The 2020 Student Scheme is now open for applications. The closing date for submissions is Monday, 23rd March 2020.
The Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme was established by Irish Aid in 2011 to provide students with the opportunity to travel to a developing country to research and produce a media project focusing on development issues, and enhance their understanding of the developing world.
In partnership with Newstalk and TheJournal.ie, the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme offers two students the opportunity to travel to one of Irish Aid’s partner countries (Ethiopia; Malawi; Mozambique; Sierra Leone; Tanzania; Uganda; Vietnam and Zambia), to research and produce a media project focusing on development issues.
The successful students will work with experienced journalists to develop their story proposals and will have them published by one of the Fund’s two media partners.
The theme of this year’s Student Scheme is climate action. Applicants are encouraged to explore climate issues in areas such as affordable and clean energy; the sustainable use of marine resources; and halting deforestation, desertification and biodiversity loss. However, all development-focused proposals will also be considered. Visit our project showcase page to see examples of development-focused stories; and our news section for details on information sessions.
The Student Scheme is open to students from all disciplines; however, applicants must supply samples of their journalistic work in the online application form.
Students are selected via a two-step process: shortlisting and interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend for interview with the mentors and a representative from Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Student Scheme Guidelines
Terms and Conditions
- Students may only submit one application to the current funding round for the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme (i.e. multiple applications from the same individual will not be accepted).
- Applications must be made using the official online system.
- All proposed projects must entail travel to an Irish Aid priority country (see https://www.irishaid.ie/what-we-do/countries-where-we-work/) and have a strong focus on development issues.
- All proposed projects must be new, i.e. they must not have been broadcast or published in any format previously.
- Proposals that promote the work of a single agency / organisation or are of a campaigning nature will not be considered.
- Applicants must submit samples of their work along with their application form. These can be sample print / online articles, broadcast projects or multimedia projects, or work that has previously been published or broadcast in media outlets (including college media outlets). All work submitted must demonstrate applicants’ journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research.
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview.
- Funding to cover travel to and accommodation and subsistence expenses in the relevant country will be disbursed to the winning entrants upon signing a contract between each entrant and Irish Aid.
- The copyright of the final product will remain with the applicant. However, materials produced must be made available – free of charge – for potential future use by Irish Aid, including on the Irish Aid and Simon Cumbers Media Fund websites. Irish Aid will at all times acknowledge copyright.
The judging panel will select a shortlist from the applications received, who will be invited to attend an interview.
The interview panel will choose two winners of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme.
Applications will be judged on the following criteria:
- Overall quality of the proposal.
- Demonstrated capacity to undertake research-based media projects.
- Demonstrated understanding of development issues.
- Potential impact and reach of the proposed media project (note: proposals for multimedia projects will be favoured by the judging panel, whereby students commit to documenting their experiences through a variety of methods and media – written, online, audiovisual, photography, etc.).
The two winning applicants will then be invited to meet with representatives from Irish Aid and the Fund administrators to decide upon an appropriate budget to fund their trip.
Who Can Apply?
- The Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme is open to all full-time or part-time third-level students over the age of 18, including students at institutes of further education; institutes of technology; universities; and those participating in PLC (Post-Leaving Certificate) courses.
- Entries will only be accepted from students who are currently enrolled in a third-level educational institution based in the Republic of Ireland.
- Team entries or joint applications will not be accepted.
- Entries are welcome from students of all disciplines; however, students are required to demonstrate journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research by submitting samples of their work with their application forms.
How to Apply
To apply to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme, students must complete and submit an online application form. In their application form, students must describe the project they would like to undertake if awarded funding from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. All proposed projects must entail travel to an Irish Aid priority country (see https://www.irishaid.ie/what-we-do/countries-where-we-work/) and must have a strong focus on development issues.
- Along with the online application form, students must submit three samples of journalistic style work when applying to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme. These can be sample print / online articles, broadcast projects or multimedia projects, or work that has previously been published or broadcast in media outlets (including college media outlets).
- All work submitted must demonstrate applicants’ journalistic capacity and their ability to undertake in-depth research.
- Samples of print / online articles should be no longer than 1,000 words each.
- Samples of broadcast projects should not exceed five minutes each in duration.
- Students must also submit a letter of recommendation from a member of staff from their academic institution.
The judges will select a shortlist of applicants who will be invited to attend an interview with the panel, which will be made up of the mentors listed above, in addition to a representative from Irish Aid. The aim of the interview is to assess the capabilities of the applicant and also to equip the applicant with real-life experience of pitching a story to an editor, which can be directly applied to a future career in journalism.