A new $200 million state-of-the-art science center was opened last week at University College Dublin.

It will now become home to over 2,000 undergraduate students, more than 500 graduate students, and many more researchers across a range of scientific disciplines. The construction of this phase provided more than 1,000 jobs over three years.

The O'Brien Centre for Science's chief benefactor is businessman Denis O’Brien.

Funded by the State and philanthropic donations, the new center marks the completion of the second phase of the $400 million project with a third at planning stage.

The final complex will be the single largest capital investment in science in the history of the state.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, UCD President Hugh Brady said the building will compete with the very best in the world.

Digicell founder Denis O’Brien stated “Places of learning and academic pursuit are central to the ongoing development of the world in which we live.

“Ireland has a rich and illustrious history in education. Generations of parents have made huge personal sacrifices to educate their children at university level…. Generations of Irish Missionaries have brought education to the developing world.

“It never ceases to amaze me – as I travel the world – the huge contribution Irish men and women have made in so many spheres, in so many countries… many of them graduates of this great university.

“I want to recognize and record my indebtedness to UCD as a third-level student. I spent several of the happiest years of my life on this campus. But let me add, I was never the perfect student but I participated fully in the joys of university life….

“I am delighted to be associated with this magnificent new building. But buildings are… buildings! It is what takes place in them that matters. And it is what they facilitate that matters most of all.

“I sincerely hope science students, from all over Ireland and overseas, will further their education in this world class facility and garner the necessary skills and experiences to become contributors to the world that awaits them. And I’m sure it is not too lofty to speculate that there are significant scientific discoveries that will be made in this fantastic new facility.

“Science is central to all our lives – to our society, to Ireland and to our world. It provides paths to solutions, answers to questions and helps us to delve deeper into a world we still know so little about.

“Science is so absolutely central to the ‘global community’ of which we are all part… assessing what lies ahead for the environment, investigating the threats to life on earth, and engaging in ground-breaking research to tackle the health challenges that face a rapidly growing global population.

“More than ever, we need to challenge ourselves and our sense of collegiality towards our global neighbors. Again, I hope that some of what will happen here, will lead to scientific solutions to some of the problems that see far too many die, far too young, in a world that is so sophisticated in so many respects and yet so deficient, and indeed, negligent in other aspects.”