TCD & UCD Sign Agreement with Silicon Valley Irish Tech Leaders to Drive Innovation, new Business Creation and Funding, augment Student Experience at 4th Level

Posted on: 16 June 2009

September 10th partners’ Summit in Washington DC to Develop Collaboration

Ireland’s Innovation Alliance – Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) – has signed a transatlantic collaboration agreement with the Silicon Valley-based Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG)  to drive innovation and create new business on the island of Ireland.

TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty, and UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, along with ITLG chairman John Hartnett, announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote technological innovation through this unique Ireland-US partnership. The agreement will see the ITLG working with the Universities to advance the goals of the recently announced Innovation Alliance. ITLG will contribute their expertise to enhance the training of students participating in the newly formed TCD/UCD Innovation Academy. The ITLG will also help grow the number of new, quality business spin-outs from the Alliance.  In addition, Irish Technology Capital (ITC), a sister organisation of ITLG, will help to drive VC funding in Ireland.

Dr Hugh Brady, UCD President, John Hartnett, ITLG Chair, Dr John Hegarty, Provost of TCD.

The academic and industry leaders also announced that they would lead their respective organisations at a summit meeting to be hosted at the Irish embassy in Washington DC on September 10th, 2009. The objective of the summit will be to devise a program of specific collaboration around the goals as set out in the MOU. 

The Innovation Alliance/ITLG MOU defines a number of key areas where the parties collectively agree:

– To explore and advance new mechanisms for business creation and scaling for Ireland; 

– To explore creation and management of a dedicated technology venture capital fund;

– To partner on the delivery of innovation training to the student body of the Innovation Alliance, through case study presentation and mentoring of project work within the Innovation Academy.

Commenting on the MOU, ITLG’s Hartnett, said: “In the midst of Ireland’s economic turmoil, there has never been a more important moment to foster and invest in technological innovation. ITLG is delighted to seize the opportunity to pursue that objective in partnership with two of Ireland’s premier research universities through the Innovation Alliance. In time, great things will flow from this kind of close collaboration, building Ireland’s economic future on a new, more solid foundation of knowledge and enterprise”.

Commenting on behalf of the Innovation Alliance, TCD Provost Dr John Hegarty said: “We are very pleased to forge a partnership with the ITLG in this fashion. The ITLG is a new force in the US comprised as it is of very successful Irish entrepreneurs with a keen interest in Ireland and its development along new paths. In the Innovation Alliance we would like to expose our students a little more to that spirit of creativity, entrepreneurship and drive for success that characterises the ITLG members, themselves graduates of the Irish education system. The signing today is the result of a relationship which has been developing for some time with the ITLG, and marks a big step forward for the Alliance and the country.”

Adding his support, the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady said: “Among the challenges Ireland faces is to continue to develop and scale-up partnerships with overseas industry.  By fostering links with the Irish Technology Leadership Group, we hope to convince some of their members to bring their entrepreneurial flare, commercial experience and indeed, venture capital to Ireland. We are firmly confident that the calibre of our graduates and our research will encourage greater engagement between the Innovation Alliance and the ITLG.”

Notes to Editors:

1. About ITLG and ITC:
Established in 2007, the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) is an independent industry organisation comprised of a number of high-level Silicon Valley technology leaders who are Irish or Irish-American. Members of the ITLG include John Hartnett, CEO of G24i, Inc. John Gilmore, CEO of Sling Media, Conrad Burke, President and CEO of Innovalight, Inc, Inc., Rory McInerney, Vice President, Intel Corp, and BarryO’Sullivan, Senior Vice President at Cisco.  Based in Campbell, California, ITLG’s web site address is

Sister-organisation Irish Technology Capital (ITC) was founded in Silicon Valley by experienced entrepreneurs, technology executives and venture capitalists to provide comprehensive support for promising high-growth companies entering the US. Based in Campbell, California, ITC’s web site address is

2. About The Innovation Alliance:
University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin are the leading universities in Ireland.  The TCD / UCD Innovation Alliance is a radical partnership which was announced in March 2009 to work with the education sector, the Irish State and its agencies and the business and venture capital communities to develop a world-class ecosystem for innovation that will drive enterprise development and the creation of sustainable high value jobs in Ireland. 

The Innovation Alliance has two major components
– The TCD / UCD Joint Venture in Enterprise Development aims to build on the universities’ existing technology transfer operations and enterprise facilities. As it develops, it will include new facilities for pre-competitive research and design, prototyping and process innovation  –  to help harness and commercialise new ideas, knowledge and inventions. It will also prioritise the establishment of a wider support framework of educational, legal, financial, technical, management and marketing capabilities and support needed to set good new business ideas on their way. 

The new 4th level TCD / UCD Innovation Academy will begin the process of defining and mainstreaming innovation as the 3rd arm of the university mission alongside education and research this September. It will straddle the existing campuses, building on areas of combined strength and individual distinctiveness in the two universities. It will focus particularly on 4th level PhD training, positioning innovation centre-stage in their courses, facilitating student mobility between campuses, and ensuring that the breadth and depth of expertise and resources at UCD and TCD are available to Ireland’s future entrepreneurs.