Trinity College Dublin begins public phase of €400m fundraising drive

2 May 2019

Trinity College Dublin. Image: © David Soanes/

‘Inspiring Generations’ is TCD’s first major philanthropic campaign in its more than 400-year history.

Iconic city centre university Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has launched the public phase of its €400m fundraising campaign.

Entitled Inspiring Generations, the college said it is the largest philanthropic campaign to be undertaken on the island of Ireland and the first major campaign in the university’s history.

‘We are dedicated to pursuing innovation in education and research, and fearlessly advancing the cause of a pluralistic, just and sustainable society’

The campaign will include events across Europe, Australia and the US to encourage and inspire alumni and others to donate to the university.

Philanthropic funding now forms a significant part of the university’s income – just 40pc of its turnover now comes from the State, with the balance being made up through student fees, industry contracts, commercial revenue and philanthropy, according to RTÉ.

According to TCD, Inspiring Generations will support transformative educational experiences across the university that will attract the most innovative academics and the most talented students from all backgrounds, from the world over. It is envisaged that together they will research and address some of the major global issues of our time, from environmental challenges to cancer treatment.

“Trinity has a history of innovation, inspiring people to change the world,” said Fergal Naughton, CEO of Glen Dimplex and chair of the provost’s council. “Your support will allow Trinity to pursue ambitious initiatives that anticipate emerging global trends and develop solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. This campaign can be your legacy for future generations – come join us.”

Building for tomorrow

Key flagship projects that will benefit from philanthropic funding in Inspiring Generations include the TCD St James’s Cancer Institute, the new E3 Institute and the Old Library.

  • The St James’s Cancer Institute aims to transform cancer treatment in Ireland by integrating research, medicine and training with highly individualised care for cancer patients
  • Tackling global challenges across engineering, environment and emerging technologies, the landmark E3 Institute will put TCD at the forefront of the national drive to establish Ireland as a European leader in research and innovation. Aiming to find balanced solutions for a better world, building starts this year on this state-of-the-art facility
  • A redevelopment plan will protect and conserve TCD’s historic Old Library and its unique collections. It will make them more accessible to visitors with a new research study centre, improved facilities and the application of new digital technology

The TCD Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute will also be further developed as a focal point for the arts and humanities.

Priority will be given to student scholarships and new academic posts that will enable expansion and innovation across education and research.

The public launch of Inspiring Generations commences with €272m already raised, which represents 42,933 donations by 10,244 donors from 68 countries.

“At Trinity, our history inspires and informs our future,” said TCD provost Dr Patrick Prendergast. “Trinity was founded on lands granted by Dublin Corporation in 1592, and since then our college has helped to shape a better-informed and more equal society, in Ireland and around the world. We’ve achieved this by producing exceptional research, delivering a transformative education and inspiring Trinity alumni to make a positive contribution to the world.”

“We are dedicated to pursuing innovation in education and research, and fearlessly advancing the cause of a pluralistic, just and sustainable society. Inspiring Generations will enable Trinity to achieve these ambitions and inspire generations to come. Our vision is by no means wholly dependent on philanthropy, but Trinity would not be the place it is today without support from alumni and friends of the university.”

“Our ambitious campaign goals are €400m in donations and 150,000 volunteer hours. Inspiring Generations will advance Trinity into the next decade and lay the groundwork for us to inspire generations to come.”

The fundraising drive follows on from plans revealed last year by the university to build a €1bn campus in the heart of Dublin docklands. This will segue neatly with plans for a Grand Canal Innovation District that will be modelled on innovation districts such as Cambridge Square in Boston as well as other similar districts in cities such as Toronto, Rotterdam and Barcelona.

The plan is to build a 5.5-acre campus in the Grand Canal Dock district that will house a new campus, which will also be a hub for start-ups, a landing zone for foreign direct investment companies, home to a community of venture capital companies, and a location for public and civic spaces.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years