Government plans €5m tech centre for construction research

21 Jul 2022

Frank Kelly, Construction Industry Federation; Leo Clancy, Enterprise Ireland; Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD; Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, lecturer in mechanical engineering at NUI Galway; Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, president of NUI Galway; and Johanna Varghese, Irish Green Building Council. Image: Maxwells

Based at NUI Galway, the construction tech centre will join eight other technology centres nationwide supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

NUI Galway is to be the base for a new technology centre that will accelerate research and innovation within the construction and built environment sector.

The Government announced today (21 July) that it will provide €5m in funding for the establishment of the centre. This funding will be spread out over a five-year period.

Once the centre is up and running, it will involve a consortium of researchers from NUI Galway, as well as Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork. The consortium will work closely with the Irish Green Building Council.

The researchers’ work will be organised under five pillars to address urgent areas: productivity, affordability and cost; quality and safety; sustainability; skills and training; and collaboration.

“This new construction technology centre will make sure we are at the cutting edge of new developments in the sector, making sure Irish companies and the taxpayer are getting the best value for money, while building this important infrastructure in the most modern and efficient way possible,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD.

Varadkar added that the Government is investing billions in building new homes and infrastructure, and the tech centre will feed into these plans.

“We’re making sure that a diverse range of academics, skilled craft workers, industry experts and thought leaders feed into the work of the centre, so that when businesses come for advice, they get accurate, up-to-date information that is informed by a broad range of expertise across the sector.”

Enterprise Ireland worked with EY to develop the specifications for the centre. They engaged with key firms, stakeholders, national and international experts to identify the construction sector’s needs for the future. The new centre aims to focus on innovation in residential construction in line with the Government’s housing strategy.

Prof Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, the centre’s NUI Galway leads, said the consortium would “bring together the whole value chain to accelerate people-centric innovation in construction and the built environment that allows industry increase their capacity and competitiveness, while creating a sustainable society and economy”.

The new centre will join eight other technology centres around the country. These centres employ a combined total of 320 researchers, who collaborate with member companies.

It is part of a joint initiative between IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, which has been in operation for the past 12 years. In that time, researchers in Ireland have engaged and worked collaboratively with thousands of companies.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.