A total of 27 Irish Higher Education Institutions are currently participating in the Brazilian student mobility programme – Science without Borders.

Ireland’s participation in the programme is co-ordinated by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Universities Association (IUA), Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI), Higher Education Colleges Association (HECA) and the higher education institutions.

The initiative is a large scale nationwide scholarship programme primarily funded by the Brazilian federal government. The programme seeks to strengthen and expand the initiatives of science and technology, innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers.  It is planned to support the mobility of 101,000 Brazilian students over the duration of the initiative from 2012-2016.

The programme is a joint effort of the Ministry of Education (MEC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) through their respective funding agencies – CAPES and CNPq.

The participating Irish HEIs currently are:

Universities (IUA)

Institutes of Technology (IOTI)

Higher Education Colleges Association (HECA)

Other Providers

Further Information

Welcome Events

Scholarships for Brazilian Students for PhD programmes

A range of scholarships are available for Brazilian researchers from CAPES – the Brazilian Scholarships Agency

Scholarships include:
Full PhD
12 month scholarship (renewable up to 48 months total). Applications open until 30/08/16, start date from July to November 2017

Sandwich PhD
Minimum 4 months, max 12 months
Applications open until 30/09/16, start date from March to October 2017.
Please note, these scholarships are open to all areas of study, and are not related to Science without Borders.

English Language Test

Irish higher education institutions participating in the SWB Programme accept English language competence scores as follows:

Proficiency testing in the language accepted by the host institution

Submit test Toefl (Test of English as a Foreign Language) in the modalities PBT (Paper Based Test), minimum score of 513 points or IBT (Internet Based Test), minimum score of 65 points, or CBT (Computer Based Test) minimum score of 183 points or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) minimum score of 5.5 points, or Cambridge Exam level FCE (First Certificate in English) performed after August 1st 2011. However, some Irish Universities may require higher scores on proficiency tests.

Note that TOEFL ITP is not accepted for direct entry to academic programmes and students holding this test may be required to undertake another test and/or a period of English language preparation prior to commencement of the academic programme.

Note that the minimum requirement for students commencing 6 months English programmes prior to academic studies is TOEFL PBT 477, TOEFL IBT 53, TOEFL CBT 153, IELTS 4.5, Cambridge Exam PET

Further Information: IELTS is the International English Language Testing System.

Student Household Allowance

  • Students located in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway are deemed by CAPES to reside in “high cost cities” and thus will receive an additional allowance of €400 per student per month paid directly to students by CAPES.
  • Students in all other locations will be provided with a “purchase card system” by their higher education institution (HEI).  The maximum value of the “card” will be €400 per student per month.   Students are advised to contact their higher education institution for exact details of the provision in their HEI.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Higher Education Authority?

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the planning and development body for higher education and research in Ireland. It acts as the National Agency for the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme. The HEA is also the national co-ordinator of the Brazil: Science without Borders Programme and administers the Government of Ireland International Scholarships.

Does the HEA make payments to students?

The HEA does not make payments directly to students. The HEA acts as an intermediary between the Brazilian authorities and the Higher Education Institutions.

If a student has to return home before completing his/her course in Ireland what is the situation regarding their scholarship? Do they have to repay CAPES?

It depends on the case. If the student has a medical reason to quit the programme (illness, depression, pregnancy) he/she must prove it with documentation. In these cases there will be no charges imposed on the student. If a student forsakes the programme without a specific reason, this student will have to repay CAPES all the money that was invested on the scholarship.


A student who returns home due to a pregnancy: the student must return to Brazil, but she doesn’t have to repay CAPES. The main reason for this decision is that the SwB scholarship won’t offer any support to dependents.

A student who returns home due to a family bereavement: CAPES accepts this return. It must be informed and registered. After a few days (15 to 20 days) the student must evaluate if he or she will be able to continue the studies abroad.

A student who returns home due to ill health: the student must return to Brazil, but he/she doesn’t have to repay CAPES. The illness must be proved with medical documents.
Can students defer their scholarship and return to Ireland to complete their programme at a later date?

No. When a student returns to Brazil his/her scholarship is terminated. In order to participate again in SwB, he or she will have to start a new inscription, in a new Call.

Intake 2014

How far in advance of the commencement of higher education studies can a student arrive in Ireland.

Students may arrive up to 20 days before the start of their studies.