Trinity College Dublin Reaffirms Commitment to Excellence and Societal Benefit in Innovation-centred Strategic Plan

Posted on: 26 November 2009

Trinity College Dublin  unveiled its new Strategic Plan 2009-2014 this week. It will strengthen Trinity’s position as a university of global consequence. The plan builds on achievements which have seen TCD rise to 13th place in Europe and 43rd in the world.  Innovation in all facets of the College’s activities is a key feature. The plan sets out a new initiative for undergraduate education; it will transform graduate education with a new Innovation Academy; strengths in research and scholarship will be consolidated, and a new Open Innovation policy will be promoted for knowledge transfer to the best benefit of Ireland and the world. Ground-breaking new alliances are proposed, and Trinity will bring the importance of engagement with the local community and wider society to the fore. Excellence forms the cornerstone of a strategy which will engage students and society in the quest for knowledge and responds to the challenges and opportunities of a shared future.

Back row: Tony McMahon, Interim Chief Operating Officer; Ian Mathews, Treasurer; Prof Carol O’Sullivan, Dean of Graduate Studies; Dr John Hegarty, Provost; Dr Aileen Douglas, Senior Lecturer; Dr David Lloyd, Dean of Research.

Front Row: Dr Gerry Whyte, Dean of Students; John Murphy, Acting Director, IS Services; Prof Patrick Prendergast, Vice-Provost/CAO; Dr Ena Prosser, Fountain Healthcare Partners; Paul Mangan, Director of Buildings Office.

Key goals to ensure TCD meets its strategic objectives include:

– Promoting education, research and innovation as mutually reinforcing components of the university’s mission

– Increasing opportunities to study at Trinity by increasing places by 15% to 18,000, while maintaining quality and the personal nature of the student-staff interaction. 

– A new initiative in undergraduate education that:
o Implements a new modularised core/elective curriculum with a balance of depth and breadth, allowing for greater student choice of new courses, degree programmes, and life- long learning;
o Increases access of under-represented groups of students with talent and ability to 22% of new entrants;
o Achieves a 90% completion rate in all undergraduate courses, in line with the best universities worldwide;
o Strengthens the link with research and its spirit of enquiry and critical thinking.

– Transforming graduate education and skills provision to facilitate a more creative, innovative and entrepreneurial postgraduate.

– Consolidating and differentiating research strengths and scholarship, converging  major themes of research around the realisation of a sustainable society.

– Pioneering a new open innovation policy to accelerate the development and value of intellectual property and enterprise and the incubation of new companies.

– Strengthening the alignment between research strengths, excellent teaching and knowledge transfer by recruitment of a special cohort of new scholar/teachers who will seed this linkage and the achievement of critical mass.

To best meet these objectives the College is advancing key enabling initiatives, including delivery of three flagship collaborations: the TCD-UCD Innovation Alliance, the Trinity Academic Medical Centre, and the Creativity in the Community Programme.
Capital development programmes over the period 2009-2014 include strategic investment in a new Biosciences Institute, the Trinity Long Room Hub for the Humanities, and consolidation of student societies and support services within a new Student Centre.

Underpinning these programmes is the active diversification of Trinity’s funding streams.

Launching the Strategic Plan 2009-2014, TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty said:

“In advancing Trinity College’s strategy for the next five years, we have embraced a stronger role in leading change in today’s society. Our plan is not one of reinvention but of reaffirmation of core principles around education, research and innovation and the interplay of these themes for the benefit of our students, the country and the wider world. In our execution of this plan, we intend to be at the forefront of the realisation of a new, more creative and successful Ireland.”

 “In a major policy departure we intend to remove our cap on student numbers, and building on the unique strengths of the university, our total student population will increase by 15%. In growing our student community we are also committing to improved new entry access for under-represented groups of students, including mature students, students with disabilities and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”

 “Trinity’s research is strong and vibrant. A culture of achievement exists across our disciplines. There are currently eight major research programmes where Trinity has made significant investments and international inroads. In sustaining global impact in these areas, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research continues to be a key focus of the research strategy, with a renewed focus on the relevance and consequence of our activities for society. “

“The Strategic Plan is being introduced at a time of global economic downturn. Notwithstanding these challenges and diminishing public finances, Trinity aims to find opportunity in adversity and to further strengthen its performance, through self funding of key new blood appointments.  However, it is critical that public investment in education, research and innovation is maintained, in order to sustain the phenomenal achievements of Ireland in these areas to date, and to drive future success and to ensure a medium to long term return.”

The College’s Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer, Professor Patrick Prendergast added, “The new TCD-UCD Innovation Academy will provide training for a new generation of PhD students, making them business aware and prepared for leadership roles in enterprise and innovation in society. The Innovation Academy forms part of the TCD-UCD Innovation Alliance, which was launched earlier this year to drive enterprise development and the creation of sustainable high value jobs.”

“The College will develop an open innovation policy in order to stimulate knowledge transfer and enterprise development further, making the transition from capturing intellectual property to its practical application and use at commercialisation and job creation. In doing so it intends to increase the rate of new campus company formation with the aim of providing new opportunities to all, and turning Dublin into a hub of creative and entrepreneurial activity.”

“Engagement with society involving the whole College community is also a key part of Trinity’s future through volunteerism, involvement with our alumni, in cultural and scientific initiatives in the city and public life in general.  Trinity is a university for the city, and for Ireland, with a role to play on the world stage – this plan is about being realistically ambitious in strengthening that position for all who are part of the Trinity community, students, staff, alumni and friends” concluded the Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer, Professor Patrick Prendergast.

Notes to the Editor:

The Strategic Plan 2009-20014 was compiled through extensive consultation throughout the College.  It sets out a comprehensive set of four actions: education; knowledge generation and transfer; student experience; engagement with society. A fifth group of actions relates to ways in which the College will plan to enable the strategy. Each action was proposed by a strategic planning team and selected on the basis of consultation with the College’s 24 Schools, the administrative and support areas, student representatives, alumni groups and the members of advisory boards.