New €5m construction technology centre for Galway

Construction Technology Centre to accelerate research and innovation within the construction and built environment sector.

A new €5m Construction Technology Centre has been established at NUI Galway.

The consortium behind the venture includes Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork working with the Irish Green Building Council.

“The Construction Technology Centre will leverage the best combination of skills, equipment and know-how in the Irish research system”

Enterprise Ireland worked with Ernst & Young to develop the specification for the Construction Technology Centre by identifying the construction sector’s current, emerging, and future innovation and technology needs through detailed engagement with firms, stakeholders, and national and international experts. In line with the Government’s Housing for All strategy, the new Centre will have a particular focus on advancing innovation and productivity in residential construction.

A team of researchers from across the Construction Technology Centre consortium, with expertise in the main areas of digital adoption, modern methods of construction and sustainability will be organised under five pillars to address the urgent areas of Productivity, Affordability & Cost; Quality and Safety; Sustainability; Skills and Training; and Collaboration.

Building the future

“The Government is investing billions – substantially above the EU average – in the future, building new homes, roads, public transport, schools, hospitals and other vital infrastructure,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD.

“This new Construction Technology Centre will make sure we are at the cutting edge of new developments in the sector, making sure Irish companies and the taxpayer are getting the best value for money, while building this important infrastructure in the most modern and efficient way possible.

“We’re making sure that a diverse range of academics, skilled craft workers, industry experts and thought leaders feed into the work of the Centre, so that when businesses come for advice, they get accurate, up to date information that is informed by a broad range of expertise across the sector.”

Under Housing for All, the Government has expanded the remit of Enterprise Ireland to work with the domestic housebuilding sector for the first time. As part of its Built to Innovate programme the Agency is focused on driving productivity and innovation in housebuilding, including increased use of Modern Methods of Construction, through lean and digital grants and funding for research and innovation projects. EI also works closely with the Construction Sector Group on innovation and digital adoption in the industry.

The Construction Technology Centre, together with other Government initiatives such as the Build Digital Project, the recently announced Demonstration Park which will be developed at Mount Lucas, Co. Offaly, and Enterprise Ireland’s Built to Innovate programme, will ensure a more competitive, sustainable and digitally enhanced construction sector.

The Irish construction sector is a major driver of economic activity. It provides the social, economic, and productive infrastructure required to sustain economic growth and competitiveness and attract foreign direct investment.

The sector employs 159,300, 6.4% of total employed in the economy and represents 6.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and (11.2% of Gross National Income (GNI).

Enterprise Ireland’s High-Tech Construction and Housing team works with a portfolio of 450 client companies that achieved exports of €2.89bn in 2021, up 24% on the previous year.

“The Construction Technology Centre will leverage the best combination of skills, equipment and know-how in the Irish research system,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“Through innovation, the Centre will help to increase the productivity, sustainability and export potential of the construction sector, while enabling reduced costs and build times for Ireland’s housing and infrastructural requirements.”

Image at top (from left): Frank Kelly, President, Construction Industry Federation; Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland; Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, TD; Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, Co-Director of Construction Technology Centre and Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway; Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President, NUI Galway; Johanna Varghese, Irish Green Building Council

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.