Strategic Innovation Fund

 The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a multi-annual fund, amounting to €510 million over the period 2006 – 2013, which is directed towards support for innovation in higher education institutions.  It supports new approaches to enhancing quality and effectiveness within higher education and research, incorporating the use of existing resources (including capital resources) more effectively, as well as new funding.  Projects approved to date under SIF are aimed at enhancing collaboration between higher education institutions, improving teaching and learning, supporting institutional reform, promoting access and lifelong learning and supporting the development of fourth level education.


SIF Cycle I

€42 million was announced by Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin on October 24th 2006. This funding included 12 different lead institutions, each of which has a number of additional partners. Key areas of funding included:

  • Supporting Institutional Restructuring:  €12.745 million awarded
  • Enhancing Teaching and Learning: €9.332 million awarded.
  • Enabling Fourth Level: €9.995 million awarded. 
  • Improving Access and Lifelong Learning: €10.208 million awarded.


SIF Cycle II 

€97 million in funding was announced by Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin on February 19th 2008. A total of 31 projects have been approved of which 30 are collaborative. In all, 17 institutions have been approved for funding as lead institutions, as well as two sectoral submissions from the Irish Universities Association and the Institutes of Technology Ireland. Due to the collaborative nature of the projects, each of the 7 universities, 13 Institutes of Technology and the DIT will be involved in a number of projects under SIF Cycle II.

Key areas which are being supported under this round of SIF include:

  • €35.9 million is provided for proposals seeking to enhance the systems of teaching and learning in higher education.
  • €20.7 million is allocated for proposals seeking to extend the research capacity of the sector, in line with the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation.
  • €15.7 million has been allocated for lifelong learning and up-skilling.
  • €13 million has been allocated in the area of institutional restructuring.
  • €11.8 million has been allocated to the area of access for under-represented groups.

The development, through SIF, of new strategic alliances creates new synergies and potential for the higher education system. Of the awards announced in Cycle II, 13 involve alliances between universities and institutes of technology. Through the range of initiatives being supported, SIF is providing new impetus to the development of system-wide quality. It is driving reform of structures and systems within and across institutions to cater for growing student numbers at all levels, improved teaching and learning quality, ensuring graduates are equipped for a lifetime of innovation and change in the workplace and enhancing our research and innovation capacity.

A full description of projects and the funding allocated is available here.

Thematic groupings of SIF projects are available here.

SIF Evaluation recommendations and project abstracts are available here.

The Report of the SIF Evaluation is available here.




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