Advice for applicants and academic referees

Advice for applicants and academic referees

Writing for a lay reader

Applicant's to taught Master's degrees are asked to provide a rationale for the course they have selected and why the content will enable them to progress their professional goals.

Applicants to the George Moore Scholars Programme who wish to pursue mainly research-focused Master's degrees are asked to write a summary of their research in a style suitable for ‘the lay reader’. Assessment panels will include senior academics but they may not always have specialist knowledge of your subject area. The George Moore Scholars assessment panel will also include non-academic members. Writing for the lay reader will ensure your application is jargon-free and help to give assessors a clear overview of the aims and methodology of your research.

When considering whether an application should be recommended for support, panel members will take careful note of the comments of any referees consulted. But they will form their own judgement on a project, and the lay summary is crucial for that. When we ask for information that is suitable for the lay reader, it is essential, therefore that you write in a way that allows non-subject-specialists to come to a clear understanding of your proposed research.

Writing for a lay reader means: not assuming any background knowledge about your subject area; spelling out in the clearest terms your research objectives, methodology, and intended outputs; and explaining any technical or specialist terms.

Advice on choosing a referee

We rely on references to understand how experts in the field view a proposal. Applicants should choose their nominated referees with care. The reference process is part of the application process and referees will be able to upload their reference confidentially to the application system.

References need to give a detailed appraisal of the merit of the proposed research, and a reasoned judgement about the applicant’s suitability to undertake the work.

You are advised to seek references from academics in your institution who are familiar enough with your work to offer an informed assessment.

Advice for referees

You will receive a link from the MindAClient application system once the student for whom you are providing a reference has submitted their application. We would be grateful if you could provide a one-page, considered assessment of the academic ability and other qualities of the student, drawing on specifics where possible (courses, grades, engagement in course or programme, other engagements known to you) to validate your perspective. Please note that not all applicants will be selected for interview, so your reference is important in making the case for the student.

The reference may be uploaded to the MindAClient application system using the link you have received from the system.

Scholarship schemes in 2024

Applicants may be in in two categories (a) 2023 graduates or those expecting to graduate in 2024, who are applying for the George Moore Scholarships or (b) graduates from 2019 onwards, who required additional work experience in a policy or business field in order to be accepted onto the course to which they are applying, who are applying for the Early Career Scholarship.

Should referees comment on the individual applicant as well as the project?

Yes, we do need to know about the suitability of the applicant. While we don’t need a character reference, we do need to know about the suitability of applicants to undertake the research or taught course they are proposing.

What happens if we can’t secure a statement from a referee that you’ve nominated?

We advise that you check that your referees are willing and available before submitting an application.

How will my application be assessed?

Your application is assessed as follows:

  1. Submitted applications are reviewed for by the programme team to confirm they are eligible and complete.
  2. The programme team does an initial review of applications across all disciplinary areas. Due to increased application numbers, not all applications will proceed to the academic review stage. If you do proceed to the academic review stage, applications and all associated documents, including your academic references, are shared with academic reviewers in your chosen field of study. The role of the academic reviewer is to evaluate your application.
  3. Based on the application and the recommendation of the academic reviewers, the programme team draw up a shortlist of approximately 70 candidates for interview.
  4. Applicants who are not called for interview are notified.
  5. Applicants selected for interview meet with the programme team, which comprises the Director, George Moore Scholars programme, an Ireland Funds representative and a Trustee for a 20 minute discussion about their application and their intended programme of study.
  6. Following the interview, applicants will not be notified of outcomes until they have submitted a university offer to the George Moore Scholars programme. Submitting a university offer does not guarantee that a Scholarship will be awarded, but it is used to inform the process of Scholarship allocation. It is expected that interviewees will hear of their outcomes over the March to May period, shortly after they submit to the programme a university course offer. This may be the course that is included in your application or it may be another course, if you have applied for several simultaneously.

Conflict of interest

The George Moore Scholars programme is committed to ensuring that all people who are eligible for and interested in applying to the programme are in a position to do so. To ensure fairness of treatment, the programme team and academic reviewers must declare a conflict of interest if any applicant is known to them personally or professionally. If this is the case, the application can progress but the individual concerned will be replaced in the process by another individual who does not know the applicant.

Can I apply if I am already on my Master's course?

The George Moore Scholars programme will not support students who are already on their Master's course. It is intended for students who have not yet started their Master's degree.

What is the value of the 'average' Scholarship and what is this based on?

Scholarships range from approximately fifteen-thousand to sixty-five thousand euros per annum. This is based on a budget, including documentary evidence, provided by the applicants. Most of the award is intended to cover the cost of tuition but costs for accommodation, travel, health insurance and other educational necessities may also be included.

What is expected of me if I am selected as a George Moore Scholar?

The Scholarships are awarded to people who we hope will progress to have significant positive impact in their chosen field of study. We hope that Scholars will stay connected with us through an Alumni Network, to help to build your career and networks and to support future Scholars. Scholars are expected to contribute to programme evaluation, through the completion of surveys, interviews and focus groups. Scholars will also be invited to participate in promoting the programme to future applicants.

There is no other formal expectation of George Moore Scholars, other than they consider 'paying it forward' by supporting other people with talent, drive and a need for support at a key developmental stage in their lives.

Thinking about who to nominate? Five tips for applicants

  1. Do ask your referees before nominating them – it sounds obvious, but lots of applicants don’t ask their referees before naming them on the application form.
  2. Consider naming referees from overseas, if that’s appropriate for your application. As long as they are familiar with your work and your research plans.
  3. Check that your referees will be available during the assessment process.
  4. Choose referees who you know will have the time to do a good job: a rushed reference is rarely a strong one.
  5. Ensure that referees know what’s required of them.