A network of young sustainability ambassadors.

Developing the next generation of leaders in climate and sustainability.

Generation Glas is an initiative that draws talented young people from diverse backgrounds across Ireland and supports them in becoming ambassadors for sustainability through an extended course. It gives them access to researchers, policymakers and other experts, educates them in the scientific and political contexts and trains them to become confident, creative communicators who can engage and represent their communities. 

Generation Glas is a partnership between Foróige, BiOrbic, Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre and various other stakeholder groups.

Course Content

Generation Glas is an 8 month course, combining in-person and remote workshops, lectures and pratical assignments and covering the bioeconomy, climate change, and sustainability.

Scientific Content

Science was at the forefront of the Generation Glas course. During our summer school participants were given a behind-the-scenes tour of UCD’s laboratory facilities. Field trips included visits to Farm Zero C in Cork, Airfield Estate in Dublin, and Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Tipperary, where the group explored innovative solutions to sustainability issues. Online, participants were joined by BiOrbic researchers, climate scientists, ecologists and other experts to deep dive into specific scientific areas.

Political Content

Policy drives national action on sustainability. Therefore it’s crucial that our participants not only know what policy is currently in place but also are empowered to use their voice and participate in the development of new policy. In our first year the group met with Daragh Cogley, EU Youth Bioeconomy Ambassador and discussed the upcoming EU Youth Bioeconomy Vision document. The thoughts we shared were later submitted as feedback and incorporated into the final document, which was then presented to policymakers at the EU Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival.

Action and Activism

Action is a key and transformative element of Generation Glas, with young ambassadors stepping forward to spearhead change within their communities. Using the knowledge and training gained in the course, they organised local dialogue events and STEAM activities. These tangible initiatives included STEAM talks in a local art gallery, sustainability presentations and tree-planting with primary students, climate justice workshops, art competitions, and experiential “touch tank” ocean conservation sessions. The 2024 course culminated in an outdoor community event that included music, games, art, and interactive activities. These activities were not only platforms for discussion but also served as catalysts for community involvement in sustainability efforts, encouraging a more engaged and informed public to contribute to Ireland’s sustainability goals.

Communication Skills

Generation Glas empowers young ambassadors with the skills to communicate complex sustainability issues in an accessible and engaging manner. Training provided by BiOrbic’s Education and Public Engagement Manager, alongside communication experts, equipped participants with the tools to engage diverse audience groups. Ambassadors learned to craft narratives that resonate, to facilitate open and inclusive dialogues, and to use creative approaches to spark curiosity and inspire action. Through school talks, community events, and press interviews, they have reached thousands, bridging the gap between scientific research, policy, and the public’s understanding of sustainability challenges.

Personal Development

Beyond instilling scientific knowledge and communication skills, we have prioritised the growth of individual participants, nurturing their confidence, creativity, and leadership capabilities. Throughout the course, ambassadors have honed their interpersonal skills, learning to navigate complex conversations, lead with empathy, and cultivate inclusive environments. Designing and running events has fostered teamwork, adaptability, creativity, and confidence within group members. Field trips have included community-building activities that have bonded the group as a network of activists. This holistic approach has empowered young ambassadors to become not only advocates for sustainability but also resilient and adaptable leaders in their communities.


The Generation Glas course involves three residentials, where participants come together in person for in depth training, group activities and discussions. This includes an initial three-day summer residential at UCD in to kick-off the programme, a two-day November field trip in Cork to visit the Farm Zero C research project and a three-day workshop in Cloughjourdan Ecovillage. The residentials have been essential to build a sense of community, catalyse group projects and provide opportunities for first-hand experiences; from lab tours to forest walks!

I’ve learned a lot but my favourite moments were the ones I had with my new friends I made!

-Generation Glas Participant


In between our residentials the group meets fortnightly online to touch base, build on previous learning and continue to develop projects. We offer a range of speakers from [example to example to example]. Meeting regularly online allows us to keep the momentum of the programme going, despite participants being based in different regions. And it also allows our them to benefit from hearing from some international speakers!

[I’m] learning about climate justice and how important it is [and] that there are many more people interested in the environment along with me.

-Generation Glas Participant


Learning in the classrooms, online meetings and even out on field trips can only take you so far. The next step is to have real, hands-on experience. That’s why we empower our students to explore first-hand what it’s like to be sustainability ambassadors through youth-led events. Generation Glas provides resources, funding and support and our creative students do the rest! Past events have included talks in an art gallery, a climate justice workshop and an organised tree planting!

There is a lot more to climate activism than many people think.

-Generation Glas Participant


Generation Glas is all about empowering youth and so it’s important to us to embed young voices in everything we do. Whether this is bring them on board in the design of the official Generation Glas branding and logo, leaving elements of the course unplanned to leave room for students to make suggestions about what they want to learn or continually recording and acting on feedback, we want to make sure each cohort of participants feel this is just as much their course as ours. In fact, the concept of Generation Glas came from a workshop between Foroige youth and BiOrbic back in November 2021 and young people fed into our proposal design. So really we are only sticking to our roots!

“[Generation Glas is] very well planned with enough flexibility for change, just like how we should be handling climate change!

-Generation Glas Participant

What our participants are saying


Cork, Aged 16

“I definitely think Generation Glas has inspired me. I feel like knowledge is power and now that I know more about sustainability and how everything and everyone is affected by it, it made me think about ways I can help, such as setting up sustainability events!”

Brian O’Toole 

Foroige Youth Officer

“The Generation Glas programme is an excellent opportunity for youth who would not have such opportunities living in rural areas. It helps them to open up outside of their local community and bring about change locally and raise awareness.”

Contact us

If you have a question, want to hear more about Generation Glas or are interested in getting involved in any way, we would love to hear from you:


Generation Glas is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, in collaboration with:

For more information, contact conor.haugh@biorbic.com.