Maynooth University opens €20m research hub

6 Oct 2015

Students outside the new Eolas facility, via Maynooth University

Maynooth University has opened a new €20.6m innovation facility called Eolas, which the college president, Professor Philip Nolan, calls a “research powerhouse”.

Hoping the new building will drive innovative teaching methods and foster collaboration with industry, Nolan anticipates Eolas becoming “a hub” to deepen a culture of ‘spin-out’ companies in Maynooth.

Eolas houses a group of bodies, such as the University’s research institutes (Hamilton and IVI), and the computer science and electronic engineering departments, as well as an incubator called MaynoothWorks.

The incubator has client companies already in situ, including Avectas, Accuplex Diagnostics, Videobot and Verifly.

The entire Eolas facility has 10 Gbps connection speeds, 3,000 network points and WiFi capacity for more than 1,000 simultaneous users. It can accommodate 575 staff, with teaching facilities for 350 students in labs and classrooms at any one time.

Breaking down boundaries

“As a hub for the fields of information and communication technology,” said Nolan, “Eolas will break down the boundaries that too often exist between academia and enterprise – and between students and the world of work.”

“Whether it’s inspiring students who pass by conversations about the latest start-up on their way to class, or it’s a new company setting up shop near the students it hopes will one day fill their skills gap, Eolas is about facilitating connections and driving ICT innovation,” said Nolan.

“From its functionality and design to the quality of the work going on under its roof, Eolas is becoming a natural hub not only for the University’s ICT academics and industry partners, but for the very robust ICT community within this region.”

MaynoothWorks received €1.6 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland, with the latter’s research and innovation manager Gearóid Mooney noting that co-locating academia and industry is a proven recipe for success.

“The sparks of creativity that come about when entrepreneurs have ready access to research talent and potential employees have been seen the world over.

“Enterprise Ireland is committed to developing campus-based incubation centres and MaynoothWorks has all the elements necessary to make a real impact.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic