Oluwasegun Seriki,a doctoral student and a recipient of the Fiosraigh Dean of Graduate school awards in Ireland gives application tips for those who wants to study in Ireland.
I am writing to give a brief discussion about how to apply to the IRC scholarship. Although, I am not an IRC Scholarship holder, I hold the Fiosraigh Dean of Graduate school awards which is for four years (IRC is for 3 years PhD).
The first step in the application process is to make up your mind about your area of study. Afterwards, you might want to look for a supervisor. The choice of school will go a long way to determine whether or not you will receive the IRC funding. Some of the schools that get funded yearly via the scheme is University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Other schools that get funded via the IRC include University College Cork (UCC), Dublin City University (DCU) and Maynooth University.
Next, you need to visit the research website of the school and look for a supervisor with similar interests to yours. Write them about your intention to be under their supervision, showing that you have read their papers and research interests and they align with yours. This is a very important step. Unless your supervisor accepts you, and forwards your name to the research office of the university, it is unlikely that you will be even considered for funding at all by the IRC.
Afterwards, you will develop a proposal jointly with your supervisor. Please note that your research will most likely be focused on Ireland. If you write a research proposal about Nigeria or any other country, it will most likely be rejected. You cannot assume that the Irish Govt will fund research that is not focused at their country. Be realistic.
Kindly note that your proposal development phase will take some back and forth emails between yourself and the prospective supervisor, so please be open to correction and advice from the supervisor(s). You should take note of this, particularly when the supervisor has already received several funding from either the IRC or EU.
After your proposal has been accepted by the supervisor and passed on to the Graduate office of your university, you can then go to fill in the online form. On the online form, there are portions that you will fill in and portions that your supervisor will fill. Ensure that you relate most of your writings to Ireland and the Irish context. Remember you will be funded by Irish taxpayers, do not state the impact that your research will have on some village in East Africa (they don’t care).
Along the line, you will fill a form that will request information about your research dissemination plans. Search out one or two journals and conferences within your field, and indicate that you will deliver papers at these conferences and make submissions to these journals. If there are also professional bodies in Ireland related to your field of research, indicate that you will deliver papers and CPD events for the professional body.
Lastly, ensure you hit the submit button at least three days before the deadline. Due to huge traffic on the website, it is hard to get the submission through on the last three days.
One good thing is that, for a university like the Dublin Institute of Technology, even if you do not get the IRC scholarship, your score in the IRC funding ranking will be used in considering you for the internal school’s funding. So if you apply for IRC with DIT, even if you do not get the IRC funding, you will likely secure the internal university’s funding.
I hope this helps.