Innovation Hub Director

Trinity College Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland

About Trinity College Dublin

Trinity is Ireland’s premier university, with a proud tradition of excellence stretching back to its foundation in 1592. The oldest university in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe, today Trinity sits at the intersection of the past and the future, and is ideally positioned as a major university in the European Union. It’s 47-acre campus is located in the heart of Dublin city centre and is home to historic buildings dating from the University’s establishment, as well as some of the most cutting-edge teaching and research facilities in Ireland. Students at Trinity benefit from a unique educational experience across a range of disciplines in its three faculties – Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Health Sciences. The pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education, and its researchers have an outstanding publication record and strong record of grant success.

You can find further details on their website https://www.tcd.ie/

Innovation Hub Director Role Profile

Trinity has developed a vision for a campus at Grand Canal Quay that will serve both the needs of Trinity as it grows its student numbers and specifically as it strives to meet its potential as a global research and innovation leader. In addition, the proposed campus will not just meet the ambitions of Trinity but will position Trinity as a key enabler in unlocking the innovation potential of Dublin and Ireland by placing the new campus at the physical centre of the proposed Grand Canal Innovation District.

Significant progress has been made by Trinity and a detailed work programme and governance structure has been developed. The work programme incorporates all the proposed work streams into the relevant business unit and has a senior Trinity leadership team owning specific deliverables and acting as a steering committee reporting directly into Board.

One of these workstreams is tasked with the early activation of the site. It involves the development and implementation of a full early activation strategy that will include both infrastructure renovation and programmatic activities. This is central to ensuring we begin the process of place-making and enabling Grand Canal Quay to be recognised as an innovation destination.

As part of this early activation, an Innovation Hub will be established in a renovated building. The 20,000 sq ft Innovation Hub will be completed by the end of 2020 and will drive an early activation of the greater innovation campus, providing key lessons for the subsequent development of the entire site, activating the innovation engine with international and local players while engaging with the local community.

A director is required to establish and run this Hub, and will report to the Director of Trinity Research & Innovation, who owns this workstream.

Duties and Responsibilities

Phase 1, Design and Start Up; From appointment –January 2021

• Drive a coordinated approach across all tasks associated with the Innovation Hub including

1. property development (the asset)

2. economic activity (programming and operations)

3. ecosystem development (networking)


• Collaborate with the Estates and Facilities team to ensure that design brief for physical assets in the early activation of the site, to include the refurbishment of a warehouse and outdoor public space are delivered on time and meet expectations including, the café, event space, co working and own office space

• Drive the development of a programming and operational business model for this space, reflecting ‘best practise from learnings from operations in best class facilities, including:

  • the creation a cross disciplinary, collaborative and inclusive environment for academia, enterprise and the community
  • the development of a strong brand for the Hub which describes its vision and mission
  • the ramp up of activities required to ensure the early activation is of appropriate critical mass and scale to be effective and financially viable
  • developing a funding and staffing model for the space at start up and build out, considering the income from the customers including the mix of SMEs, Start Ups, individuals, community etc
  • evaluate and select an innovation partner for the Hub, which could be a local provider such as Dog Patch Labs or an international partner such as Boston’s CIC.
  • establish connections of the early activation activities to the broad innovation eco system in the Grand Canal district, and beyond, so that the Hub is starting to play a role as catalyst for the Innovation district. This will include new start-ups, emerging SMES, innovation indigenous enterprises and multinational companies.
  • develop a selection policy and process for suitable tenancies and partners for the Hub
  • collaborate with the Trinity Research and Innovation unit (TR&I) to ensure the role of TCD’s innovation output is integrated into the program
  • develop a showcase to inspire the future potential of the campus and the innovation district
  • establish meaningful connections to social and cultural entrepreneurs in Dublin and beyond
  • direct the Innovation Hub Events Manager in curating a number of pre-start up events, to establish the Hub within the ecosystem and provide key learnings for upcoming program activities

• Own the development of and the integration with the broader ecosystem of the Grand Canal District including;

  • conduct a regional audit analysis to understand both their strengths and weaknesses of Dublin’s innovation ecosystem
  • the development of activated public events that connect in a meaningful way to the local community and ‘fence line neighbours’
  • represent the Hub at relevant external events
  • the integration of these activities to the universities, incubators, accelerators and key existing actors in Dublin
  • direct the Innovation Hub Events Manager in the creation of marketing and communication assets for the space that will attract exciting new start-up and international leaders but can also be used to influence decision makers in government
  • collaborate with other innovation actors on the organisation of innovation-orientated conferences that bring international and national innovation thought leaders to Dublin, thus establishing an international reputation for the Hub

Phase 2, Innovation Hub Operations Start and Ramp 2021 - 2022

  • Complete the build out the Hub team with skilled staff and external partner
  • Implement an operational model which will deliver the highest degree of professionalism, including in its customer orientation, quality, safety, operations, IT systems, finances and people management
  • Implement a governance structure for the early activation project and programming, with view to scaling the structure for the future project
  • Embed the new organisation within the TCD TR&I structure with a strong external focus and collaborating with TR&I’s new venture program to scale the Universities campus companies
  • Drive the occupancy of the Hub from the café to the own door offices
  • Direct the Innovation Hub Events Manager in implement a vibrant program for Hub with weekly event, establishing the Hub as the major city venue for innovation events
  • Partner with the Community Engagement manager Engage the community in ensuring the facility has open access and establishes an active part of community activities beyond normal working hours

Required Competencies

  • The candidate should have strong leadership skills and also exhibit a high tolerance to ambiguity as there will be many ‘twist and turns’ in this start up mode
  • The candidate will be a strategic thinker and be able to assimilate large quantities of information from broad sources of information and extract meaningful strategies
  • They will be a strong networker and demonstrate an ability to influence others
  • The candidate will have excellent people management skills
  • They will have the ability to delegate tasks where appropriate while understanding when to adopt a leadership role
  • The candidate will have a broad set of interests and be comfortable in operating in a cross disciplinary environment


  • The successful candidate will have at least 8 years of experience in a senior position that has relevance to the role.
  • It is essential that they have considerable experience in the leadership and management of multi-disciplinary teams
  • Their knowledge of and experience in the entrepreneurial system (legal, finance, investment etc.) will be a key differentiating factor
  • Experience of a fast moving and leading-edge innovation environment is essential, ideally in both Academic and Industry sectors
  • The successful candidate will have considerable events management experience and have the ability to manage both small and large events
  • Experience in starting up a new enterprise is highly desirable and having deep understanding of the challenges involved in growing a start-up company
  • Experience of the Irish and European R&D&I innovation system including funding mechanisms and opportunities (Desirable)
  • Candidate demonstrates an appreciation/understanding of interdisciplinary initiatives (Desirable)
  • Candidate demonstrates an appreciation/understanding and preferably have experience of community affairs (Desirable)


  • Candidates for this post will be educated to at least to degree level in a business, engineering or science related discipline

Terms of Appointment

  • This is a full-time position with the successful candidate being appointed on a fixed term contract of 3-year duration.
  • Appointment will be made on the Senior Administrative Officer 2 Salary Scale] at a point in line with Government Pay Policy [€90,516 to €120,153 per annum].
  • This is a pensionable position.

How to apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please apply through the Application form below on or before Monday, 6 April 2020. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service. We will revert to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application.

Application form