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Posted 17 September 2009

UCD/TCD Innovation Alliance Roadmaps Innovation Actions with Irish Technology Leadership Group in Washington

Following a series of meetings in Washington, the UCD/TCD Innovation Alliance and the Silicon Valley-based Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) have agreed to collaborate on a number of projects aimed at creating an innovation eco-system in Ireland.

Beginning this October, the ITLG will provide mentors to and participate in innovation workshops on the UCD/TCD Innovation Academy graduate training programme.

The ITLG will also participate in a diligence process to maximise the partnership’s joint potential to foster innovation and to create new businesses.

In a move designed to attract investors and funds from both the US and Ireland, under the aegis of the ITLG, a new operation: Irish Technology Capital (ITC), will open offices in San Jose, California and in Dublin. ITC aims to attract $100 million venture funding and will be co-led by Chairman of ITLG, Mr John Hartnett and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Dr Richard A Moran. The venture capital fund will focus on high-potential Irish start-ups.

Pictured far right (l-r): Irish Ambassador to America, Michael Collins, ITLG’s John Hartnett, Chancellor Mary Robinson, Provost of TCD, Dr John Hegarty & UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady.

The development of the Irish Tech Center at a site in San Pedro Square, San Jose, is to be led by Mr Tom McEnery, former mayor of the Silicon Valley capital.

The meeting was the second between the groups, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Dublin, last June. The partners have now set out their agenda for implementing close and deep collaboration between Ireland’s universities and Silicon Valley’s global technology companies, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The two university heads and ITLG chairman, John Hartnett, briefed the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan in a video link up while in Washington.

Commenting on the summit’s conclusions, ITLG’s Hartnett, said: “We have set ourselves on a bold and ambitious path to translating Ireland’s smart economy into new opportunities to grow and develop using world-class Irish innovation and American know-how and capital as the drivers. Buoyed by the incredible support our initiative had already received from both sides of the Atlantic, we look forward to translating vital goodwill and hard capital into success in the mid-term.”

“The multi-prong partnership between the ITLG and the Innovation Alliance will drive a fundamental change in PhD training and business development that should establish Ireland as a European hotbed of innovation and enterprise creation,” said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD.

“The new actions agreed with the ITLG are a major first step in realising the goals of the UCD/TCD Alliance. Connecting into Silicon Valley, the heart of innovation and venture capital, for both graduate training and business investment is a breakthrough for Ireland,” said Dr John Hegarty, Provost TCD.

Together UCD and TCD educate 50% of Ireland’s undergraduates in science, engineering and technology as well as 50% of Ireland’s PhDs. The two universities also account for 50% of Ireland’s research investment and research outputs. They have a strong track record of collaboration in areas such as chemistry, molecular medicine, bioprocess engineering and digital research.

The Innovation Alliance has two major components. The UCD/TCD Joint Venture in Enterprise Development builds on the universities’ existing technology transfer operations and enterprise facilities. The 4th level UCD/TCD Innovation Academy mainstreams innovation as the third arm of the university mission alongside education and research.

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Irish Ambassador to America, Michael Collins, ITLG’s John Hartnett, Chancellor Mary Robinson, Provost of TCD, Dr John Hegarty & UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady.