Under the leadership of Professor Alma McCarthy as the Principal Investigator, the 3-year funded project will research, develop and evaluate a talent management model for Science Foundation Ireland drawing on best practice from four international science foundations (NSFs) globally. Public research institutes/ NSFs tend to differ from typical public sector organisations as they are characterised by high turnover, contract employment, and highly skilled staff.  Therefore, these organisations merit particular research attention to better understand specific organisational and contextual factors impacting effective talent management.  Many of the world’s leading science funding agencies significantly impact their nation’s economic and social development.  Their ability to do so as efficiently and effectively as possible is largely determined by the knowledge, skills and abilities of their most important asset – their human capital.  This project will employ a cross-national research design across five small advanced and larger economies to identify best international practice.  This project will assist SFI in meeting its Agenda 2020 objectives through efficient and effective talent management.


During the 2019 Irish Academy of Management the Talent Management in SFI project team received the Best Paper Award in the track Healthcare and Public Sector management, sponsored by Trinity College. The award was given for the paper A Bibliometric Analysis of the Intellectual Structure of Talent Management Research: Accounting for Context. The paper combines a structured literature review with content analysis and expert insight to investigate the conceptual relationships between talent management research in public sector and private sector research.