New institute will deliver a 'global impact'
The 11-storey building on Dublin's Pearse Street is a testament to the country's ambitions to deliver world-class health research.
It is also expected to have the added advantages of boosting education and aiding economic recovery.
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has opened a €135m Biomedical Sciences Institute which, says TCD provost Dr John Hegarty, will deliver "health, wealth and wisdom" to the nation.
The new city landmark brings together TCD's schools of medicine, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacy, pharmaceutical science, chemistry and engineering.
Having so many different experts working alongside each other in one location could result in the country taking an international lead in new discoveries, from disease diagnosis to drugs and medical devices such as inhalers and stents.
As well as 900 undergraduate students across the five schools, the centre will be home to 700 researchers working under 78 lead investigators on major scientific research.
Crucially, there will be a strong collaboration with industry, and the ideas will be translated into commercial opportunities, creating new companies and jobs.
Ireland already has a strong reputation in the biomedical area and is home to nine of the top 10 global companies.
The 35,000 sq m building has been constructed in such a way that it will be able to accommodate a future underground rail connector to nearby Pearse Station.
There will also be a ground floor retail shopping arcade, which will help pay for it.
The institute was financed for €80m by the State, with the balance coming from donations, commercial accommodation and a loan from the European Investment Bank.
Speaking at the official opening yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the institute would be at the heart of groundbreaking discoveries, with national and global impacts.
TCD dean of research Dr David Lloyd said TCD had already led world-class research in biomedical sciences, from developing the nicotine patch to identifying new genes for childhood eczema and increasing understanding of major diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and arthritis.
Dr Hegarty, meanwhile, said the scale of the development was unlike anything undertaken in the history of TCD, or Ireland.
"It is a bold statement of Trinity's confidence in the calibre of its academic staff and their capacity to build up a critical mass sufficient to compete with the best in the world," he said.
He added that it had innovation at its core, and would generate enormous dividends to Irish society in terms of health research.