On Friday last I was invited by UCD President Hugh Brady to attend the Official Opening of Phase 1 of the new Science Centre to be performed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. I was kindly met beforehand by Professor Gerry Byrne Incoming Dean of Engineering with whom I attended the Opening. Gerry is also a past President of Engineers Ireland (2000 - 2001).
In addition to meeting the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, I also met President Hugh Brady and Vice President of Research Des Fitzgerald.
Pictured with the Taoiseach touring the New UCD Science Centre and meeting staff together with from left Professor Hugh Brady UCD President, Professor Pat Guiry UCD Chemistry, Professor Gerry Byrne UCD Dean of Engineering (partly hidden), P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland and Professor Des Fitzgerald UCD Vice President of Research
The new Science Centre is on the site of the old Science Block beside the lake and the Arts Block/Library where I did Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Maths Physics in First Engineering in the 1970s but has been completely transformed architecturally and internally. The new space is merely Phase 1 of what will be the single largest capital investment (€300m) in third level education in the history of the state.
We toured the new Centre for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery with the Taoiseach, who stopped from time to time to hear the scientific story attached to this or that piece of laboratory equipment or simply to enquire the origins of the many Irish and multicultural staff employed there.
The new Centre involved the gutting of the old Chemistry building and the construction of significant additional space with a new highly appealing architectural entrance, not at all reminiscent of the old Belfield which I once knew.
The Taoiseach appeared to be highly impressed by what he saw and heard and that was very obvious in his inspirational speech at the Official Opening afterwards.
The new Building will house three new research units - the Institute of Food and Health, the Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Centre for Nanomedicine. UCD currently have some 200 collaborative partnerships underway in the general science area and the nexus of this creative endeavour is the Science Centre.
UCD Science Centre
UCD President Hugh Brady stated
"Investment in research is a necessity not a luxury. It is the foundation for the discoveries and technology developments that will build the economy of the future. The new Science Centre highlights innovation as part of the engineering and science life cycle. The project is creating what we call a transformative resource for Ireland to spark an innovation revolution in Ireland.'
The striking thing about this visit was to see at first hand research engineers and scientists working side by side in a common purpose.
The reason was this is clear. There is no boundary between Bioscience and Bioengineering but all working together in the interest of Assisted Living.
I look forward to seeing further phases of this extremely impressive enterprise completed at UCD. Principal of the UCD College of Engineering and Architecture Gerry Byrne is equally excited about this new development. 'Obviously there are new ideas being generated across the board but often the science end of the relationship would be working on the basics and engineering on the application and transfer' he says.