DCU approves additional €3.75m spend by innovation centres

University has advanced more than €8 million for development of DCU Alpha

DCU Alpha is home to companies working on next-generation technologies including cleantech, machine-to-machine communications and industrial automation.

DCU Alpha is home to companies working on next-generation technologies including cleantech, machine-to-machine communications and industrial automation.

 

Dublin City University allocated an extra €3.75 million for the expansion of its innovation centres last year.

The university authorised total future capital expenditure of €4.4 million for its DCU Invent DAC subsidiary at the end of last September, compared with just €664,408 a year earlier. The company manages the university’s two innovation centres – DCU Invent and DCU Alpha.

The additional funding provision came ahead of DCU Alpha being selected to host a Dublin chapter of Europe’s largest co-working and digital innovation campus Talent Garden.

The new Dublin chapter, which opens next month, provides flexible work space for freelances, tech start-ups and corporate innovation labs, with capacity for 350 people.

The co-working building will also feature Talent Garden’s Innovation School, a digital skills “boot camp” education platform, which aims to work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs. Talent Garden, which was founded six years ago in Milan, has 23 campuses in total across eight European cities. It is to open shortly in San Francisco and Tel Aviv.

The university stressed the additional expenditure allowance was provided for capital asset and building upgrades on the DCU Alpha campus and were unrelated to Talent Garden’s decision to set up on the site.

Details of the additional expenditure allowance are included in newly-filed accounts for DCU Invent DAC.

Pretax loss

The accounts show it reported a €510,455 pretax loss last year as income slipped from €1.56 million to €1.53 million.

DCU Invent was set up in 2001 to forge better links between researchers and industry. The purpose-built centre, which is located on the main DCU campus, has provided a base to more than 150 start-ups including KanTanMT, Pilot Photonics and Cruatech.

DCU Alpha, a sister centre for more established companies based in Glasnevin, opened in early 2014. It is now home to 42 companies working on next-generation technologies such as cleantech, machine-to-machine communications, sensor tech, wearables, ICT, industrial automation and connected hardware. Among the firms based at the centre are multinationals such as Siemens and Veolia, along with high-potential indigenous start-ups such as Clearstream, Intellicom, Novaerus and Taoglas.

Overall, 180,000sq ft out of 220,000sq ft at the Alpha campus has been refurbished and the Invent Centre is at 100 per cent occupancy with 30,000sq ft.

Staff costs at DCU Invent DAC totalled €540,136 last year, down from €548,664 for the 12 months ending September 2016.

A note contained with the latest accounts said the university had advanced funds totalling more than €8 million to its subsidiary towards the development of DCU Alpha but did not plan to seek repayment in the short term.