Trinity has today announced its plans to develop a €60 million E3 Institute in Engineering, Energy and Environment, which will be funded by a major philanthropic donation.The €25 million donation made by the Naughton Foundation is the single largest private philanthropic donation in the history of the state. This will provide for over half of the €60 million total development cost.
The Department of Education and Skills has also promised €15 million funding for the project. This is one of the largest state financial commitments made to Trinity in past years. This money will be provided to the university through the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Further financial support was also provided by Dr Beate Schuler, Dr Paul Johnston alongside his wife Theresa Johnston and Mike Peirce.
The announcement of this philanthropic funding was made today at an address in the provost’s house. Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton and Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor were both in attendance at the event and spoke alongside Dr Denis Naughton and Provost Patrick Prendergast.
The development will provide an increase of 1,800 STEM places over 10 years. This is an increase of 50% in Trinity’s total STEM students and will also amount to a 10% increase in the total number of students attending the University. This will be constituted of over 1,100 undergraduate students and over 600 post-graduate students.
Provost Patrick Prendergast welcomed the increase, noting that Trinity has previously needed to “turn away many qualified applicants for engineering and ICT courses despite there being a shortage. We are working with government, business and industry to address this shortage and provide for the future skills needs of the country in education, research and innovation”.
The project will be constituted of a new on-campus building, with a subsequent development of a research building. The facility will be located on the east side of the main Trinity Campus, near the Science Gallery.
One of the central features to this development is the Learning Foundry, which will be shared by the schools of Engineering, Computer Science and Statistics and Natural Sciences. This will involve the development of new interdisciplinary programmes in areas such as sustainable energy and climate change and sustainable development.
Dr Naughton, who is the founder of the Glen Dimplex Group, recognised that E3 represented a real step change in education, noting that “as the first global centre of its kind, it will integrate engineering, technology and scientific expertise at scale in addressing some of the major challenges facing Ireland and the world”.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Richard Bruton noted the state’s goal to make Ireland a European Leader in STEM Education. He explained that the investment “will make an important contribution towards achieving our goal. By investing in the E3 Institute, we are educating the engineers and scientists of the future and equipping them with the skills and attributes to become world leaders in STEM, placing Ireland at the cutting edge of technological advances globally”.
The Naughton Foundation was founded in 1994 by Martin and his wife Carmel with the intention of supporting worthwhile causes in the arts and education. The foundation provide Leaving Certificate Scholarships for engineering, mathematics, and science and technology students in Ireland. More recently the foundation provided funding to Trinity’s Naughton Institute, which conducts research on adaptive nanostructures and nanodevices, and the science gallery.