Trinity is set to hire a new Chief Executive Officer, who will work within the Department of Research and Innovation and receive a salary between €80,000 and €110,000, with responsibility for coordinating Trinity’s numerous entrepreneurship programmes into an innovation and entrepreneurship hub.
The hub, the development of which was part of Trinity’s 2014–2019 strategic plan, aims to connect and expand the various innovation projects that currently exist within college, such as Launchbox and the more-recently opened Launchpad.
The role, which is still open for applications, will have the responsibility for creating “strong internal and external visibility for what Trinity is delivering and achieving in relation to innovation and entrepreneurship”, according to the job application.
Speaking to The University Times , Trinity’s Director of Research and Innovation, Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, said the role was about creating “a business unit that brings together all of the innovation activity that we currently have in college”.
The role will also be outward-looking, and the new officer will also seek to link Trinity with the wider Dublin entrepreneurship community. With Dublin increasingly developing a start-up culture, O’Brien said “Trinity wants to be at the centre of that conversation, and this role is about trying to give somebody that mandate to be at the centre of that conversation”.
A key part of the role will be to link the numerous entrepreneurship activities that take place across the college, including those not on the main campus, such as “The Tower” on the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus on Pearse Street, which has helped support numerous student start-ups in recent years.
The new officer will also be responsible for integrating Trinity’s work for the European Institute of Technology and Learning into the new hub. Trinity is part of two Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), healthy living and raw materials, which work to connect industry, academia and government across Europe to support innovation.
According to O’Brien, the new officer will bring these different projects “under a single umbrella” to “get the best from our resources that are being invested in them”.
While a background with some links to research might be beneficial, O’Brien emphasised that Trinity was looking for someone “who has also worked outside the university, be it in an accelerator or an incubator or in a venture firm, or even in a start-up or something like that, so they can also bring a perspective that helps them understand the entrepreneur as well as the university environment”.
Commenting on the salary the new officer will receive, O’Brien said: “For the people with the experience and the roles we’re trying to attract, I’d see that as an appropriate salary.” Describing it as “competitive”, he added that it was consistent with similar roles in Trinity such as Director of the Science Gallery or the directors of college’s research centres.
Other institutions both in Ireland and beyond, according to O’Brien, have similar director positions with the responsibility for promoting an entrepreneurship culture across campus. Commenting on why this particular role received the title of Chief Executive Officer, he said: “We’ve decided to call it the CEO role because really it has been set up as an independent business unit within the college”.
This was echoed by Trinity’s Start-Up Development Manager, Fionnuala Healy, who emphasised that, as part of being based within the Department of Research and Innovation, the role was administrative, rather than academic.
Speaking to The University Times Healy emphasised the large role the new hub will play in college in the future, especially in increasing collaboration with schools and faculties.
“We want to be committed to providing support for anyone who wants to look into entrepreneurship as a career option when they leave Trinity”, she said.
One of the most recent entrepreneurship success stories for Trinity’s Launchbox programme has been the development of Trinity ID, which will soon be accepted by Irish Rail as identification and has seen the founder of the company behind the app, iDly, fourth-year engineering student Finn Murphy, featured in articles in The Guardian and The Huffington Post.