What you need to know about the MIT tech conference in Belfast

1 Mar 2021

Image: EmTech Europe

One of Europe’s major tech conferences is coming to Belfast for the next three years. Here’s what you need to know.

In February, Belfast was chosen as the location for MIT Technology Review’s European technology conference for the next three years.

EmTech Europe will take place virtually this year on 1 and 2 July, with plans to run as a live event in Belfast in 2022 and 2023.

Tom Gray, chief technology officer at Kainos and curator of EmTech Europe, told Siliconrepublic.com that Belfast was selected because it “boasts a dynamic, highly skilled and innovative workforce” along with a number of indigenous tech companies.

“The city forms an appropriate backdrop as a European city which finds itself both inside and outside the EU post-Brexit and which has a global reputation for peace-making,” he said.

‘We have no doubt that attendees and speakers alike will be amazed and impressed by what the city has to offer’

While the Covid-19 pandemic means the first of Belfast’s three years will feature a virtual conference, Gray said the city will still be showcased in a number of ways throughout the event in July.

“As the host city, our incredible talent pool and burgeoning tech ecosystem will be broadcast on a global scale. We are creating a world-class event that will bring Belfast city’s spirit and sensibility to the forefront through a fully immersive, albeit virtual, event experience,” he said.

“We have no doubt that attendees and speakers alike will be amazed and impressed by what the city has to offer. We see this as very much a civic event and are working closely with our partners including Belfast City Council, Invest NI and tech leaders to ensure we tell the story of the city’s tech community in driving Belfast’s renewal and transformation.”

Over the course of the event, Gray said experts from across Europe will explore a range of topics, discussing ways to harness the world’s cutting-edge technology for the future.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Forging a Better Future’ and will cover areas including AI, green-tech, health and ethics. The first batch of speakers will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

While Gray said the team is looking forward to welcoming delegates to the event’s virtual platform this year, it is also excited about the prospect of an in-person conference in 2022 and 2023, allowing Belfast to “showcase what it has to offer in person”.

“As for future destinations, EmTech Europe is a pan-European event on a global scene, and Belfast has firmly cemented itself as a growing global tech hub within the wider European tech ecosystem,” he said. “Let’s see what tomorrow brings, for now let’s make these three years the best EmTech conferences ever.”

Updated 5.19pm, 1 March 2021: An earlier version of this article said that this year’s EmTech Europe conference would take place in May. This has now been updated to reflect the new dates of 1 and 2 July 2021.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic