DOROTHY COFUND fellows are encouraged to include a non-academic secondment within their fellowship.

See below for information about how the secondment is structured, potential hosts and more.

Secondment FAQ

You can download a PDF of the secondment FAQ here.
Updated 12.06.2023

Secondment FAQ

  • What is the purpose of the DOROTHY COFUND secondment? Will I continue to work on my research in a different host organisation?

The secondment element of the programme is a non-academic secondment. Fellows should not continue their main DOROTHY research project during the secondment. The secondment should allow the fellow to develop relevant skills in a non-academic context, and/or work to share their research skills or research results in a non-academic context.

  • Do I need to include a secondment as part of my application?

No. The secondment is not an obligatory part of a DOROTHY COFUND fellowship. Applications that do not detail a secondment will not be evaluated negatively on this basis.

However, fellows are strongly encouraged to undertake a secondment. If a secondment is not identified at application stage, it can be negotiated once the fellowship has begun.

  • If I undertake a secondment, is my fellowship extended?

Any secondment takes place within the 36 months of the fellowship. No additional time is allotted.

  • How long will the secondment be?

Secondments should last between three and six months.

  • Where is the best place for me to undertake a secondment?

DOROTHY fellows should propose a secondment in an organisation relevant to their research into public health crises and their legacies, and relevant to their career goals. This might be, for example, working in a relevant industry setting, or working in a public sector organisation that would allow the fellow to learn about links between their research and policy development.

Click here for a list of potential secondment hosts within Ireland.

  • Does my secondment have to be with an organisation working on public health crises?

Your secondment should be in an organisation relevant to a) your research project on public health crises, and/or b) your skills development. Your secondment therefore must be relevant to your fellowship. This does not mean that your secondment must involve an organisation purely dedicated to public health crises. See our list of potential secondment hosts for examples of the types of organisations where fellows may wish to undertake secondments.

  • How do I organise the secondment?

Responsibility for organising the secondment rests with the applicant. Applicants should agree their non-academic secondment with their supervisory panel. Applicants’ main supervisors must be aware of secondment plans and may be involved in designing and arranging the secondment, along with the applicant and secondment host.

The Irish Research Council is not able to advise on secondments or facilitate contact between applicants and potential hosts.

If a secondment takes place, there will need to be an agreement drawn up between the secondment host organisation and your main host institution (the Irish HEI/RPO). Remember that your main host institution will remain your employer throughout the entire DOROTHY COFUND fellowship.

  • When should I get in touch with a potential secondment host?
  • I work with an organisation interested in working with DOROTHY COFUND fellows. Should we wait until after applications are processed before responding to any interested applicants?

Secondments are arranged between the researcher and the host organisation, along with the researcher’s supervisor and their main host institution (the university that will act as their employer throughout the fellowship). Applicants and potential secondment hosts are able to begin discussing secondments at the application stage, allowing interested researchers to include details of an arranged potential secondment in their applications. Until the assessment and interview process is complete, any secondment remains potential, as the application will need to be successful to allow a secondment to begin.

Secondments can also be arranged once researchers have begun their fellowships.

  • What will the secondment be like? Is it an internship?

The structure and nature of the secondment is entirely up to negotiation between the fellow, their main supervisor and the secondment host. The secondment may be more like an internship, or like a consultancy position. For some fellows, the secondment may be an integral part of their fellowship design, allowing for work that is essential to other parts of their fellowship. The precise working arrangements and type of work should be discussed and negotiated between the fellow, the secondment host and the main supervisor.

  • What is the benefit to the secondment host?

The structure and nature of the secondment is up to negotiation between the fellow, their main supervisor and the secondment host. This allows for mutual benefit. Secondment host organisations stand to work with world-class researchers, who will continue to be employees of their main host organisation.

  • Who will I report to during the secondment?

Any secondment organised should include an agreed ‘secondment supervisor.’ This will be someone who is responsible for ensuring the fellow is integrated into the secondment organisation, and someone to whom the fellow should report during the secondment, e.g. a line manager.

The secondment host will join the fellow’s supervisory panel. More details on this are available in the DOROTHY COFUND Guide for Applicants.

  • Does the secondment supervisor and/or secondment host need to provide any evidence of their support to the project?

The participation of a secondment supervisor is not required at application stage. However, if a secondment is agreed, a ‘secondment supervisor’ (a representative of the secondment host organisation) will become part of the fellow’s supervisory panel, and evidence of their involvement will be required in the fellow’s Career Development Plan. Please see Section 5 of the Terms and Conditions for more detail.

  • There is a list of secondment hosts on the DOROTHY COFUND site. Do I need to choose one of the organisations from this list for my secondment?

The list of potential secondment hosts on the DOROTHY site is indicative only. It is not exhaustive. Fellows are free to arrange a secondment with any organisation of their choosing, in consultation with their main supervisor. The organisations on the DOROTHY COFUND site’s list are organisations that have indicated a willingness to act as hosts. If you do choose a secondment with an organisation from this list, it will still be up to you and your main supervisor to discuss arrangements with them and negotiate the shape of an appropriate secondment.

  • Can I organise a secondment during the outgoing phase of my fellowship?

Yes. The secondment can take place during the outgoing phase or return (within Ireland) phase of the fellowship.

  • Can I organise a secondment in Ireland during my outgoing phase?

No. Fellows are free to undertake a secondment during the outgoing phase or return phase of their fellowship, but not to return to Ireland during the 18-month outgoing phase, or to undertake a secondment in the outgoing host country during the return phase. However, it is possible to organise a secondment in a Third Country (see below).

  • I would like to undertake a secondment in an organisation that is not located in Ireland or in my outgoing host country. Is this possible?

Yes. Partner organisations providing secondments can be established in any country, i.e., in any EU Member State, Horizon 2020 Associated Country, or non-associated Third Country. However, eligibility rules around mobility apply, similar to the rules about the outgoing phase. If a secondment to an organisation in any Third Country constitutes the main part of the research training activities, researchers must be nationals or long-term residents of a EU Member State or Associated Country. See the Guide for Applicants for further details around mobility requirements.

  • I am a national of a country in Asia who has lived in Ireland since September 2018. However, I will have spent only 4 years and 9 months as a researcher in Ireland at the time of the application deadline. In that case, can I do a secondment to an institution in the US in the second phase of my fellowship? By the second phase, I will have completed five years as a researcher in an EU, AC country.

It is important to note the general mobility requirements governing the fellowship. See the Guide for Applicants for full details.
The general Horizon 2020 Guide for Applicants states: “If a secondment to an organisation in any third country constitutes the main part of the research training activities, researchers must be nationals or long-term residents of a EU Member State or Associated Country. Long-term residence means a period of legal and continuous residence within EU Member States or Horizon 2020 Associated Countries of at least 5 consecutive years. Periods of absence from the territory of the Member State or Horizon 2020 Associated Country shall be taken into account for the calculation of this period where they are shorter than 6 consecutive months and do not exceed in total 10 months within this period of five years.”
In the instance described above, if the applicant has 5 years of continual residence within EU member states by the date required – i.e., when the secondment will take place – they will be eligible for a secondment within the USA.

  • What is the status of my research expenses budget during the secondment?

Where applicable, reasonable relocation expenses will be treated as eligible research costs. Researchers will continue to be able to access their research expenses budget during the secondment for the purposes of approved research expenses.

  • Can I include two secondments in my fellowship?

Yes. It is possible for a fellow to undertake a secondment in both the outgoing and return phase of their fellowship, as long as the total secondment time does not exceed 6 months (i.e., 3 + 3 months).

Potential secondment hosts

The following organisations within Ireland have indicated an interest in acting as potential secondment hosts for DOROTHY fellows, where there is alignment between the organisation’s mission and the topic of the DOROTHY applicant. This list is not exhaustive or exclusive. Fellows will be able to propose alternative non-academic secondment hosts.

Potential secondment hosts

Potential secondment host profiles

Read our profile features to learn more about some of the organisations who have expressed an interest in acting as potential secondment hosts.

To see all profiles, click here.

Organisations currently profiled include (this list will be updated as new features are added):

ActionAid Ireland


Bantry Marine Research Station



National Disability Authority


Radmol AI

Science Gallery International

TASC (Thinktank for Action on Social Change)

Young Social Innovators


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