New library marks major step forward for flagship Trinity East campus 

Trinity College Dublin is expanding its relationship with the Laidlaw Foundation with the establishment of a new research and innovation library at its Trinity East campus funded by a gift from the Foundation.  [19 March 2024]. 

Trinity has a strong partnership with the Foundation and is a member of the international Laidlaw Scholars Network, consisting of 20 universities around the world, and hosts the Laidlaw Trailblazers, which assists women from disadvantaged backgrounds in Trinity to pursue and achieve leadership positions.

The new research and innovation library will be Trinity’s first stand-alone digital library and is expected to open in 2027 focusing on embracing modern and collaborative working and studying approaches.  

The new library will be created from the refurbishment of an existing building on the Trinity East campus in Grand Canal Dock and will extend to over 2,000 square metres. Work is already underway to conceptualise the design of the building which will embrace the adjacent Innovation Hub, which is currently under construction. The buildings incorporate an event space and café which will host internal and external events and activities. The sustainable approach of refurbishment is at the heart of development work in Trinity East.

Provost Dr Linda Doyle welcomed the announcement:

“We have developed a great partnership with the Laidlaw Foundation through the Laidlaw Scholars programme and the Trailblazers initiative. We are delighted that the partnership has been deepened further with a generous gift from the Laidlaw Foundation that will allow us to develop an outstanding library facility for our research community. It will be of enormous benefit to students and staff and will broaden access to a vast stock of copyrighted digital material.

“The library is central to our vision for the Trinity East campus, which will be a vibrant hub for world-class research and cutting-edge innovation. I want to thank the Laidlaw Foundation and acknowledge its hugely positive impact on Trinity, not only with this wonderful new library, but also with the ongoing support for the fantastic Laidlaw Scholars and Laidlaw Trailblazers initiatives”.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw said “Funding a new library is not about bricks or even books. It is about investing in the limitless potential of intellectual curiosity and wisdom. As an Irish citizen, I am particularly proud to be supporting Trinity College Dublin’s new campus, and building a Research and Innovation library where students will gather to study, inquire and expand their knowledge.”

Trinity’s Bursar Eleanor Denny said: “Creating this Research &Innovation Library is a crucial step in our Trinity East development plan. Over time, our ambition is that our new campus will foreground not only research and innovation, but also culture, community and sustainability. The Laidlaw Foundation’s incredible gift will allow us to take a large step forward.” 

The Librarian & College Archivist, Helen Shenton said: “As the anchor of the new Trinity East campus, this new Research and Innovation Library is a major step-change in the evolution of the Library of Trinity College Dublin. From its iconic 18th century and 20th century buildings, this avowedly 21st century library will be digital first and foremost, a hive of innovation and a test bed for creating a sustainable digital library”.

The new library will form part of the broader Trinity East project, which is redeveloping the 5.2 acre site in Grand Canal Dock through a programme of refurbishment and regeneration with a focus on sustainability and enhancing biodiversity.  

Notes for editors 

More on Laidlaw Foundation:

The Laidlaw Foundation invests in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented in order to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of ethical leaders. Our funding supports five core programmes:

  • Sponsoring the Laidlaw Schools Trust – a growing, Multi Academy Trust in the North East of England, providing extraordinary education that transforms lives;
  • Developing a new generation of diverse leaders who embrace research-based decision-making and ethical leadership through our Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research programme at the world’s leading universities;
  • Ensuring more women reach the C-Suite by providing MBA scholarships at London Business School, Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, HEC Paris and now IE; and supporting women from lower socio-economic backgrounds to attend university through the Trinity College Dublin Trailblazer programme; as well as,
  • Turbocharging good businesses by investing in start-ups founded by Laidlaw Scholars through a $50m venture capital fund, Laidlaw Scholars Ventures; and
  • Building innovative and inspiring spaces in which pupils and students excel.

More on Laidlaw Scholars:

The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership Programme was established in 2014 with TCD joining in 2018. Lord Laidlaw’s vision is to create a wide-reaching and diverse network of Laidlaw Scholars who will reinvest their knowledge, skills and experience in their communities.

The programme has three components – a research project supervised by an academic in the host institution, a leadership development programme, and a ‘Leadership in Action’ experience. Laidlaw Scholars currently receive financial support of €6,500.

The programme began at Oxford, Durham, Leeds, York, St Andrews and UCL. After Trinity came Columbia University, Tufts, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Singapore. There are now 18 universities in the Network with Cambridge, EPFL, and Brown University as recent additions. The network is continuing to expand.

Trinity selected its 6th cohort in May 2023 who are currently undertaking their research projects, with the 2022 cohort having undertaken their leadership projects and will be graduating from the programme in Oct 2023. The 2023 cohort are engaged in research in a wide range of fields representing the faculties of Health Sciences, STEM and Arts.

More on Laidlaw Trailblazers:

Laidlaw Trailblazers: Women in Leadership Programme is a new Trinity Access Programmes initiative in partnership with the Laidlaw Foundation, that aims to help the most disadvantaged, excluded, and disempowered women in their engagement with higher education and sustainable careers. The programme will bring 10 women from lower socio-economic groups into Trinity each year. The Laidlaw Foundation has a proven track record in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented to reduce inequality and develop a new generation of leaders.  Chosen students will receive €2,500 each academic year for the length of their course/degree.

About Trinity East Campus  

Trinity East is a campus at Grand Canal Dock that is being redeveloped to facilitate research,  innovation, civic and cultural engagement.   

At Trinity East, researchers from all faculties at Trinity College Dublin will be co-located with aligned entrepreneurs, industry partners, cultural practitioners and the local community – all engaged in cutting edge work and innovation activities, while demonstrating their commitment to our planet.  

The redevelopment of the campus is being undertaken in a sustainable way – adopting a repair and refurbish first approach to upgrading the buildings, and increasing the biodiversity value of the external spaces. The aim is to open access to what have been under-used city spaces, and to progress incrementally in line with the funding available.