Trinity plans €400m philanthropic campaign to fund major expansion

Initiative aims to fund academic posts, student scholarships and new campus

TCD students Jemil Saidi and John Moroney  emerge from Trinity’s Campanile while participating in a recent ‘chariots of fire’ run. Photograph: Alan Betson

TCD students Jemil Saidi and John Moroney emerge from Trinity’s Campanile while participating in a recent ‘chariots of fire’ run. Photograph: Alan Betson


Trinity College Dublin is launching what it is says is the country’s biggest ever philanthropic campaign aimed at generating €400 million in funding for the 400-year old university.

Its “inspiring generations” initiative aims to fund flagship projects such as an extension of the campus into Grand Canal Dock, redeveloping the college’s historic Old Library and a new cancer institute, which it says holds the promise of transforming patient care.

Trinity’s provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said funds will also go towards helping attract some of the world’s top professors, creating new academic posts and expanding access programmes for disadvantaged students.

Many universities in Ireland say they are reaching “crisis” point as a result of rising student numbers and under-investment by the State.

However, Dr Prendergast said the campaign was separate to these concerns and was focused on strengthening Trinity’s reputation as one of the world’s top universities.

The funding, he said, will allow the college to “reach for the stars” by researching major global issues ranging from environmental challenges to cancer treatment.

A national launch of the campaign on Thursday is due to be followed by international launches around the world including cities such as London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.


Dr Prendergast said that since Trinity was founded in 1592, it has gone on to shape a “better-informed and more equal society, in Ireland and around the world”.

“Today, we are dedicated to pursuing innovation in education and research, and fearlessly advancing the cause of a pluralistic, just and sustainable society. ‘Inspiring Generations’ will enable Trinity to achieve these ambitions and inspire generations to come.”

As part of the campaign, the college has erected three-storey portraits of Samuel Beckett and current student Leah Kenny on either side of the university’s iconic Campanile.

Ms Kenny, who came to Trinity via its access programme for disadvantaged students, studied Beckett during her English degree.

The campaign organisers say the portraits stem from its theme of “inspiring generations”.

Ms Kenny said Beckett had felt inaccessible to her until she began studying his original manuscripts and letters, held in the college’s archives.

“You see, up until this point I had placed Beckett on a pedestal. He was not human to me – he was a literary God, with status akin to Zeus as he sits upon Mount Olympus,” she said.

“Viewing the manuscripts that first day, reading his correspondence and viewing the cheap copybooks in which he wrote showed me what Beckett was – a man – flawed and human.”


Trinity’s philanthropic campaign has so far raised €272 million from more than 10,000 donors in 68 countries around the world since 2011.

The colleges hopes to reach €400 million within four or five years and says priority will be given to student scholarships and new academic posts.

It says these will enable expansion and innovation across education and research.

The expansion of Trinity’s access programme is also a key aim, which would allow it to expand its outreach to schools across the State.

In healthcare, plans for a new Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute seek to improve treatment by integrating research, medicine and training with individualised care for cancer patients.

Work on a new E3 institute which will focus on engineering, environment and emerging technologies is due to get under way soon, while there are also plans to protect and conserve the Old Library’s collections and make them more accessible to the public.