Government backs new €1bn Silicon Docks campus for Trinity College

Cabinet approves report recommending €150m for innovation district in Dublin

Trinity College Dublin is planning a new campus at Grand Canal Quay. Photograph: TCD

Trinity College Dublin is planning a new campus at Grand Canal Quay. Photograph: TCD

 

The Government has backed plans to part-fund a new €1 billion technology campus for Trinity College Dublin in the so-called Silicon Docks area of Dublin.

It will announce on Friday that it is prepared to commit up to €150 million to develop the campus over the next decade as part of a wider plan to create a new innovation district.

The 400-year-old university owns a 2.2-hectare (5.5-acre) site adjacent to Grand Canal Quay, a short distance from tech firms such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and AirBnB.

The plan involves the construction of a high-rise campus at the site over a 10-year period.

The campus will be located in what will be known as the Grand Canal Innovation District, modelled on innovation districts elsewhere such as Toronto, Rotterdam and Paris.

The idea is to create an eco-system where start-ups and multinational companies co-exist alongside academic researchers and venture capitalists.

While the plan has been spearheaded by Trinity, it will also be home to research faculties from other Irish universities and, potentially, overseas universities.

In 2018, the Government established an advisory group, chaired by secretary general of the Department of An Taoiseach Martin Fraser, to develop a blueprint for developing the district. A similar approach was taken in developing the IFSC.

Its report, due to be published on Friday, recommends that the State support the project through both policy measures and financial support.

The majority of the €1.1 billion cost of the development will be borne by developers, Trinity and philanthropic and corporate grants and donations.

The report recommends that the Government invest €150 million in the district over the next decade. These findings were formally endorsed by the Cabinet at a recent meeting.

Trinity’s Provost Patrick Prendergast said the pledge of State support is “crucial” to unlocking investment and support from the private sector.

“State support, through continued policy development, political goodwill and financial investment is invaluable,” he said.

“For international investors, it is a prerequisite that the importance of a project of this nature is demonstrated through Government commitments of this nature.”