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Posted 12 March 2010

Innovation Alliance Announces Innovation Bursaries and Roll Out of Innovation Academy Graduate Programme

Responding to the publication of the Innovation Taskforce Report’s recommendations the UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady and the TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty welcomed the Taskforce’s acknowledgement of the Innovation Alliance and its endorsement as a model which should be rolled out nationally.

“The Report provides a clear and decisive framework within which the goals of the Innovation Alliance between the two universities can be realised,” they said.

“The vision of Ireland as an Innovation Hub by 2020 recognises the value of human capital for Ireland’s economic recovery. Knowledge is the currency of the innovation economy and the education system is pivotal in making innovation happen.

We have taken significant steps to mainstream innovation as a core element of the education experience and evolved polices to support the creation of new enterprise and enhance partnerships with industry.

The Taskforce’s recommendation to reposition the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation at the heart of innovation policy and to extend it to 2020 is crucial in delivering these goals. The report’s recommendations also provide clarity of national policy for the coordination of research funding activities.”

Taken in their totality, these recommendations provide a platform, connecting all parts of the innovation ecosystem including education, enterprise and government and have the potential to change the future of this country.

Announced a year ago today, the Innovation Alliance set out to develop an innovation ecosystem for Ireland with higher education, enterprise and government driving economic recovery. The UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, and the Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty, were subsequently both appointed as members of the Innovation Taskforce by An Taoiseach in July 2009.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Innovation Alliance, both universities jointly announced a series of new, focused, Innovation Bursaries through a joint €2 million fund.

In its suite of funded interdisciplinary PhD studentships and postdoctoral awards, which will be advertised in the national media tomorrow, Trinity College will be promoting innovation and research on the theme of Sustainable Society. All funding will be provided for the studentships, lasting four years, including fees and a stipend as well as start up and research costs.

“Through these innovation bursaries it is intended to harness the wide ranging resources, skills and innovative ideas of researchers across all disciplines and from the arts and humanities and social sciences to engineering, mathematics and science to health sciences, and to engage with the sustainability of our society in innovative ways. Intensive research initiatives such as these are essential in providing a pipeline of creativity and entrepreneurial activity for Ireland’s future as an innovation hub,” explains the Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty.

UCD will shortly announce details of corresponding PhD studentships and post-doctoral awards in priority research themes covering Earth Sciences, Energy and the Environment, Global Ireland, Health and Healthcare Delivery, and Information, Computation and Communications.

To further mark the occasion of the Innovation Alliance’s first anniversary, UCD and TCD have together launched a dedicated web presence – – and the rollout of the graduate training programme of the Innovation Academy, the educational centrepiece of the Alliance.

The mission of the Innovation Academy is to develop a new breed of creative graduate, with a thorough understanding of how innovation can convert knowledge, ideas and inventions into products, services and policies for economic and social benefit. The Academy is housed in a dedicated and newly refurbished space in Foster Place (former Bank of Ireland/ AIB premises) on College Green, and in NovaUCD located in Merville House on the UCD campus.

UCD and TCD students will participate in events in both locations. Ramping up from an initial master classes series, the first intake of UCD and TCD students for a joint Postgraduate Diploma in Innovation is scheduled for this September. The programme will draw on faculty from both institutions, as well as external industry mentors and speakers. It will combine innovation and entrepreneurship modules and workshops with case studies and real experience.

“We believe that the Innovation Academy can and will play a central role in the emergence of Ireland as a global hub for innovation. Through its formation our two universities aim to ‘future proof’ quality graduate education – furnishing highly skilled graduates uniquely positioned to contribute to Ireland’s recovery and prosperity,” concluded UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady and TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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