Silicon Docks could be home to €250m Trinity technology campus

2 May 2017

Grand Canal Docks sign. Image: Lloyd Carr/Shutterstock

Trinity College Dublin is eyeing a spot in Silicon Docks, with plans to build a technology campus that will cost €250m over five years.

The region of Grand Canal Docks – regularly referred to as Silicon Docks – will soon have another major addition, as Trinity College Dublin (TCD) revealed plans to develop a new technology campus.

According to The Irish Times, the university has acquired a space of 100,000 sq ft at Grand Canal Quay to build on the site and eventually move much of its research activity to the centre.

The site will also serve as a TCD start-up hub for both internal and externally rented office space, close to the tech giants of Google, Facebook and Twitter.

It is hoped that 30pc of the campus will be made available to private enterprise, along with other commercial opportunities such as shops and rental properties.

The development will cost somewhere in the region of €250m over the next five years, as part of a greater development for a €1bn ‘innovation district’ in the area.

TCD said the funding will come from multiple sources including donations given by philanthropists, as well as from the State and banks.

The first step of the project will see the development of TCD’s engineering, energy and environment institute for research, which will hold 200 academic researchers and 1,000 new student places.

Described as one of the university’s most ambitious projects, Trinity provost Prof Patrick Prendergast said: “We can really rapidly achieve something of true international scale that will provide an opportunity post-Brexit to differentiate Dublin as a location of choice for innovation.”

Dependent on State funding

However, the project still has to get the all-clear for State funding from the Government – specifically, the Department of Education and Skills. Without this, the project would be unlikely to go ahead, according to Diarmuid O’Brien, TCD’s head of research and innovation.

A spokesperson for the department said to The Irish Times that while it “acknowledges the benefits of the project in question, there are many competing demands on the higher education capital budget. The distribution of funding must be considered in that context.”

Over the next six months, TCD will begin drawing up concrete cost estimates, which would be presented to potential funders, including the Government.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic