Conference to promote Belfast as trailblazer of technological excellence
20 June 2012
Delegates from across Europe are meeting in Belfast for a major conference to promote the city as a trailblazer of technological excellence.
The Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum`s (KSF) Summer Conference has been organised by Belfast City Council and will look at the significant role of the city`s cyber security infrastructure in transforming it to compete economically with others across the world.
The conference at the City Hall will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Gavin Robinson, and will include talks from Dr Norman Apsley from the Northern Ireland Science Park, Dr Sinclair Stockman from Digital NI 2020, Jim Gamble from Ineqe, Ingrid Goetzl from the Eurocities KSF and John McCanny from ECIT. The Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster will also be speaking at the conference.
The EU delegates from countries including Belgium, Austria, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia and the UK will also be visiting the Northern Ireland Science Park, Titanic Belfast, University of Ulster, CITI, BT NI and Eircom NI headquarters as part of their two-day trip to the city.
Welcoming the delegates to Belfast, the Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson, said: “The Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum Summer Conference will tell the story of Belfast`s transformation and it is fitting that our story begins here at City Hall and ends at Titanic Belfast.
“When the Titanic was built, in 1912, Belfast was a highly motivated, wealthy and industrious city on the cutting edge of technology and advancement. In 2012, we are once again a city at the forefront of innovation and change.
“Belfast is re-creating its image and forging a new reputation as a trailblazer of technological excellence in the field of cyber security and we are keen to show how this is enabling us to achieve economic success by attracting businesses from across the world to our city.
“This conference will provide a platform for a meaningful exchange of learning and networking as well as the chance to explore the potential for future joint working and collaboration in the field,” he added.
Minister Arlene Foster said: "As Enterprise Minister, I am very aware of the importance of robust cyber security, both in terms of the security of the citizen, of government and of businesses. However I am also aware that this provides us with significant opportunities as well.
"As our globalised world continues to become ever more dependent on the secure transmission of data, that also provides opportunities for highly connected regions such as Northern Ireland to become centres of commercial as well as research expertise in cyber security. Through initiatives such as Eurocities and the Enterprise Europe Network, Northern Ireland businesses, researchers and government can form the partnerships with which to develop a knowledge based economy with innovation at its heart,” she added.
The conference talks will centre on the following themes:- `Creating a Digital Economy in Northern Ireland in a Fully Connected World`; `Delivering Cyber Security Technology through Open Innovation`; `Building Confident, Competent, Safe and Secure Digital Communities`; `Making IT a Reality` and the `Local Government Perspective on Cyber Security`.
The conference follows a launch bid by the council last week to make Belfast one of the most advanced and super-connected cities in Europe for ultrafast broadband and widespread WiFi provision by 2015.
Belfast has been named by Westminster`s Department of Culture, Media and Sport as one of ten cities to receive funding as part of its Super Connected Cities initiative with guaranteed funding of £6 million. But a further £7.7 million is on the table if it can be demonstrated that there is a demand for better broadband connections in the Belfast City Council area and businesses, communities and residents are being urged to back the bid by registering support through completion of an online survey.
For further information on Super Connected Belfast, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/superconnected
The Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum`s (KSF) Summer Conference also follows the launch of a new forum recently, facilitated by Belfast City Council, for NI stakeholders to engage with the EU and strengthen Northern Ireland`s voice in Europe.
The Northern Ireland European Regional Forum (NIERF) includes partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors across NI with an interest in European affairs and will provide a platform to meet and discuss EU policy, maximise funding opportunities and shape policy for the benefit of Belfast and NI. NIERF members have also provided support for the conference today.
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