Trinity College Dublin announces €60m campus development
New development made possible after largest private donation in history of the State
Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Dr Martin Naughton and his wife Carmel, Trinity Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast, and Minister for Education Richard Bruton at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Mark Stedman
Work will begin this year on a €60 million development at Trinity College Dublin that will provide 1,800 additional places for students taking courses in science, technology engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects.
The development is being supported by a €25 million donation from Glen Dimplex Group founder Dr Martin Naughton and his wife, Carmel, which is the largest single philanthropic donation in the history of the State, as well as €15 million from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
The E3 Institute will bring together the subjects of engineering, energy and environment at a time when there is a skills shortage in the areas as the economy grows.
Work is to begin on the project this year and is expected to finish in 2022. Once complete, the institute will increase the number of Stem places available at the university by 50 per cent.
‘Innovate or evaporate’
Speaking at the announcement of the project, Dr Naughton said his company’s guiding principle was to “innovate or evaporate”. He said he agreed to fund the Trinity project on two conditions – that it should be a world-class development, and that it would be supported by the Department of Education.
Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity, said Dr Naughton was investing in Ireland’s young people.
“Irish universities have benefited enormously from the Naughton’s generosity and their visionary belief in the power of education and research to transform individual lives and to transform the life of a country,” he said.
Dr Naughton (78) said he used to be “the youngest doing everything. And then, one day, I was at a meeting and I looked around and I saw that I was the oldest. And that was a bit of a shock. But now at my age, what gives me the greatest joy in life is spending our children’s money.”
Dr Prendergast said the idea of the institute was conceived “back in the difficult, bleak, days of austerity” and the hope was to “educate engineers, technologists and scientists to address the challenges of a liveable planet”.
He said the institute would harness new methods in learning and research “at the frontiers of disciplines” to educate new types of engineers and scientists that would be prepared for the challenges of the 21st-century workplace.
“I believe the new institute will, in time, change the way our society solves the many challenges the world faces – and I don’t say this lightly.”
A central feature of the development will be the Learning Foundry, a 6,086sq m state-of-the-art building.
“It will showcase a new approach to Stem education,” Dr Prendergast said. “I believe that E3 will be a crucial component in the engine of growth in the Irish economy and in the transition to a smarter, healthier society.”
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said Ireland’s progress and the investment in education have gone “hand in hand”. He thanked Dr Naughton for his contribution to education and his “extraordinary service to this nation”.