UCD to double start-up capacity through a €6.5m expansion

16 Aug 2018

Tom Flanagan, director of enterprise and commercialisation at UCD. Image: Nick Bradshaw/Fotonic

New expansion is in response to demand from ambitious entrepreneurs who want to leverage the NovaUCD ecosystem.

University College Dublin’s (UCD) centre for entrepreneurship, NovaUCD, is to expand its capacity to house early-stage start-ups by more than 50pc with a new €6.5m development project.

The project to renovate and extend the facility’s east courtyard commenced recently and is expected to be completed within 12 months.

‘The development of the east courtyard will enable us to increase our capacity by over 50pc and, when completed, NovaUCD will be able to accommodate up to 450 people’

“The NovaUCD facility has been running at full capacity for several years now,” explained Tom Flanagan, UCD’s director of enterprise and commercialisation.

“There is an ongoing and significant demand from ambitious entrepreneurs who want to locate their start-ups at NovaUCD to leverage our ecosystem of experienced mentors, founders, alumni, investors and sponsors who can help them grow their businesses globally. By joining the NovaUCD community, these start-ups can also take advantage of access to our world-class researchers, facilities and talent across the UCD campus.”

A home for innovation

Located at the Belfield campus, the facility officially opened in October 2003 and is currently home to more than 25 start-up companies.

These companies have either spun out of the university’s research programmes or have spun in to locate at NovaUCD in order to collaborate with the university.

Since opening, the hub has supported 225 companies, which have raised more than €200m in equity funding, to develop and grow.

As the home of the university’s technology transfer team, NovaUCD has also registered 750 invention disclosures, filed more than 250 priority patent applications and licensed more than 170 technologies to companies such as Amdocs, Amryt and Glanbia.

Some of the best-known start-ups supported by the centre include spin-out companies ChangingWorlds, BiancaMed, Equinome and Logentries as well as spin-in companies Enbio and Genomics Medicine Ireland.

Among the companies currently located at the centre are Carrick Therapeutics, OncoMark and Theya Healthcare.

UCD start-up expansion plan

Image of NovaUCD building when expanded.

Architect’s impression of the expanded building. Image: NovaUCD

The centre is located in a mid-18th-century house, formerly known as Merville House.

It comprises a restored main building along with the restoration and extension of the west courtyard. The current expansion will see the renovation and extension of a second (east) courtyard.

It currently has 1,425 sq m of licensable space in a total of 40 units, labs and co-working spaces. The newly developed courtyard will result in 800 sq m of additional licensable space, and will include a total of 23 business units, labs and co-working spaces.

The internal courtyard area will be designed as a new meeting and social space for client companies.

The architect group for this current project is Kavanagh Tuite Architects, which worked on the original design of the NovaUCD facility.

“The development of the east courtyard will enable us to increase our capacity by over 50pc and, when completed, NovaUCD will be able to accommodate up to 450 people,” said Flanagan.

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