The Fund has delivered information sessions across the country to prospective applicants to the 2018 Student Scheme over the past number of weeks. Following sessions in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Galway, we have compiled responses to a list of the most frequently asked questions.
How many students will be funded through the 2018 Student Scheme?
Two students will be funded through the 2018 Student Scheme. They will also receive one-to-one mentoring from a journalist from either Newstalk or TheJournal.ie.
I do not study journalism or media. Can I still apply?
Yes. The Student Scheme is open to students of all disciplines. Many former recipients have not been journalism or media students. The only condition in this regard is that you are a third level student – full-time or part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate – currently registered in a college or university in the Republic of Ireland, that you are over 18 years of age, and that you show journalistic abilities in the three samples you submit with your application.
I do not have any published samples of work. Can I still apply?
Yes. The three work samples to be submitted in support of your application do not have to be published. However, they must be journalistic in style – in terms of language and tone – and demonstrate the research, initiative and originality that a strong story demands. For the sake of your application, samples do not have to be development-based.
Samples submitted can be drawn from print, online, broadcast (radio / video) and multimedia. For written articles, the length should not exceed 1,000 words each. In the case of broadcast samples, each piece must be under five minutes in duration. A wide variety of file types are accepted.
Where can I find inspiration for my project?
Previous recipients have drawn inspiration for their projects from a variety of sources. Applicants should examine if a particular area of interest at home can be applied to a development context and explored.
Applicants are encouraged to review the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals are wide-ranging in the areas they address and represent a good point of departure for a project topic.
Further to this, we would advise prospective applicants to consult our Project Showcase to get a sense of previous recipients’ work and chosen topics.
Applicants are also invited to examine the areas of work of NGOs and charities that operate in developing countries. Many of these organisations publish reports on their work. However, applicants should note, a project cannot focus solely on the work of one organisation or be campaigning in nature.
Similarly, Irish Aid produces an Annual Report. As well as containing useful case studies and information on Irish Aid’s priority areas for action, it details the various activities carried out through Ireland’s aid programme across the organisation’s partner countries and the results they achieve.
It says on the website that each applicant must submit a letter of recommendation from a member of teaching staff in their academic institution. What should be in the letter of recommendation?
This should be written by a member of teaching staff who knows you and who can confirm your suitability for the Student Scheme in terms of your ability to work on the direction of your mentor, on your own initiative in a developing country, and to produce a quality media project. It does not need to be any longer than two to three sentences.
Can I travel to any developing country?
No. Applicants to the Student Scheme must base their project in one of Irish Aid’s partner countries. These are:
- Sierra Leone
Can I stipulate the media outlet from which I want to receive mentorship?
No. That decision rests with the mentors. However, you can express a preference in your application.
If I am successful, when can I travel and how long can I travel for?
The recipients of the 2018 Student Scheme will be notified in May. After that recipients will meet with representatives of the Fund and Irish Aid to agree their project budgets. Recipients will then meet with their mentors and agree a timeline for the project. Once this timeline and project progress has been approved by the mentor, the recipient is free to travel. Typically, Student Scheme recipients travel between July and October and spend 7-10 days in their chosen country. Successful projects under the 2018 Student Scheme must be completed by 31st December 2018.