After working in America for 20 years, Dublin born Declan Weldon returned to his alma mater, Trinity College, as the Deputy Director for Research and Innovation and the head of the Office of Corporate Partnership and Knowledge. Trinity has one of the largest hubs of R&D accessible infrastructure in Ireland, is responsible for 600 industry engagements, and for the past 6 years, Trinity College graduates have been ranked number one in Europe for entrepreneurial performance.
The focus of Declan’s office, which is split into three different components, is to promote Trinity as a partner of choice for industry and business, support access to IP, and provide knowledge-based services to companies. Declan also explains how they are broadening innovation indicators, keeping companies out of the valley of death, and improving representation in the field.
As you will hear more about today, Trinity is responsible for some major innovations, including IONA technologies and the discovery of the importance of folic acid in pregnancy. We also discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most important partnerships that Trinity has formed, and Declan’s hopes for the future.
In This Episode:
- [00:50] An introduction to Declan Weldon, today’s guest on the show.
- [01:59] Declan’s journey from Trinity College student to deputy director of Trinity Research and Innovation.
- [03:29] A brief explanation of the work being done by the Office of Corporate Partnerships, which Declan is the head of.
- [04:48] Factors that make Trinity an extremely attractive partner for industry to work with.
- [07:22] How Enterprise Ireland, a government agency, supports the growth of Irish businesses.
- [09:24] The goal of the University Bridge Fund, which was created in part by Trinity.
- [12:30] How the knowledge transfer team in Declan’s office is structured.
- [15:00] People who make up the industry and academic consultancy teams in Declan’s office, and what they focus on.
- [16:50] How Declan’s office continually reinvents itself and improves its services, and why this is so important.
- [20:06] The number of IDF’s, patents, commercial agreements, licenses, and spin outs that have come through Declan’s office over the past 5 years.
- [21:19] Declan explains why his office focuses more on quality than quantity, and what they use as quality markers.
- [23:29] An example of a company that Declan’s office has been working with, which highlights why quality is a more meaningful measure.
- [25:00] Internal and external elements that are key to managing innovations to give them the greatest opportunity for success.
- [27:00] The wide variety of corporate relationships that Trinity has formulated, and some detail about one of the most important of all.
- [29:36] Philanthropy and alumni engagement at Trinity, and how the European and American environments differ in this regard.
- [31:55] Ranking of the entrepreneurial performance of Trinity graduates in the knowledge transfer field.
- [32:36] Some of the major innovations that have come out of Trinity.
- [35:30] Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work being done by Trinity.
- [37:14] How Declan and his team are working towards becoming more relevant to a wider audience, and the challenges associated with this.
- [38:20] Some of the reasons for the under-representation of certain demographic groups in the innovation sector, and action that Trinity is taking to change this.
- [40:45] The importance of having women in decision making positions.
- [43:00] Organizations that Trinity is involved with, and encouragement from Declan for everyone to play an active role in the organizations they are a part of.
- [44:40] Declan’s thoughts on why credentialing makes a positive difference to the field.
- [46:24] The vision that Declan has for the future of his office.