TCD to establish ‘creative quarter’ and generate 161 start-ups over three years

27 Nov 2013

A bus zooms past Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has unveiled a new strategy for entrepreneurship that will see 161 start-ups emerge from the university in the first three years. It will also kick-start a €70m building programme that will result in a creative quarter in Dublin.

The new creative quarter will encompass Pearse Street and the Grand Canal Basin.

The Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship targets company creation through spin-outs, spin-ins and support for student and graduate enterprises.

By the end of next year, TCD aims to have generated 48 new start-ups, rising to 55 by the end of 2015 and 58 by the end of 2016.

The keystone of the plan is a new integrated approach to innovation and entrepreneurship education at the 421-year-old university.

The strategy will permeate the activities of Trinity’s 24 academic schools, as well as integrating its flagship research institutes – the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity Long Room Hub Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Institute for International Integration Studies, and the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, along with E3, the planned Institute for Engineering, Energy and Environment.

The strategy includes a €70m Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, co-located with the Trinity School of Business,

The new hub will provide space for prototyping and company incubation projects, and academic and administrative offices. The project will connect the historic and modern ends of Trinity’s campus along the Pearse Street axis, offering creative and learning space to the whole university under the common theme of innovation and entrepreneurship.

As well as the hub, Trinity will create positions for 30 new academic staff, including a new professor of business studies, offering business-related programmes at undergraduate, post-graduate and executive education levels.

The university will also establish a new Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Transfer, enabling the co-creation of intellectual property and spin-out companies between the university and the business world.

Dublin’s new creative quarter

“To be successful, Irish society must encourage and develop all its entrepreneurial talents,” said Dr Patrick Prendergast, Trinity’s provost.

“The new strategy promotes creativity and innovation as an integral part of the Trinity education. Our strategy will harness the creative, disruptive promise of innovation for Dublin and for the country.

“We see enormous potential for the development of a ‘creative quarter’, extending along the Pearse Street corridor to the Grand Canal Basin in Dublin, founded on a new model of collaboration between enterprise and academia,” he said.

Brendan Cannon, Intel’s corporate affairs director, welcomed the Strategy for Innovation and Enterprise, saying the new Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Transfer would help link Trinity with industry partners.

“Intel has had a deep and fruitful research relationship with Trinity over the years. In a modern knowledge economy, there needs to be a seamless flow of people and ideas between academia and industry, and anything that makes it easier for industry to work with academia is to be welcomed.

“The establishment of the Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Transfer as one-stop shop to identify, develop and manage industry relationships is a proactive and forward-thinking initiative from Trinity,” he said.

Trinity College Dublin image via Shutterstock

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