Trinity targets 160 start-up companies under new plan for entrepreneurship education

Posted on: 28 November 2013

Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship includes:

  • Education model that promotes creativity and innovation, with skills to create new companies and reinvigorate established ones
  • €70 million building project for business education and start-up enterprises
  • 30 academic hires for the new Trinity School of Business
  •  A new model for collaboration between enterprise and academia

Trinity College Dublin launched a new plan for innovation and entrepreneurship education which aims to support the creation of more than 160 start-up companies over the first three years.

The Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, launched by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, will embed a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across Trinity. Minister Bruton was joined at the launch by Trinity’s Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Dublin.

Pictured on the occasion of the launch are Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Trinity student entrepreneurs, Emma Mooney and Alex Sloan, cofounders of Foodcloud, a social enterprise. 

The strategy targets new company creation through spin-outs, spin-ins, and support for student and graduate enterprises. By the end of next year, Trinity aims to have supported the creation of 48 start-up companies, with that figure rising to 55 by the end of 2015, and to 58 by the end of 2016.

The Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship includes:

  • A new integrated approach to innovation and entrepreneurship education for the whole university;
  •  A €70 million new building project involving a Trinity School of Business, co-located with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub. The project, spanning 13,000 square metres, will include a 600-seat auditorium, restaurant spaces for 200 people, public space where students can meet and ideas exchange, ‘smart’ classrooms with the latest digital technology, and a rooftop conference room. Work is expected to start next summer and be finished in 2017;
  • 30 new academic staff, including a new Professor of Business Studies, offering a full range of business-related programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education levels
  •  A new Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Transfer, opening Trinity to industry and business, and enabling the co-creation of intellectual property and spin-out companies.

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, 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 new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, co-located with the Trinity School of Business, 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.

“To be successful, Irish society must encourage and develop all its entrepreneurial talents,” said Dr 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.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “A key part of the Action Plan for Jobs is supporting increased levels of entrepreneurship. To help achieve this, we have put in place a range of changes, including extra supports in Budget 2014 and the Government’s Entrepreneurship Forum, chaired by Seán O’Sullivan. Trinity’s Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is well aligned with our focus on creating a new generation of entrepreneurially minded graduates who want to be future employers. We believe that, by acting as a focal point for innovation and education in Dublin city centre, Trinity can help support the growth of entrepreneurship across the economy, helping to turn good ideas into good jobs.”

Trinity’s Dean of Research, Professor Vinny Cahill, said: “The new strategy is a concerted drive to deliver economic, cultural and social value founded on research and scholarship, as well as to educate future generations of job creators and create scalable businesses and sustainable jobs. Dublin can be the hub of a regional economic cluster marked by innovative companies, with Trinity as the city centre “connector”, forging new links between enterprise and academia.”

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.

About innovation in Trinity:

Trinity’s credentials in science and innovation are strong:

  •  Since 2009, Trinity has averaged seven new spin-out companies annually and 20 per cent of all Irish spin-out companies now stem from this campus;
  • Trinity collaborates with eight of the top 10 information communications technology exporters in Ireland, and partners with eight of the top 10 medical device companies;
  • In the past two years, eight Trinity spin-out companies have attracted almost €60 million in venture capital investment; and,
  • Trinity’s technologies are available for licensing in growth areas such as aviation, connected health, gaming and telecoms, new materials, and medical devices and therapies.
  • Since 2008, when Trinity’s Science Gallery opened, 1.4 million people have visited 28 unique exhibitions, from living art experiments to materials science and from the future of the human race to the future of play.

According to Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators, in terms of research impact as measured by citations, Trinity ranks in the world’s top 1% of research institutions in 18 STEM fields, including immunology, materials science, and molecular biology and genetics.