Trinity gets €30m in largest ever third level individual philanthropic donation

Eric and Barbara Kinsella give funds for development of new Trinity East campus

Trinity College Dublin has received the largest ever philanthropic donation from individuals to a third level institution in the history of the State.

Eric Kinsella, executive chairman of Jones Engineering Group, and his wife Barbara donated €30 million to the development of the new Trinity East campus near Grand Canal Dock.

Mr and Mrs Kinsella are long-term benefactors to Trinity and have already funded a multi-million euro 24-hour study facility, Kinsella Hall, as well as a programme of engineering scholarships for talented students.

Trinity East is the first new campus proposed by Trinity College Dublin in its 429-year history and will be modelled on innovation districts such as Cambridge Square in Boston and similar districts in cities such as Toronto, Rotterdam and Barcelona.


The funding will be used to develop the first building on the new 5.5 acre campus.

The E3 Research Institute will be a venue for large-scale research programmes in engineering, environment and emerging technologies.

Mr Kinsella said he and his wife were delighted to support a project of “such national significance”.

“The new Trinity East campus will be a highly efficient investment in the social and economic future of our country,” he said.

"It will increase the prestige of our education and science sector internationally, will deliver research outputs in areas critical for future of our planet and will enable Trinity to expand its student body, giving new opportunities to young people throughout Ireland. We are confident this project will benefit generations for decades to come."

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the Kinsella's philanthropic donation to Trinity College was "an act of patriotism" for which he thanked them on behalf of the nation.

“With foresight and generosity they are backing the kind of innovation that will be crucial for the higher education sector in the years to come,” he said.

“ The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted to all the central role that science and technology must play in helping us solve the pressing problems of our time. The E3 Research Institute will considerably broaden Trinity’s capacity in emerging areas of research and innovation, and lead to strong economic and societal benefits for the country.”

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast said the college was deeply grateful for the "transformative" donation.

“The development of Trinity East is a historic opportunity for a university which has existed on its main campus since 1592,” he said.

“Our ambition is not just for ourselves. We are working hand in hand with the government to implement a staged strategy of strengthening higher education research, innovation, research and science.”

Mr Kinsella said he and his wife have also offered to sponsor an international architectural competition for Trinity East campus design to ensure the vision of the campus is reflected in “world class, sustainable design”.

Research in developing technologies and approaches for sustainability and meeting societal challenges, such as climate change, is due to be a key focus of the E3 Research Institute.

The college says it will be among the first centres internationally to integrate engineering, technology and scientific expertise at scale in addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time such as climate change, renewable energy, personalised data, water, connectivity, and sustainable manufacturing.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent