New Genetics Institute opened in Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 13 March 1998

One of the largest science developments in Trinity College, the new Smurfit Institute of Genetics, was formally opened by The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD this morning (Friday 13th March). The opening took place during four days of events to mark forty years of genetics in Trinity College. 

The Institute is the main centre for genetics research in Ireland, with a postgraduate staff of 75 and a total of 60 undergraduate students. The new state-of-the-art building will add 6,000 square metres of advanced teaching and research laboratories to the Department of Genetics. 

Founded in 1958 with a grant of £3,000 from the Irish Sugar Company, the Department of Genetics at Trinity College is the only such Department in Ireland. Research income now comes to £1.5m per annum and the Department has established a reputation for its work into gene-related blindness and other illnesses associated with gene therapy. In 1997, 800 students applied for 10 places on the Human Genetics Degree programme, pushing the entry level to 535 Leaving Certificate points – the highest for any science degree.

Construction costs for this state-of-the-art building were more than £12m and were funded by Government grant (£4.8m), the Welcome Trust (£2.3m) and private donations from Dr Michael Smurfit (£2m), Dr Martin Naughton (£1m) and other benefactors.

As part of the four days of events, there will be a major public conference in Dublin’s Point Depot tomorrow (Saturday 14th March). Among the seven speakers will be Ian Wilmut from the team that cloned ‘Dolly the Sheep’, and Rockne Harmon, the prosecuting DA in the O J Simpson trial. Tickets available at the door at the Point Theatre or from Ticket-line (01) 456 9569. Information can also be found on the TCD Department of Genetics web site: