The executive chairman of Jones Engineering group, Eric Kinsella and his wife Barbara, have donated €30m to Trinity College Dublin.

The donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift from individuals to any Irish university.

The money is to be used as seed funding for the first building on the new Trinity East campus at the Grand Canal Innovation District.

This will be the first new campus developed by TCD in its 429-year history and will be 5.5 acres in size.

The new E3 Research Institute (E3RI) will be used for large-scale research programmes in engineering, environment and emerging technologies, including a focus on sustainability, climate change, renewable energy, water and sustainable manufacturing.

"Barbara and I are delighted to support a project of such national significance," Mr Kinsella said.

"The new Trinity East campus will be a highly efficient investment in the social and economic future of our country," he said.

"It will increase the prestige of our education and science sector internationally, will deliver research outputs in areas critical for future of our planet and will enable Trinity to expand its student body, giving new opportunities to young people throughout Ireland," he added.

Mr Kinsella is a TCD graduate and he and his wife have previously made significant contributions to Trinity College, including funding a multi-million euro 24-hour study facility in the Ussher Library.

They have also provided money for a programme of engineering scholarships for talented students.

"We are deeply grateful for this transformative donation which will make it possible for us to realise our vision for the new Trinity East campus in the Grand Canal Innovation District," said TCD Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast.

"The development of Trinity East is a historic opportunity for a university which has existed on its main campus since 1592," he added.