Research Leader Awards (RL) 2020 (Next call TBC)

The overarching aim of the RL 2020 funding call is to create a cohort of new research leaders who can drive 'actionable knowledge' in research areas of strategic relevance to health policy, health delivery and/or clinical practice in Ireland. The long term objective is that the innovation and leadership of these individuals will accelerate the translation or implementation of research knowledge towards tangible changes in a real-world setting for the benefit of people’s health, patient care (practice) and health policy in Ireland.

This initiative will support established health investigators, working in an academic setting (including health practitioners with joint appointments), who are in the process of transitioning to research leadership. RL 2020 will enable the delivery of internationally competitive research programmes which will contribute to closing the translational gap between the generation of research evidence and real world, positive health impacts through strong partnerships between academia and the health sector.

Listen back to a webinar about the call (Registration required)


Additional Information

Each RL award will buy out 50% of the academic non-research time of the Lead Applicant. This time will be protected for research with the expectation that award holders will spend up to 70-80% of their time on research through co-funding from other sources. The award will also fund research-related costs. The budget for each award will be a maximum value of €1.15M exclusive of overheads. An overhead contribution based on the full award will be calculated at award stage. The Health Research Board envisages that up to 5 awards will be made in this round.

The objectives of the Research Leader Awards are:

  1. To develop research leadership and health innovation in academia by providing protected research time to established health investigators with a strong track record in applying research into health policy and/or health delivery and/or clinical practice;
  2. To support internationally competitive research programmes addressing health challenges in areas of strategic importance for national health policy and/or health delivery and/or clinical practice;
  3. To better integrate research findings into health policy and/or clinical practice
  4. To strengthen research partnerships and collaborations between academic researchers with health practitioners, health decision-makers, knowledge users, industry and other relevant stakeholders;
  5. To establish a critical mass of research leaders who will act as role models and mentors to the next generation of researchers increasing future capability nationally and globally in translating and implementing health research into policy and practice in Ireland.

The Lead Applicant must be an established investigator who is on an upward trajectory to becoming a leader in health research but is not, as yet, recognised as a leader. They should be able to demonstrate that the skills and experience match those of the transition to research leadership career stage.

Please see Guidance Notes for full details on eligibility criteria


All applications must be made using the HRB Grant Electronic Management System (GEMS) GEMS will close automatically at the set date and time of the deadline.

The Research Leader Awards scheme will use a two-stage application process consisting of:

  1. Open call for Pre-application stage (Stage 1)
  2.  Invitation of selected applicants to submit a Full Application (Stage 2).

The application must have been reviewed and approved by the signatory approver at the research office (or equivalent) in the host institution before it is submitted to the HRB. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they give the signatory approver sufficient time before the scheme closing date to review the application and approve it on GEMS. Please note that many host institutions specify internal deadlines for this procedure.


Dr Anne Costello
Project Officer, Pre-Award    
Email: acostello(at)
Tel: +353 1 234 5 157

Opening date
11:00 04-03-2019
Closing date
13:00 09-05-2019
End of June
January 2020
Decision expected
February 2020
Next call expected