Under the direction of Dr Hugh Brady, president of UCD, the university has embedded innovation into the education curriculum, “The overarching goal of the sponsorship is to further strengthen the quality of the Irish graduate pipeline by creating a generation of business graduates who are technology savvy and of science graduates who can realise their innovation and entrepreneurial potential.”

According to Kelly Martin the potential for biotechnology is enormous and the current focus of the sector is on the expansion of research and discovery activities to complement Ireland’s established strength in manufacturing. Consequently, the Elan/UCD business of biotechnology initiative will open opportunities for scientists in Ireland who wish to commercialise their work.

“The Elan-UCD partnership initiative is an example of how industry and university can support the national economic agenda – getting our brightest minds to provide vision and leadership for future wealth generation,” Mr Martin said. “Promoting innovation in core science like this has an eye on creating high value jobs and enterprises that will enable graduates to contribute from Ireland in a meaningful way to the global biotech sector.”

The Elan €3.17 million to UCD comes after the company’s announcement of a strategic alliance with Cambridge University for research into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease. “Normally donations of this size are for bricks and mortar but Elan’s investment in brainpower demonstrates the company’s commitment to Ireland at this juncture. It will have a profound impact on UCD’s future and on the expansion of our unique science and business offering,” Dr. Brady said.

“Ireland needs to produce the best business and technology graduates if it is to continue to attract major multinational companies and grow its own technology sector. It also needs to take every step possible to increase the commercialisation of its research outputs and to enhance the innovation capacity of Irish-based industry. The creation of a business of biotechnology hub supports the Irish and indeed the European agenda to support emerging enterprise in this area,” concluded Dr. Brady.

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