Trinity College Dublin submits plans for Innovation Hub in city centre

20 Nov 2020

Plans for the Trinity Innovation Hub. Image: TCD

This is the first phase of the 10-year Grand Canal Innovation District development.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has taken a step forward with its development of an entrepreneurship and innovation campus in the city centre, submitting plans for a new Innovation Hub.

TCD submitted a planning application for the hub this week, with a view to having the new space fully operational in the first quarter of 2022.

The plans include the 5,500 sq m Innovation Hub, with space for early-stage start-ups, research-active corporates, a meeting space and a programme of activities for people who work and live in the local community. There are also plans for a new public square with café and seating.

‘Dublin has an extraordinary cluster of technology and life science companies, but we now need to bring those companies closer together’

This is the first phase of TCD’s Grand Canal Innovation District (GCID) plan, which received Government approval in January of this year. The Innovation Hub is one of several planned developments for the district, which are set to be completed over the next 10 years.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said it is welcome news that the first phase of the innovation district will soon be in development.

“When the Cabinet approved the project in January, we did so because of the critical role innovation will play in supporting the future of the Irish economy and the opportunity for GCID to position Dublin into the future as a European tech hub,” he added.

“It will act as a location for Irish start-up companies with global ambition, as well as attracting new sources of foreign direct investment.”

‘Create an enterprise culture’

Plans for a €1bn entrepreneurship and innovation campus were first revealed in 2018. Upon completion, the 5.5 acre GCID site is expected to include academic space, commercial space and cultural space.

It will be located on the former site of L Connaughton & Sons in Grand Canal Dock, close to Google, Facebook and other major tech companies. TCD will act as the anchor tenant in the centre of the district.

“Trinity College Dublin is spearheading this national project to create an innovation district in the docklands of our capital city,” said the university’s provost, Patrick Prendergast.

“Dublin already has an extraordinary cluster of technology and life science companies, but we now need to bring those companies closer together to create an enterprise culture that encourages entrepreneurs to create new companies that will either become world players themselves or be the basis for expansion of existing companies.”

The GCID is being supported by Enterprise Ireland under its Regional Enterprise Development Fund. It is also supported by the Urban Regeneration Development Fund as part of Project Ireland 2040.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said the development would “provide important collaboration space and opportunities” for entrepreneurs, researchers, start-ups and corporate teams. “Investment in innovation is critical to ensure the future competitiveness of the Irish economy,” she added.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic