI requires evidence that relevant ethical and regulatory approval has been granted for studies involving animals prior to an award commencing. In exceptional cases where such research may not commence until a late stage of an award, SFI may permit submission of ethical and regulatory approvals following the award start date but prior to commencement of the research.
The funding diversification fields in the annual report have been updated to include the most up to date funding streams, such as Horizon 2020. Gathering this information will enable SFI to report against the following KPIs:
- To increase the average research income secured by Ireland based PIs from international funding entities such as the EU and in doing so reduce the number of researchers that rely on SFI for the majority of their funding
- To increase the level of leadership roles held by Ireland based PIs in major European Initiatives, in particular Horizon 2020
- To increase the number of ERC grants secured by Ireland based PIs.