Innovation & Entrepreneurship Breakfast Briefing

Saloon, Provost's House

28 March 2014

Welcome to the Provost’s House,

And thanks, everyone, for coming along this morning. I think the last time I saw many of you was at the launch of our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy in late November. It’s great to have you back again. Equally, I hope our staff are regularly meeting you outside campus – whether in your companies or other places.

We want a real partnership between this university and industry, and that means regular meetings and collaborations, both formal and informal.

At the meeting in November, we outlined our new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy, and we announced that we would be establishing a new Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Exchange, which would bring under one roof all the functions necessary to support research collaboration and commercialisation. The Office means a single interface for industry, which will reduce any barriers for companies seeking to interact with Trinity researchers and infrastructure.

Today we’re happy to announce the creation of this Office. At the moment the acronym is OCPKE – but I think that’s a bit of mouthful! I welcome any suggestions to make it a bit more snappy and pithy… But anyway, this Office is now open for business, as our Taoiseach might put it – and we hope very much that you are going to do business with us.

The Office will bring together all components in Trinity required for a deal to be done, ensuring a fast response time, and a rapid escalation of issues. The OCPKE will recruit new staff committed to creating relationships with industry – forging mutually beneficial partnerships; and enhancing the reputation of Ireland as a great place, not just to do business but, also to do research.

In Trinity, we’re rightly proud of the quality and impact of our research, and our commitment to working with industry to spearhead innovation and economic recovery in this country.

Our record to date has been good. We have signed over 450 contracts with industry in the last five years. We have produced more spin-out companies – 38 – than any other higher education institute in Ireland. And our spin-out companies have performed better than any other institution in terms of investment from the venture market. In the last two years, eight of our spin-out companies have won over €60 million euro in venture investment.

And of course some of our staff and spin-outs are household names – at least in business-oriented households – I think of Chris Horn and Iona, Steve Collins and Havok, and Luke O’Neill and Kingston Mills and Opsona Therapeutics.  And of course last week Trinity research made international headlines when our School of Engineering rose to the challenge to build a robot prototype for Joanne O’Riordan.

We have a solid foundation of success to build upon. But we aren’t complacent. We want to improve and accelerate. Our number of spin-outs increased massively after 2009, because our Technology Transfer Office revised procedures for the approval of campus company formation. So we know that doing the right thing, in the right way, can effect sea-changes in behaviour, and we know that it pays to be vigilant, experimental, out-going and efficient.

Our new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy places working with industry at the heart of our initiatives in education and research. We know that the quality and the application of research done by staff and students can be greatly enhanced by working with industry. We aim to make our interaction with you as mutually beneficial as possible. And we hope that you feel ready to approach us on any, and every, matter where our researchers might be of help and inspiration.

It remains for me to thank IBEC warmly for partnering us in this event this morning. We look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership with you. And now let us raise our glasses – our orange juices or coffees – to OCPKE and to Trinity-Industry links.

Thank you.

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