Trinity College Dublin unveils plans for €60m E3 Institute

25 May 2018

Aerial view of the planned location of the E3 Institute. Image: Trinity College Dublin

The E3 Institute will provide 1,800 new STEM places for students in Ireland.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is set to become home to a €60m E3 Institute, involving three key areas: engineering, energy and environment.

As well as Government funding, the E3 Institute will be funded by the single largest donation from Irish philanthropists in the State’s history, as the Naughton Foundation – established by the founder of the Glen Dimplex Group, Dr Martin Naughton, along with his wife Carmel – has donated €25m to the project.

Additional funding will be made available through the Department of Education and Skills, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and other philanthropic contributions.

A major coup for TCD

The Learning Foundry will be an integral element of the E3 Institute and will consist of a state-of-the-art 6,086 sq m facility on the main TCD campus in Dublin city centre. This will deliver an innovative and interactive learning space for undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, and aims to be a new kind of educational experience, focusing on collaborative, project-based work. Work will commence on the space this year, with a projected completion date of 2022 on the cards.

The schools of engineering, computer science and statistics, and natural sciences will share the new Learning Foundry, which will have capacity for 1,800 additional places for STEM students. This constitutes a 50pc increase in STEM places over 10 years.

From first year, students will engage in project-oriented learning and working in teams. This approach aims to foster entrepreneurial and critical-thinking skills, as well as creativity and teamwork.

New postgraduate courses will be created around six themes: cities, environment, data, resources, production and wellbeing. New interdisciplinary programmes will be developed in areas such as technology for change, smart cities, data science, sustainable energy, climate change, sustainable development and spatial data, among many others.

Preparing for a data-driven Ireland

Provost of TCD, Dr Patrick Prendergast, noted: “Climate change, renewable energy, personalised data, water, connectivity and sustainable manufacturing are just some of the global challenges that our future graduates will be equipped to understand and lead in the technology-enhanced ecosystems of the 21st century.

“With the E3 Institute, we aim to enable new research around these areas of global challenge, create new curricula in STEM and attract many more students to our university.”

A STEM leader by 2026

Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, added: “We have set the ambition to make Ireland a European leader in STEM education by 2026. We are undergoing a technological revolution globally. If Ireland is to be at the forefront of this transformation, we must be a leader in nurturing, developing and deploying STEM talent.”

Martin Naughton said that Ireland will need increasing numbers of engineers, scientists and IT specialists among other STEM graduates in order to fix the skills shortage and tackle the major global challenges of the modern world. “Throughout my life in business, I have been fortunate to have been able to play my part in effecting positive societal change. Education has a central role in effecting such change and it is for this reason we have decided to make this donation to Trinity’s ambitious plans for the E3 Institute.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects