Project Name

Sustainable Futures


For more information, please visit our website 

Project Team

  • Dr Marguerite Nyhan (University College Cork, Project Lead)
  • Prof John Cullen (Maynooth University, Project Co-Lead)
  • Prof Frances Lucy (Atlantic Technological University, Project Co-Lead)
  • Professor Sarah Culloty (University College Cork, Head of College of Science, Engineering & Food Science)

Pictured: Sustainable Futures Project Leadership Team including Dr Marguerite Nyhan from University College Cork, Professor John Cullen from Maynooth University and Professor Frances Lucy from Atlantic Technological University.

Provide a short description of the project

Sustainable Futures is focused on climate action, environmental sustainability, and achieving net zero in industry and enterprise. It aims to empower leaders to act so that humans and nature can thrive for generations to come. Our community, collaborative environment and educational programmes will produce leaders who are equipped to lead the transition to a sustainable and net zero future. Funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Human Capital Initiative, Sustainable Futures is led by University College Cork in collaboration with Maynooth University, Atlantic Technological University and multiple industry partners (including Microsoft, Musgraves, Carbery Group, Mannock Holdings, Glenveagh Properties, Janssen, Eli Lilly, RTÉ, EirGrid, Logitech, PM Group, Glanbia, Kepak, ESB, CIE Group, and Sisk Group). These represent a cross-section of commercially important sectors. Sustainable Futures is committed to working closely with our current and future enterprise partners to design and deliver on climate action and sustainability in enterprise solutions and educational programmes.

Programmes include part-time and full-time, online and in-person postgraduate programmes and continuous professional development offerings. Our flagship Postgraduate Certificate/Masters in Sustainability in Enterprise was launched in 2021. The team are also working with Irish Management Institute on Transformational Leadership in Sustainability course for senior leaders (launching in 2023).

The Sustainable Futures Lab at University College Cork and Sustainable Futures Hub at the Environmental Research Institute are convening points for cutting-edge knowledge and thought leadership, innovation, learning, communication and dialogue on sustainability. Both spaces are open for business, industry, enterprise and large organisations to meet, engage and collaborate with our Sustainable Futures team and broader academic and research community.

Image: Sustainable Futures PGCert/MSc in Sustainability in Enterprise Flyer

Highlight interesting collaborations/partnerships

Pictured: Sustainable Futures Lab Launch event with Professor Sarah Culloty (UCC Head of College of Science, Engineering & Food Science), Dr Orla Flynn (ATU President), Dr Kevin Marshall (Microsoft Head of Education), Professor John O’Halloran (UCC President), Dr Marguerite Nyhan (Sustainable Futures Lead) and Prof Brian Donnellan (MU Vice-President for Research & Innovation).

  • Sustainable Futures is a successful partnership between University College Cork, Maynooth University and Atlantic Technological University. This partnership has culminated in the development of a jointly delivered PG Cert/MSc in Sustainability in Enterprise programme. This joint programme has seen huge interest with students joining us from all over Ireland with some international participation also.
  • Sustainable Futures collaboration with Microsoft on the development of an industry wide sustainability report entitled ‘The Sustainability Transformation: Assessing the Readiness of Irish Business’ which was launched at Microsoft’s Envision thought leadership event, with a keynote by Dr Marguerite Nyhan, Project Lead, in November 2022.
  • Climate Action Regional Offices project on Climate Action and Enterprise Engagement (MU Co-Lead member of both working and steering groups for the project).
  • ATU is now a partner with eight European universities in the new EU Green European Universities Alliance for Sustainability
  • Strategic link developed with Business in the Community Ireland in order to identify collaboration opportunities for the benefit of our enterprise partners and their clients.

Pictured: All Sustainable Futures academic and enterprise partners gathered in University College Cork


Provide a brief summary of the project’s key enterprise engagements

To shape our programmes, Sustainable Futures collaborates with a wide range of enterprises to pursue enterprise-informed curriculum development. The Sustainable Futures team have engaged extensively with enterprises nationally in skills mapping to identify sustainability skills needs in industry. This has included workshops, focus groups, interviews and surveying as well as data analyses and compilation of reports.

Pictured: The Sustainable Futures team have conducted numerous Skills Mapping Workshops for all Sustainable Futures academic and enterprise partners at the Sustainable Futures Lab at University College Cork.


Short Course Development

  • Facilitation of a skills needs workshop with Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cork in 2022 and 2023. Further, the Sustainable Futures team successfully developed and delivered the ‘Breakfast Series for Sustainability’ focusing on the needs of small and medium enterprises for LEO clients.
  • Design and delivery of SHubs Training Programme for Community Enterprise Association of Ireland (CEAI). Following two online workshops, the team identified the training needs of Community Enterprise Centres and have developed an online training programme to address those needs for their enterprise centres.
  • Training workshop on sustainability in the Food and Drink sector for Southwest Regional Skills Forum will launch in Q2 2023.


Pictured: A Sustainable Futures panel discussion entitled ‘Sustainability in Enterprise: Delivering on a Sustainable, Net Zero & Nature-Positive Future’ was chaired by Dr Marguerite Nyhan at the Sustainable Futures Lab at University College Cork. Panellists included Caoimhe Donnelly from CIE Group, Dr Kevin Marshall from Microsoft, Prof Frances Lucy from Atlantic Technological University, Prof John Cullen from Maynooth University and Robert O’Mahony from Logitech.

Seminars & Events

  • Presented to the Mid-East Regional Skills Digi-Eco programme.
  • Met with IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the North West Regional forum to initiate scoping how Sustainable Futures could identify and target education for industry’s sustainability needs.
  • Hosted away day for Carbery Group Green team, with the facilitation of a workshop focused on the implementation of Carbery Group Sustainability Strategy 2022.
  • Facilitated a large workshop for 70 people at ESB Sustainability community of practice event focused on the implementation of ESB’s Net Zero Strategy in Q2 of 2022. Further to this, the Sustainable Futures team carried out a Sustainability Training needs analysis with key team members of ESB managers in Q4 of 2022.
  • Facilitated Eli Lily’s Sustainability strategy day in Q2 2022.

Sustainable Futures Co-PI Professor John Cullen from Maynooth University speaks on ‘Business Models for local Climate Action’ at the Climate Action Economic Opportunities Forthcoming Symposium. Minister Simon Coveney also spoke at this event.

Sustainable Futures HEI partner Atlantic Technological University hosted a Sustainability Reporting event in 2023

Sustainable Futures Lead Dr Marguerite Nyhan from University College Cork co-organised the Future Earth Ireland & Royal Irish Academy webinar entitled ‘How Can Higher Education Build Forward Better? Teaching & Learning’. Dr Marguerite Nyhan chaired the discussion while Professor Sarah Culloty (UCC Head of College of Science, Engineering & Food Science and Director of Environmental Research Institute) was a distinguished panel member.

Guest Lectures

Enterprise engagement with students on real-life sustainability challenges within industry included seminars by leading multinationals in Ireland such John Sisk, Logitech, Mannok, Microsoft, and Musgraves.

Project Showcase

Pictured: Sustainable Futures Lead Dr Marguerite Nyhan attended COP27 with the aim of bringing the experience and knowledge gained at these global climate negotiations back to the Sustainable Futures PG Cert/MSc in Sustainability in Enterprise students. While there, Dr Nyhan spoke with Minister Eamon Ryan.

Sustainable Futures Website, Social Media and Alumni Network

Sustainable Futures Website:

Sustainable Futures Twitter:

Sustainable Futures LinkedIn:

Sustainable Futures Alumni Network:


Sustainable Futures Project Leadership Twitter Accounts:

@margueritenyhan (Dr Marguerite Nyhan) (Prof John Cullen)

@felucy64 (Prof Frances Lucy)

Sustainable Futures Lead Dr Marguerite Nyhan delivered a TEDx talk entitled ‘A Perspective for a Shared Sustainable Future’.



Last updated: Monday 24 April 2023

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