Trinity College Dublin has announced plans for a €60 million new E3 Institute in Engineering, Energy and Environment that has been made possible with a major private philanthropic donation by the Naughton family through the Naughton Foundation, established by the founder of the Glen Dimplex Group, Dr Martin Naughton, and his wife, Carmel. This will be combined with Government funding from the Department of Education and Skills.

The Naughton family has made the single largest private philanthropic donation in the history of the state to the new E3 institute by donating €25 million. An additional €15 million is being made available by the Department of Education and Skills. This funding will be provided through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

In addition to the transformative Naughton gift, significant philanthropic support was also given by Dr Beate Schuler, Dr Paul Johnston with his wife Theresa Johnston, and Mike Peirce.

Central to the vision of the E3 Institute is the construction of the Learning Foundry, a state of the art 6,086 square metre facility based on the main Trinity campus which will deliver new teaching facilities and an innovative interactive learning space for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Schools of Engineering, Computer Science and Statistics, and Natural Sciences will share the new Learning Foundry which will be a launchpad for a new kind of education experience for students with a focus on collaborative and project work. It will have capacity for 1,800 additional places for students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which constitutes an increase of 50% STEM places over ten years.

Speaking on the occasion of the announcement founder of the Glen Dimplex Group and philanthropist, Dr Martin Naughton, said:

“Ireland will need increasing numbers of engineers, scientists, IT specialists among other STEM graduates who will be able to work together to tackle the big global challenges we face today. Throughout my life in business I have been fortunate to have been able to play my part in effecting positive societal change. Education has a central role in effecting such change and it is for this reason we have decided to make this donation to Trinity’s ambitious plans for the E3 Institute. 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. E3 represents a real step change in education which will benefit future generations for years to come.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, added:

“We have set the ambition to make Ireland a European leader in STEM education by 2026. We are undergoing a technological revolution globally. If Ireland is to be at the forefront of this transformation, we must be a leader in nurturing, developing and deploying STEM talent. This €60m investment in an Engineering, Energy and Environment Institute at Trinity College Dublin 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. I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank Martin and Carmel Naughton today, in committing to this development with such a generous philanthropic donation which will have far reaching benefits for society. Their pioneering action sets an example to the business community in Ireland.”

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said:

“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has committed to a significant ramping up of investment in higher education infrastructure, while also recognising that other funding sources are essential to the ongoing transformation of our higher education campuses. The collaborative approach to the funding of the new Learning Foundry is exactly the kind of approach we are seeking to encourage. Trinity’s decision to invest in STEM follows similar investments in a new business school, new playing fields and new accommodation. It is a sign of the vitality within the university sector. We are preparing for the future and the rise in student numbers which is coming down the track. More student places, more student beds, better student learning spaces. A best-in-class experience all round. Ireland’s university sector has proven very resilient in difficult times. Universities have a key role to play in transforming society and ensuring that we, as a country, are able to exploit the opportunities offered by technology. I would like to congratulate the Trinity team for bringing forward this exciting project.”

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast, concluded:

“Climate change, renewable energy, personalised data, water, connectivity and sustainable manufacturing are just some of the global challenges that our future graduates will be equipped to understand and lead in the technology-enhanced ecosystems of the 21st century. With the E3 Institute we aim to enable new research around these areas of global challenge; create new curricula in STEM; and attract many more students to our university. Trinity is currently the top choice for STEM applications in the CAO. We have 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. E3 will be a crucial component of the engine of growth in the Irish economy and in the transition to a ‘smarter’, healthier society.”

The E3 Institute will introduce a new STEM curriculum, involving a seamless integration of teaching, project work and research in new innovative ways for students, graduates and researchers. From first year, students will engage in project based learning, working in teams across the disciplines of engineering, the natural sciences and computing.

Enterprise, creativity, teamwork and critical thinking will be emphasised as part of the overall education experience. New postgraduate courses will be created in the area of six E3 research themes of Cities; Environment; Data; Resources; Production and Well-being.

New interdisciplinary programmes will be developed in areas such as Technology for Change, Smart Cities, Data Science, Sustainable Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Spatial Data among many others.

Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, have been appointed as the lead design team. Work will commence on the new E3 Institute in 2018 and is expected to be complete by 2022.

Source: Trinity College Dublin