The Government has approved the development of the €1bn Grand Canal Innovation District- a national initiative, spearheaded by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with other universities.

Located in the heart of the city, the District aims to be a hub for innovation and excellence, world class university research facilities and a thriving start up ecosystem, with a university campus acting as a connector bringing all these different sectors together.

The cabinet accepted a report by the Grand Canal Innovation District advisory Group and its recommendations. The report provides a strategy and road map to underpin the development and progression of this district to ensure “that Ireland has an innovation district to rival the best in the world.” The plans will be discussed in more detail at our Ireland Development Conference in February

The advisory group tasked with developing proposals for the innovation district included representatives of all the relevant stakeholders: government departments, multinational technology companies, state agencies, start-ups, universities and members of the local community. Trinity expects to work closely with all these stakeholders in the years ahead.

The district will be developed over a 10-year time span, however early activation will commence on the site in 2020. This will include the opening of an innovation hub that will provide space for early stage start-ups, research active corporates, a dedicated programme of activities for people who live in the local community and a meeting space to activate the innovation community in Dublin.

The report calls for support for the GCID project through both policy measures and financial support. The total cost of the development will be over €1bn over the course of 10 years, with plans for the majority of the investment to be borne by developers, Trinity and philanthropic and corporate grants and donations. The report recommends that the Government invest €150m in the district over the next decade.

Welcoming the news, Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer at Trinity, Dr Diarmuid O’Brien said, “Establishing an ambitious innovation district in Ireland will help position Ireland for future investment in an unsettled post-Brexit environment. It will also help support Ireland’s indigenous start-ups, drive inward research and industry funding and will help to ensure that Ireland stays ahead of technological advances from AI to robotics. Tapping into the expertise of established multinationals, the district with Trinity at its centre will act as the connector, bringing industry, funders, researchers and community together – strengthening the quality of life in the local community while also driving economic growth and job creation.”

Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy added, “The effective retention of talent and skills are becoming more critical than ever before for companies that want to compete effectively domestically and internationally and those looking to scale-up their business. The ability of our education system to support this ambition is critical. The Innovation District will provide a major boost to Ireland’s innovation ecosystem, helping business and researchers to collaborate more effectively and underpin Ireland’s international reputation as a location of choice for mobile innovation activity.”

Find out more inside information on the development strategy for this and other schemes at the Ireland Development Conference >