The initiative to develop the Grand Canal Innovation District is seen as central to the government’s aim to make Ireland the tech capital of Europe. It is designed to complement Trinity College Dublin’s planned development of its Grand Canal Quay campus.
The Grand Canal Innovation District, which was announced in July 2018, will be modelled on similar initiatives that have been put in place in cities including Barcelona, Boston and Rotterdam. It will focus on improving links between academia, established enterprises and start-ups.
An advisory group was established to develop and agree a vision for the Grand Canal Innovation District. Among the recommendations of the Group’s first report are:
- the development of the Grand Canal Innovation District with a university innovation campus at its physical centre;
- establishment of new multi-institutional research centre specialising in technology to tackle the world’s most challenging problems in a cross disciplinary manner;
- establishment of a large start-up hub with shared infrastructure to allow scientists and companies to progress developments in the area of digital technology and associated applications;
- establishment of community liaison group to understand how the needs of the local community can best be taken into account; and
- establishment of an innovation hub network that would link Ireland’s leading innovation centres to provide strong regional connectivity.
An additional recommendation is for the advisory group to be reconstituted to oversee the next steps in development of the wider innovation district.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We are really serious about making Ireland the tech capital of Europe. We have so many of the right ingredients; a young and talented workforce, a competitive corporate tax environment and of course many of the world’s top tech firms already have their European headquarters here. Now, we are bringing together business, government and the university sector to maximise the Silicon Docks as an Innovation District where companies, researchers and entrepreneurs link up.
“This first report from the advisory group has lots of good recommendations which must now be acted on; from establishing a new start-up hub with shared infrastructure, to the need to work closely with the local community to ensure their needs are met as the area continues to expand. We now have a path forward to realise our ambition to establish a world class Innovation District in Grand Canal Dock and the surrounding area.”