New technology centre to break barriers to construction innovation
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD, has launched Construct Innovate – a new Enterprise Ireland Technology Centre hosted at University of Galway which may play a key role in the transition to sustainable building in Ireland.
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Construct Innovate has been established with funding of €5 million, over 5 years, to accelerate research and innovation in the construction sector and put built environment industry at the cuttingedge of developments by utilising the strengths of a network of government, industry and academia.
The consortium is the first of its kind in Ireland and includes Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork, working with the Irish Green Building Council, sectoral bodies and construction companies.
The official launch of Construct Innovate coincides with it being formally open for membership for construction companies.
Construct Innovate will be at the forefront of initiatives to meet the demands of major building and investment programmes as part of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan 2021-2030; Housing for All; and the Climate Action Plan 2021.
Construct Innovate brings together a critical mass of experts and thought leaders, offering a single point of contact for industry to access the best combination of skills, equipment and know-how in the Irish research system.
Its work will be built around industry-led, open innovation and collaborative research. This approach will enable the construction sector to tap into the innovative responses which are needed to support rapid transformation to meet demand, in terms of scale, quality, speed and efficiency.
A team of researchers from across the Construct Innovate consortium will offer expertise in digital adoption, modern methods of construction and sustainability, providing recommendations to industry on best practice.
Its work will be organised under five pillars to address the following urgent areas – productivity; affordability and cost; quality and safety; sustainability; skills and training; and collaboration.
In line with the government’s Housing for All strategy, Construct Innovate has been tasked with prioritising research and innovation in the housing sector in its first three years. Part of this will allow for testing, trial builds, building systems analysis, workforce upskilling and developing capacity with all of these opportunities being combined with the need to pursue the highest environmentally- friendly standards in materials and build.
Construct Innovate will also provide secondment opportunities for innovative research and academics across the consortium.
Across the construction sector in Ireland, 93 per cent of companies employ fewer than six people, and 99.6 per cent of companies employ fewer than 50 people.
President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “University of Galway has made excellence and sustainability two of our core values and it is a huge credit to our community that by embedding those values in our work that we have been selected to host Construct Innovate – a national technology centre. We believe strongly that our university exists for the public good and Construct Innovate is a shining example of that ethos in practice as it gives the sector the tools to address challenges affecting society.”