Research Call 2017 Frequently Asked Questions

Can awarded funding be greater than the budget limit specified?


I can't see my organisation on SmartSimple, what do i do?

If your organisation has made an application previously, it should appear when you start typing in the ‘Organisation Name’ box.

If not, clear your internet history and refresh your application, if the problem still persists try moving to a different browser.

If your organisation has not registered with us, please complete the Organisation registration Page on SmartSimple.

When registering please note that the email address given for the applicant and primary or secondary contact cannot be the same.

Can a 4 year PhD student participate as part of a 3 year project?

This is possible, however it should be noted that funding related to the PhD will only be reimbursed in relation to the period that they are working on the specified project.

For example if the project is of 3 years duration and the PhD student is not recruited until the end of month three, funding will only be reimbursed for 2 years and nine months.

Can we apply for more than one project?


If a Principal Investigator (PI) has been awarded a grant under a previous call can they submit an application under the new call?


Can a Principal Investigator (PI) be the lead on more than one live project?


Can researchers from outside Ireland apply?

Yes. The research is open to researchers outside of Ireland.

However the research topics detailed in the call documentation identify environmental issues for Ireland and therefore proposals should address these.

Although not a requirement we encourage Irish partners to be involved as part of the project team.

Can a micro SME can lead a research team and submit a proposal in response to the EPA Research Calls?

Yes. The funding rate is 100% (see page 22 of guide for applicants) as per the EPA’s funding rules

Is it possible to have Two Principal Investigators on a project?

It is possible to have two PIs on a project-based award. However, for the purposes of applying using our SmartSimple system only one person can complete the online application form and be listed as the PI.

Is it possible to register as an applicant and have another person as the project leader of that application or does it have to be the same person?

The person registering as the applicant is the project leader.

Can a project designated as a Desk Study, or Medium Scale Study be undertaken as a research fellowship?


Is it possible to have the role of Applicant and Primary/Secondary contact using the same email address?

No – these roles conflict within the system. 

For Private Companies, NGO’s Charities etc it is normally the managing Director, CEO or Finance Officer who would be nominated as the Primary contact.

In the case of Third level Institutions it would be Research Administration Office staff.

For sole traders please provide alternate email addresses – one for your role as an Applicant and another for your role as Primary contact.

Does the EPA Research Programme follow the same rules as Horizon 2020?

The EPA Research Programme runs according to the EPA ‘s Funding rules. There are similarities with Horizon 2020, but there are some differences, for example, it is not a requirement to submit research proposal carried out by transnational consortia. Please note that the EPA Research Programme runs on a not for profit basis.

What if my query is not listed as an FAQ

All queries relating to the Research Call 2017 should be directed to 

Water Call 2017 FAQs

All R&D engagement with Irish Water (including R&D project proposals) requiring access to (1) Data or Samples from Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO) and/or (2) Access to Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO)

Applicants preparing a research proposal requiring engagement with Irish Water MUST send comprehensive details of the Data/Samples requested from Irish Water to in advance of the Call Technical Queries deadline (26th June 2017).

The EPA will liaise directly with Irish Water regarding the feasibility of the request for data/ samples.

Feasibility does not imply that access will be granted by Irish Water.

It is not intended that Irish Water would inform or guide the preparation of proposals.

No direct query to Irish Water will be entertained.

Should a proposal requiring access to Irish Water-owned data and/or Irish Water-owned facilities (assets) be recommended for funding by the EPA following the Evaluation process, access to (1) Data or Samples from Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO) and/or (2) Access to Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO) should then be sought by the Applicants from Irish Water.

This step should take place between Irish Water and the Applicant during the Negotiation stage**

It is strongly recommended that applicants also consider and describe other alternatives to carry out their proposed research, should the access to (1) Data or Samples from Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO) or (2) Access to Irish Water owned or controlled assets (LA or DBO) (e.g. for sampling) not be granted.

All proposals will be evaluated based on their scientific merit and relevance to the EPA Call Technical Description.


** Access to data/facilities will be subject to (1) Review and approval by Irish Water’s Senior Management Team and (2) a Research Data Agreement being put in place between Irish Water and the University/Institute of Technology and Researchers, R&D centers, SMEs etc.

Water Call 2017 – Project 1: The technical description of the water research call 2017 indicates cyanotoxins as a pollutants of concern. Are cyanotoxins and responsible organisms out of this call?

While Theme 1: Safe Water covers a wide range of possible pollutants - emerging pollutants, priority substances, endocrine disruptors and emerging risks, the focus of Project 1 in the 2017 Water Research Call is on contaminants of emerging concern and cites low-level pharmaceuticals, pesticides and Personal Care and Cosmetic Products specifically.

It was not intended to cover other risks such as that from cyanotoxins and cyanobacteria, which may the focus of future Calls.

Water Call 2017 - Project 3: Additional Information

Please refer to our Call Documents page to download a table detailing the number of Arctic char scale samples held in storage by the IFI. The scales are stored in small brown envelopes and were dried prior to storage. Similar samples have been used in brown trout genetics projects. The number of samples is related to the size of the population.

Some of these lakes are on a three-year monitoring cycle, so will be surveyed in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and there will be scope to get more samples from many of them (8-10 lakes in 2017). Fresh tissue samples can also be obtained from new surveys if required.

In addition to the table available to download, IFI have date of capture, location of capture, depth zone of capture, length and weight information for each individual fish and some age information also. Some stomach content information is available but is not detailed to species-level. Photos of some individuals have also been taken as IFI plans to do an analysis of the morphological features of the species.

Water Call 2017 - Project 4: Should applicants budget for purchasing a range of boats for demonstration purposes?

It is not intended that the project would purchase a range of devices but that the project would be able to demonstrate that the recommended drone would be capable of delivering the sampling requirements. The feasibility of taking samples with different sample bottles (and sizes) is a critical aspect. 

Water Call 2017 - Project 4: Are there additional requirements for the determination of Water Quality parameters, for example bathymetry?

The intention of the topic is that the drone would be able to undertake some field measurements that are currently carried out at each location, they are temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity and transparency (also called secchi reading).

These measurements are all carried out at the surface. For lakes that have a depth of greater than 6 metres we also carry out temperature / oxygen profiles i.e. temperature and dissolved oxygen measurements at different depths from surface to bottom. This is carried out at the deepest location on the lake.

All samples are currently taken at the surface so we record sample depth as '0'. While this is currently the case there may be a requirement to take physical samples at different depths sometime in the future.

Water Call 2017 - Project 4: What are the requirements for a decision support system?

The GPS locations of the sampling points are set as part of the monitoring programme so it is to collect the data and to inform the use of the drone technology in different lake scenarios.

Water Call 2017 - Project 4: Have you considered a phasing of the project – one phase around scope and planning, and then one phase around demonstration?

No, at this stage -  there is only this project considered. 

Water Call 2017 - Project 4: Who are the end users for the drone?

It intended that the drone would be used by the Local Authorities and the EPA only.

Water Call 2017 - Project 5: Are there Data requirements with respect to formats and map projections and are there existing data available?

In terms of formats, map projections the COPERNICUS programme can help to determine what raw and processed data is available and in what formats. The EPA GeoPortal contains the vast majority of EPA spatial data, which is available for download.
In addition, there are existing chlorophyll a data and other data on ecological status data for lakes and transitional and coastal (TraC) waters available from the EPA website and

Sustainability Call 2017 FAQs

Sustainability Call 2017 - Project 3: Additional Information

It is expected that the research will provide a database of all Irish HBM data that currently exists, plus provide information/data for the Irish population on primarily, but not exclusively, emerging pollutants (i.e. those not already identified in the HBM4EU priority list) with the hope that this research could identify substances of potential concern which could then contribute to future HBM4EU prioritisation exercises. There may also be a need for consideration of older known chemicals that are newly relevant.

The initial mapping of Irish datasets needs to be followed up with a prioritisation exercise to develop an agreed model that can then identify chemicals that can be considered for HBM4EU and other initiatives - either through retrospective/further analysis of existing/banked samples (letters of support for this should be included in the proposal) or through collection and biological monitoring of new samples. For the latter, EPA and HSE would not be in a position to provide access to materials collected as part of current HBM4EU efforts or through other HBM initiatives.

One of the key expectations of this research is promotion of a HBM community in Ireland that can respond to our national needs and concerns.

Sustainability Call 2017 - Project 3: What ratio of desk-based/laboratory work do you anticipate in applications?

This topic will be cofunded by the EPA and the HSE. The EPA & HSE do not want to be prescriptive and encourage potential applicants to develop innovative research approaches (which may include field-study) to address the research questions as listed in the Call Technical Description, within the indicative duration and budget allocated to the topic.

Sustainability Call 2017 - Project 3: As the EPA could be regarded as a stakeholder in this work, what level of involvement could be expected from the EPA in identifying substances of interest?

This topic will be cofunded by the EPA and the HSE. The EPA & HSE will set up and take part in the project Steering Committee, which will oversee and provide advice on the progress of the research project. Where relevant, potential applicants are encouraged to engage with the relevant stakeholders and could consider setting up stakeholder/advisory groups if necessary.

Sustainability Call 2017 - Project 3: Will an assessment of the pollutants or the impact of the pollutants on living organisms be required?

This topic will be cofunded by the EPA and the HSE. The EPA & HSE do not want to be prescriptive and encourage potential applicants to develop innovative research approaches (which may include field-study) to address the research questions as listed in the Call Technical Description, within the indicative duration and budget allocated to the topic. The scope of the proposed research must be comprehensive and represent added-value.

Additional information on Noise Topics - Sustainability Topics 4 and 5

An EPA representative recently organised a ½ day Noise Research Workshop in the EPA Richview office which gave:

  • An update on the two Noise research projects and related matters.
  • An update on the Noise Policy and Environmental Noise Directive (END) Review.
  • An update on strategic noise mapping and population exposure estimation for meeting the requirements of the European Noise Directive (OASIS)

The presentations are now available on the EPA slideshare

The Following questions were addressed at the workshop:

Q: Will either of the two Noise research projects look at the impact of noise on biodiversity – animals, plants, flora & fauna etc.

Ans: No, but this may be considered as part of any future noise research projects.

Q: Will either of the two noise research projects look at the various issues around Wind farm operations such as their potential noise impacts, as well issues around some negative public perceptions on wind farm developments etc.

Ans: No, but this may be considered as part of any future noise research projects. The Dept. of Communications Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) also mentioned the Wind Energy Planning Guidelines previously published in 2006, which are being revised and due to be published soon. 

Q: Participants raised some questions around Planning policy guidance similar to ProPG Planning & Noise Guidance (new residential development) which is about to be launched in the UK (replacing PPG24).

Ans:  We don’t have similar Noise Planning guidance in Ireland for new residential developments.  However, as part of the National Planning Framework – ‘Ireland 2040 Our Plan’ consultation process, the need  for Planning guidance relating to noise to provide tools for planners to use when assessing and granting new developments was highlighted.