DCU launches cleantech innovation hub to exploit potential for green economy
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton will officially launch the DCU Innovation Campus today on its new site in Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
This will be a centre for “cleantech innovation” and a major part of the Government’s Green Way initiative, a collaborative venture involving government, industry and academia to develop an “internationally recognised” cleantech cluster in the greater Dublin area.
“The DCU Innovation Campus will be a hub for cleantech innovation and will host start-ups, SMEs and larger companies operating in this field,” says Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU.
“Clusters like this offer huge potential for the green economy in Ireland and it is the role of universities like ourselves in stimulating collaborative engagement, particularly during a recession. I’ve been committed to exploring this kind of approach since I started here in DCU.”
While Ireland is already well known in sectors such as medical devices and pharmaceuticals, it is expected that a similarly focused approach towards the cleantech industry will lead to improved reputation in this sector also.
“Before I was president of DCU I travelled to Singapore to look at the role educational institutions can play in creating employment, particularly during a recession,” says MacCraith. “By creating clusters, like the one we are developing here, Singapore transformed their economy from predominantly toy manufacturing to a key global player in a number of high-tech industries.”
Some €195 billion was invested in the clean energy sector worldwide in 2011 and it is recognised as a fast growing sector that Ireland could gain wider entry into.
It is hoped that the DCU project will support 200 jobs in the first 18 months, with an expectation of this figure growing to about 500 jobs over a five-year period, coupled with a more than €10 million return for the Irish economy.
Companies who choose to join the cluster will be able to take advantage of the relevant research and resources of DCU and its partner institution, DIT.
In addition, energy provider Dalkia has already confirmed as the first “tenant” company.
“We’ve been talking to a number of other companies also,” says Prof MacCraith.
“We’ve only just signed off on this project in the last number of weeks. There are many more interested parties in the pipeline.”
The first activities of the campus will be to appoint a campus director, and begin negotiating and working with interested companies on a phased basis.