UCD’s vice-president for Innovation and Corporate Partnerships, Peter Clinch, is stepping down in March to move to a new position heading a research programme in the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business in Blackrock.

The focus of this programme is on Ireland’s competitive position as it emerges from the recent financial crisis. The school will build upon economist Clinch’s current affiliation with the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.

Clinch is Jean Monnet chair of European Economic Integration as well as UCD Professor of Public Policy in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy and was also recently appointed by the government to the National Competitiveness Council.

Speaking to the University Observer, he said that he highly enjoyed working in innovation and corporate partnerships over the last three years and that it is “a great credit to the quality of UCD students and researchers that UCD has positioned itself as a key component of Ireland’s innovation ecosystem and is an engine of growth with a global reach.”

He also said, “Innovation, and the role of higher-education institutions therein, is critical to the future success of the Irish economy, but also in determining the future success of Irish society.”

Clinch feels that as Ireland’s largest university, UCD must continue to make a strong contribution in not only scientific and technological innovation, but also in social and cultural innovation.

A significant strategic project over the last three years has been to broaden the concept of innovation, which he defines simply as “creating value from knowledge”, from the traditional areas of scientific and technological innovation to encompass also the arts and humanities.

UCD innovation has also expanded through NovaUCD to encompasses industry, public-sector and non-profit partnerships. NovaUCD has a range of comprehensive support programmes and a peer-system that has developed and nurtured an enthusiastic and dynamic community of highly talented entrepreneurs.

Professor Clinch also commented on the recent independent study of NovaUCD’s economic impact over the last 10-years. He remarked that based on current activity alone, entrepreneurial and commercialisation activities at NovaUCD will be supporting a total of 2,527 jobs by 2016, of which 1,934 will be in Ireland, and will be contributing an annual economic impact of €87.7 million worldwide, including €66.1 million which will be contributed to the Irish economy.

In his new position, Prof. Clinch aims to focus on maintaining and improving the educational offerings to students and also to balance engaging in world class research in a “shrinking funding environment,” while also is looking forward to bringing his research and experiences of working with the policy process and with industry into the classroom.