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Grand Canal Innovation District

Progressing an innovation district in the Docklands area is an opportunity to shape development there in a way that maximises the benefits for the local area, the city, the region and country. It can provide an internationally visible statement of Ireland’s commitment to innovation.

— Report of the Grand Canal Innovation District Advisory Group, Department of the Taoiseach, Jan 2020

What will an Innovation District achieve for Ireland?

An innovation district will connect indigenous and multinational companies together with researchers and venture capitalists. Such a district will produce a sum that is greater than its parts, driving inward investment, new collaborations and jobs. Its benefits will be brought to the regions through virtual connections and the sharing of research, best practice and space. This district is not just a business park, but a place for cultural institutions and amenities for the community, a place where everybody, whether office worker, tourist or local resident will want to spend time, socialise and innovate.

Building an Innovation District

The development of an innovation district involves clustering research centres, entrepreneurs and educational institutes, high growth companies and tech and creative start-ups in a concentrated urban environment. Universities typically act as the anchor tenant physically located in the centre of the district providing a connection to a talent pipeline of graduates, an innovation-thought engine and a social and cultural centre. Grand Canal Quay is already home to some of the most globally-renowned technology companies, Ireland’s largest theatre and Ireland’s largest convention centre. It is home to vibrant communities that would help give an innovation district a living presence. And Trinity has a 5.5 acre campus at the heart of the Grand Canal neighbourhood for which it has ambitious redesign plans as an innovation campus. By working together, we have the opportunity to deliver an internationally leading innovation district for Ireland.

International insights

In 2019, Diarmuid O’Brien, Trinity’s Chief Innovation Officer, spoke about the Grand Canal Innovation District vision as part of a panel session at the American Chamber of Commerce’s Conference. He was joined by Dennis Lower, President & CEO of Cortex Innovation Community (a large innovation district in St Louis, Missouri); Tim Rowe, Founder and CEO of Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC), an organisation that provides flexible co-working spaces and coordinates events to bring innovators, investors and researchers together, and Carrie Allen, Executive Director for CIC Captains of Innovation.