Challenge-based funding is an exciting new approach to funding academic research. It differs from more traditional forms of research funding in two important ways: firstly, it establishes a specific challenge (or problem) to address early in the research process and secondly, focuses strongly on the delivery of solutions in well-defined timeframes. To ensure that challenge-based funding solves real-world problems, it emphasises engagement with the beneficiaries of research such as key stakeholders, end-users and the general public. Challenge-based funding therefore focuses on challenges that are both visionary and inspirational but also achievable. Accelerating the transformative impact of research lies at the heart of SFI’s challenge-based funding approach.
SFI is a leader in the development of challenge-based funding that leverages cutting-edge STEM research to address significant societal challenges.
SFI currently runs a number of challenge prizes and challenge-related activities, and expects to expand its portfolio over time to address various societal issues using STEM-led solutions.