“Climate justice has to be a mission of economic growth and prosperity” were the opening remarks of former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. Her recent roles as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate, provided inspiration for much of her remarks to future climate leaders, who participated in the Journey Programme – the world’s biggest summer school for climate innovation
This past month saw the EU’s flagship climate innovation summer s chool, Journey, touch down in Dublin. Delivered through Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation agency, the Climate-KIC Journey is a five week programme for post-graduate students at masters level, encouraging action on climate change through entrepreneurship.
The Climate-KIC Journey is the world’s largest climate innovation summer school. Over 1200 students have taken part since the programme’s inception in 2010. It has generated over 240 climate-positive business plans, and many of the participants go on to partake in other start-up initiatives spear-headed by Climate-KIC.
Climate-KIC is a Europe-wide agency which brings together various groups across Europe working towards sustainable economic growth, creating partnerships amongst businesses, research centres, and universities. Sustainable Nation is one of those partners.
Through the Journey programme students have the opportunity to study at a number of the best academic and scientific institutions in Europe. Journey’s mission is to support and develop entrepreneurship within the field of climate innovation through education. The programme nurtures skills which can form the basis of a life-time of innovation and adaptation for the next generation of climate-change leaders.
Students meet and learn from some of the most respected figures and thinkers, from both academic and professional backgrounds, who are currently working at the forefront of climate innovation. Together they explore climate change from a number of different perspectives. Participants travel across Europe, engaging with a broad range of topics, from cutting-edge climate change science and policy, to smart cities and new social and business models. The goal is for the students to create a climate-positive business idea as a solution to a climate-related issue. They then learn how to develop and pitch that idea.
This year’s journey began in Paris, where participants spent two weeks at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Universite Pierre & Marie Curie. This was followed by two weeks in Dublin. Our fellow Climate-KIC partners, Trinity College, played host to 40 students from all over the world over 11 days. The final week was spent in Latvia, at Riga’s Technical University, where the journey culminated in the presentation of the the ideas which had been developed with the help and direction of Journey’s experienced business coaches.
Journey participants worked to develop business ideas ranging from making energy storage at home more accessible to all to solar-powered cold chain solutions for developing countries, to a match-making app that connects households with companies that can create more economic value for their waste.
Ireland is fast becoming a hub for green funds and investment. To that end, this year’s Journey participants also assisted in the design of Sustainable Nation’s own government-led initiative, the Year of Sustainable Business 2018, by contributing great ideas how we can continue to engage CEOs with our programmes and objectives.
Sustainable Nation promotes and manages Climate-KIC activities in Ireland. We are a key player in raising awareness of the challenges that lie ahead, as well as offering solutions to meet those challenges. We believe that sustainability is the key to unlocking the economic growth and job creation of the future.
New skills, new mindsets, and new business models are necessary on our journey towards a new kind of economy. That journey begins with each individual. These students’ journeys are part of an ever-expanding network of individuals, groups, and agencies in both the public and private sectors.
Sustainable Nation is launching those journeys by providing access to world-class educational programmes such as the Climate-KIC journey, and, closer to home, through the Sustainability Skillsnet training network.
Interested in embarking on your own Journey in 2018? Click here for more information on the Climate-KIC programme and how to apply. You can also keep up to date with Climate-KIC and its work on twitter