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This year marks the 6th year of our Sustainability Launchpad in collaboration with UCD Engineering and the Energy Institute.

We continue to have a massive uptake of this programme. Over 35 engineering masters students are working together from a variety of engineering specialties from electronic to biomedical, to challenge the ordinary and tackle the problems of the future; ranging from Irish biodiversity to energy emissions. These students are working alongside our industry partners; applying design thinking principles, researching, and exploring potential opportunities to help bring change to their industry.

We are delighted to have partnered with the Smartwires, SSE Airtricity, Irish Seed Savers Association through Irish Social Innovation Fund and Chum through NCAD this year to create scalable, sustainable business models to positively impact our environment, and our society.

Our four teams will focus on the some of the most critical issues facing the world over the next decade:

1.       Smartwires

Smart Wires helps electric utilities solve their biggest challenges by using impactful solutions – that are quick to install, easy to redeploy or scale and fully controllable – to provide the flexibility needed in today’s uncertain landscape.


2.       Irish Seed Savers Association

Irish Seed Savers Association maintains the country’s public seed bank with over 600 non-commercially available varieties of seed. They conserve and grow heritage apple trees and other fruit tree varieties.


3.       C No More

In collaboration with SSE, C No More aims to implement methods for carbon capture and storage, in order to reduce Irelands carbon emissions. Carbon emissions will continue to be a major societal topic as climate change continues to threaten the world.


4.       Chum

The Chum toolkit is an oral motor weaning tool designed to help children to eat independently. The HSE reports that in Ireland today there are 2,500 children being tube fed and a further 10,000 with speech and language difficulties on waiting lists to see a therapist. All of these children are waiting anywhere from 4 months to a year for initial assessments from therapists. The Chum toolkit is a playful toy to help children train their tongue muscle movements in a fun and engaging way.

To date, our teams have completed ideation sessions, refined their value proposition, and researched emerging trends/market leaders in their industry. They have been validating and invalidating hypotheses and challenging their assumptions with their industry partners. It’s great to see so much collaborative and co-creation taking place. The teams comprise of participants from a multitude of backgrounds, cultures and nationalities bringing a global perspective to the problem being solved.

Over the past 8 weeks we have looked at the dynamics of a successful team, how to pitch effectively, developing a revenue model, and much more. Focusing on competitor and stakeholder analysis and getting a scope for the market. They’ve developed detailed maps of existing competitors; who they are, what they do, and where the opportunity lies, as well as thinking about who the stakeholders are for their business/idea. This is often an eye-opening activity for many teams; will the opportunity lie in the market as they expected? Or will an opportunity exist at all?

If you are interested in partaking in our next Sustainability Launchpad or are a domain expert in any of the fields discussed above feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

This blog is written by Mary Cronin from the Sustainability Launchpad facilitation team. If you have any questions about the Launchpad programme just email

Circular Economy
Mary Cronin
Author: Mary Cronin
November 7, 2019
Mary is an innovation specialist, systems thinker and circular economy facilitator. As the founder of UpThink Innovation Agency, Mary works with SMEs and large organisations as a circular economy/climate change/ESG consultant.