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Trinity Innovation Awards 2020

Online from the Andrew's Room, Provost's House

01 December 2020

Thank you, Leonard, and good evening, all, and welcome to the 4th annual Trinity Innovation Awards.

As we begin the transition from Level 5 to Level 3, it’s good to be here online with you all, celebrating something as important as achievement in innovation, and something for which Trinity is a national and European leader.

It’s now seven years since we launched our first Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy which established the Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge Exchange, and also seven years since we launched our student accelerator, LaunchBox. Already at that time, innovation was emerging as a particular strength of the university’s. Bringing additional focus and resources to it has yielded significant returns:

  • We continue to excel in national and EU competitive research funding rounds. Our talented PIs, with the support of the professional staff in TR&I, annually win over 30% of national and Horizon 2020 funding, and a whopping 50 percent of ERC awards granted to Ireland.
  • For the the sixth year running, Pitchbook has ranked Trinity number 1 in Europe for educating graduates who go on to become successful entrepreneurs as measured by the level of VC-backed ventures.
  • In the last two years Trinity has created more High-Performance Start-Ups (HPSUs) than in the previous 10 years.This places Trinity at the top of the leadership board in Ireland in terms of HPSUs and positions us competitively amongst our peer European universities.
  • Last year we opened the Trinity Business School, with the second floor devoted to Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace. which brings together, in one place, Trinity’s dynamic programmes in innovation, creative thinking, and entrepreneurship for staff, students and the wider innovation community beyond campus. These programmes include the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Certificates in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the first of their kind in Ireland, and recently-approved courses such as Climate Entrepreneurship and Healthcare Innovation.
  • Tangent is central to Trinity’s innovation strategy for Dublin that includes plans for a new campus at Grand Canal Quay and the establishment of a globally competitive innovation district in our capital. We’ve now submitted planning permission for the innovation hub at Grand Canal Dock, which will house many companies, starting in Q1 2022, with a cafe and public square. Programming will begin in the new year.

This past year, of course, has been unlike any other. Some research projects have been delayed through the closure of laboratories. But Trinity Research & Innovation have been front and foremost, through the contribution of our professors to the national discourse on topics ranging from health to wellbeing to economic impact, as well of course as in the search for cures and vaccines. This evening we recognise how important our university’s response to Covid has been, through the Societal Impact Award.

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Trinity’s innovation output is driven by a deep research pipeline, underpinned by 19 research themes distributed across 24 schools, 5 major Trinity research institutes and 3 SFI centres, spanning nano science to neuro science, digital humanities to creative technologies and immunology to oncology.

If Trinity is a high global performer in innovation, that’s because of the excellence of our academics and researchers. So it’s right that we created these awards to acknowledge and recognise them.

We have seven categories of award for innovation including Lifetime Achievement and the Provost’s Innovation Award. It goes without saying that competition for these awards has been intense given how much talent we are choosing from. As with all our Awards, being nominated, or noted, is very much an achievement.

It’s vitally important to recognise the work of outstanding individuals. But also these awards give us the opportunity to put emphasis on innovation, and to measure and evaluate how it is impacting the university. The different award categories allow us to track different kinds of innovation and people at different stages of their careers.

Innovation is a community activity. There are many people to thank tonight for their support for these awards and for innovation in Trinity:

  • Knowledge Transfer Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for supporting the technology transfer unit within Trinity;
  • The national and international funding agencies;
  • The IDA for their active collaboration in engaging companies. The industry groups AmCham, IBEC, AsiaMatters and the Ireland Canada Business Association; and
  • Our Industry partners, who support and collaborate with our Schools, Institutes and Research Centers; and
  • A special word of thanks to Atlantic Bridge for their ongoing collaboration with the Bridge Fund.

And I thank finally all our winners and nominees and indeed all staff who are constantly seeking ways to make their research impactful. The difference you make is immense and your lead is inspirational.

Thank you.

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