Three inspiring keynotes
Forty-five expert talks
Two creative demonstrations
…all adds up to one amazing conference!
Last month we celebrated the end of our first SPRITE+ grant with two fantastic days at the majestic Titanic Centre in the buzzing city of Belfast. We welcomed more than 120 delegates from across the SPRITE+ community, with academics and industry professionals rubbing shoulders with policy influencers and frontline practitioners from government and civil society.
Three inspiring keynotes brought fascinating perspectives from academia, industry, and public policy. Maire O’Neill gave us a compelling exploration of the importance of hardware security and the ground-breaking research that she and her colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast have been doing to identify and address security challenges at the hardware level. Arm’s Hugo Vincent explored the complexities of the UK Government’s controversial proposals to require messaging apps to scan users’ messages for child sexual abuse material. And our closing keynote speaker, Ciaran Martin, talked about the changing face of cybersecurity, and what it means for government, industry, and civil society.
The workshops gave delegates a taste of a technique that used science fiction to design better security, an understanding of human behaviour in complex systems to enhance trust, privacy and security, and an opportunity to contribute to a new SPRITE+-sponsored open-access Dictionary of Privacy.
Expert talks ranged from discussions of fairy tales, human centred cybersecurity, and harms in virtual reality, to cyber-diplomacy, smart robots, and homomorphic encryption - delivered in a mixture of quick-fire lightning talk sessions and more lengthy panel discussions. It was brilliant to hear from all our funded projects, and especially when we learned about how our grant holders have built on the initial funded work to generate new collaborations and success in securing additional funding.
The poster sessions were hugely popular, with opportunities to chat one to one with researchers about exciting emerging research on a wide range of trust, identity, privacy and security issues. Delegates voted for their favourite poster – competition was fierce, and the results were very close, but congratulations to Nakshathra Suresh for “Stalking and cyberstalking in Australia” (1st place). Joint second place winners were Ayesha Khalid for “Quantum secure cryptography: Preparing for the storm” and Cristina Fiani for “Virtual adventures made safe: diving into parent, adult and child perspectives for next-level social VR protection and moderation”.
An exhibition of creative outputs from the PETRAS IoT team encouraged delegates to think differently about security and the Internet of Things, specifically cybersecurity and cyberharms of digital energy transitions, and provocative IoT prototypes designed by older adults.
Overall, the activities were diverse, varied, and engaging, with something for everyone. As one participant wrote in their feedback:
“I really enjoyed the variety of talks - not just in subject matter, but in format. Watched quick talks and long talks; took part in workshops and discussions. That was really great and kept me on my toes the whole time!”
As for the SPRITE+ team, we loved meeting so many of our Members and Expert Fellows, some of whom have been with us from the start, and some who were new to SPRITE+. We’re grateful to all our speakers, poster presenters, exhibitors, and workshop organisers for all the preparation that went into such engaging activities. We were delighted with the collaborative, curious and collegiate vibe – and we lost track of the number of participants who told us how much they valued the chance to talk to and hear from people in disciplines far removed from their own. We saw the seeds of new collaborations being sown, and early career researchers being celebrated, supported, and encouraged by the more experienced delegates.
We were excited to share some of our plans for phase 2 of SPRITE+, which launches in September 2023. We’ll be consulting the SPRITE+ community further in the coming months and look forward to your ideas and feedback. One thing’s for sure: there will definitely be at least one more conference!
Call for Events is now open! We're supporting Members and Expert Fellows to lead activities that explore aspects of TIPS in the Digital Economy. We will help to organise the activity with up to £5,000 to cover the associated costs.