Second Call for Funding Applications

Shared Island/SCoTENS Research Initiative


The Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS) was established in 2003 to create a safe space for teacher educators – North and South – to come together and discuss issues of common interest and explore ways of co-operating closely together.

The Irish Government’s Shared Island initiative was launched by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, in October 2020, to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection and mutual understanding on the island, engaging with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future. The Taoiseach set out tackling educational underachievement on both parts of the island and enhancing understanding across communities through education, as key issues of interest for the Shared Island initiative.

As part of a wider programme to support collaborative research projects and shared understanding on the island, the Shared Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach and SCoTENS have partnered to issue this funded call for research to be undertaken in 2022-2023, that will contribute to enhanced understanding and action-oriented research, to inform professional and policy development considerations on a shared island basis. This new partnership seeks to complement the existing activities of SCoTENS, to contribute to the wider research programme of the Shared Island Unit, and, importantly, to enhance understanding of the shared island, north and south.

This research call builds on but is distinct from the existing and long-established annual SCoTENS seed-funding competition.   

A first call for applications for SCoTENS Shared Island research was issued in October 2021 across two themes, and successful applications will be announced in December. It has been decided to issue a second call for applications under one of the SCoTENS Shared Island themes, Teaching and Learning. This will allow more time for consideration of potential research applications under this wide-ranging area and with a view to receiving a broader spread of high-standard research proposals for assessment. Some further guidance on the research theme has also been provided to assist applicants.

The re-issued call places a focus on a key theme in teacher education and anticipates applications based on an action/participatory research model; and, makes provision for the inclusion of international and/or expert contributions to add further value to the research projects.

Research projects are to be completed by 15th September 2023.   Funding of up to €25,000 will be awarded to up to two projects under the theme indicated below and which meet the required standard. Applications are invited in the following area:

Teaching and Learning – “How we teach: acknowledging, understanding and learning with others and from others on a shared island”

The focus on teaching and learning is deliberately broad to allow funding applications to focus on discrete curricular subjects and/or thematic areas of interest that are of particular current and practical relevance to teachers and teacher educators, North and South, such as promoting pupil mental health, learning about the environment, effective use of technology to support learning, supporting children with special and/or additional educational needs, online safety, etc.

Projects should include a focus on teacher education as well as an application to schools and adopt an action/participatory research model which ensures that ‘taking action’ and ‘doing research’ occurs simultaneously.

Funded research projects will adopt an action research approach which ensures that the focus is on research on practice and research in practice/s, namely planning, designing and evaluating practices that have been modified and/or newly-introduced, and are specifically designed to advance shared understanding of both educational and related social practices on the island and to inform thinking on potential future changes and modifications to teacher education on the island. 

To ensure the maximum potential for ‘learning with’ and ‘learning from’ each other occurs, projects should ensure extensive communication and collaboration opportunities between the various stakeholders both North and South, is evident. Applications should set out clearly why the proposed topic offers potential to contribute to acknowledging, understanding or learning from others in a shared island with reference to the educational, social, cultural or community contexts on the island of Ireland, and how the research will make this contribution.

Projects must also contribute to shared understanding and future development within one or more of the contexts of policy, research and practice.

 Details of the process


All proposals must be submitted by North-South partnerships. Teacher education providers (Higher Education Institutions HEIs) are required to seek out partner institutions and/or organisations in both jurisdictions, to engage in the competitive process by submitting a proposal, indicating the lead institution in each jurisdiction and the overall lead or primary investigator (PI) of the project. The lead partner MUST be from a teacher education institution that is a fully-paid up member of SCoTENS. To be considered for funding, the application must include a signed letter of approval from the Head of School/Department (or equivalent) of the lead partner.

There is no limit on the number of other partners in any one application. Applicants are welcome to include organisations/institutions which are not members of SCoTENS and/or partners/collaborators from outside Northern Ireland and Ireland, where the contribution of the partner/collaborator will make a valuable contribution to the project. Signed letters of approval from the Head of School/Department (or equivalent) of all partners are required.

Applications will be reviewed and considered by members of the SCoTENS steering committee (for assessment grid see Appendix A).

Eligible costs may include:

  • Buy-out or salary costs for research team leads and/or lead
  • Small equipment (single items should not normally cost more than €1,000) but justification must be provided illustrating that the equipment is absolutely necessary to carry out the research work and that such a facility is not available through other means to the researcher(s)
  • The cost of institutional overheads at a cost of up to 25% of total cost per institution
  • Other costs required must be specifically identified and justified, e.g., fieldwork, data collection, archives, open access publication, access to national infrastructures, expert consultancy fees, travel and subsistence, venue hire, etc.

 Parameters of the projects:

  • Research projects are required to be completed on time. Successful applicants will be required to submit a comprehensive report at the end of the project period.
  • One third of the funding will be transferred to the respective/lead institution initially, and the final two thirds will be transferred following the submission and acceptance of the final report.
  • Successful project teams will also be expected to present their work in progress, at dissemination events including the SCoTENS annual conference in October 2022, and present their completed research at dissemination events including the SCoTENS 2023 annual conference and acknowledge SCoTENS and the Shared Island Unit funding in all relevant presentations or publications.
  • In addition to potential partners/collaborators from outside Ireland and Northern Ireland, research projects are encouraged to utilise educational experts from Ireland, Northern Ireland and/or further afield, to help drive and support the research exploring change in the area of how we teach and learn, in key subject and/or thematic areas. Each successful project is encouraged to invite one or more key experts to take a ‘hands on’ approach in their project and to remotely work with/mentor the collaborative research teams, especially at the key stages in the project, including the planning and design stage and the evaluation stage. Each project is expected to cost this element in their submission.
  • Research proposals will be assessed, and the successful applicants announced in March 2022. The scope of research projects should be such that they may be conducted over periods of up to 18 months, between 1 April 2022 and 15 September 2023.

Research projects are required to submit a detailed, online application through the SCoTENS website, indicating key milestones, measurable outcomes, timelines, costings and a dissemination plan, in addition to SCoTENS dissemination requirements, by 5pm on Thursday 27th January 2022. Late submissions or paper copies will not be accepted. Any further enquiries to Tricia Kelly, administrator at the Centre for Cross Border Studies

Appendix A: Shared Island SCoTENS Assessment Criteria

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