The Inspirefest 2018 official schedule has been revealed

17 May 2018

Pictured at the launch of the Inspirefest 2018 schedule were (from left): David Tighe, head of enterprise and innovation at Bank of Ireland; Áine McCleary, director of distribution channels, Bank of Ireland; and Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

The programme for Inspirefest 2018 has been launched, and key themes range from environmental and marine science, to space exploration and tackling biases in AI.

Last night (16 May) saw the official launch of the Inspirefest 2018 schedule at the Bank of Ireland Workbench on Grand Canal Square. At the upcoming summer event, pressing issues of science, technology, leadership and diversity will be debated by the leading minds in digital, academia and entrepreneurship.

An estimated 3,000 people are expected to descend on Inspirefest 2018 on 21 and 22 June at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin’s Silicon Docks.

‘We’re so happy to see how much Inspirefest has grown and feel this year might be our best yet’

This inspiring event will feature more than 50 speakers from 20 countries, with keynote speakers including: Surbhi Sarna, the 32-year-old whose start-up, nVision Medical, has just sold to Boston Scientific for $275m; Claire Lee, head of early-stage banking at Silicon Valley Bank; and Liza Donnelly, cartoonist and writer for The New Yorker and leading #MeToo advocate.

Other speakers include: Tim Leberecht, co-founder and CEO of The Business Romantic Society; Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, co-founder and CEO of Stemettes; and Easkey Britton, champion surfer and scientist.

Thought-provoking talks

Headline sponsor this year is Bank of Ireland, with other partner organisations including Nokia Bell Labs, Aon, Deutsche Bank, Enterprise Ireland, Dublin Airport Authority, NDRC, Science Foundation Ireland and Dublin City University.

“It’s fantastic to be part of Inspirefest again this year,” said Áine McCleary, Bank of Ireland’s director of distribution channels and the first woman to become president of the Institute of Banking in Ireland.

“Inspirefest’s focus on thought-provoking talks, its mixture of brilliant minds, and its dedication to diversity and inclusion make it one the best events of its kind in Europe. I can’t wait to hear some of this year’s guest speakers on the main stage.”

Again this year, the collision of technology and the arts will be tackled, with renowned beatboxer Reeps One teaming up with Bell Labs’ Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) group to perform a world-first duet between the artist and his digital beatboxing artificial intelligence (AI) twin.

Now in its fourth year, Inspirefest 2018 will see the return of award-winning performer and writer Zoe Philpott, who performed Ada.Ada.Ada at the event in 2016. This year, Philpott will collaborate in the development of her latest interactive story: Ada’s Army. With a bag of postage labels, a chair and 500 metres of string, Zoe will be inviting Inspirefest attendees to update history with the overlooked STEM greats who just happen to be women.

Inspirefest will be topped off each day with the usual range of cultural Fringe activities, culminating in the afterparty at CHQ on the Friday evening, with music from Hvmmingbyrd and entertainment from Bright Club (Stand Up for Geeks) among others.

“We’re so happy to see how much Inspirefest has grown and feel this year might be our best yet,” said Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea.

“Since the very first Inspirefest, we’ve learned so much about what our attendees want and the type of speakers they enjoy seeing, so we think we’ve managed to round up some of the most brilliant minds from around the world to talk about the key themes we’re looking to address at this year’s event, including environment science and inclusive leadership.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Get your tickets now to join us in Dublin on 21 and 22 June 2018.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years