For the first time, Northern Ireland is participating at a World Expo as part of the UK pavilion.

Image of UK Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020
UK Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020

Expo 2020 Dubai will run until 31 March 2022 showcasing the achievement of countries across the world, celebrating culture, collaboration and innovation.

The UK is one of 191 nations participating, alongside non-government organisations and sponsors.

Find out more about the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The mega-event will raise Northern Ireland’s profile and inspire visitors to learn more about Northern Ireland - it will be a fantastic way to experience our world-renowned welcome, energy and creativity.

Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI

Northern Ireland's Participation at Expo 2020 Dubai

Working closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT), Northern Ireland is an integral part of the UK Pavilion's activity and the wider Expo programme across the six months; from business, education and culture.

Meet us at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, we’re the country that brought you the Titanic and Game of Thrones but there's so much to discover. Learn more about the Northern Ireland story through an immersive visitor experience.

We'll be sharing the best of our people and nation, from business to culture, investment to tourism and arts to education. Business leaders, educators and innovators will come together for a series of panels and conversations to discuss Northern Ireland's unrivalled business opportunities.

Join us virtually for our interactive panel discussions:

  1. Journey of Waste
    Panellists from Northern Ireland and the region will discuss the circular economy and how we can work together to bring change.
    Time: 11am – 12pm

  2. Destination Northern Ireland
    Belfast born, Chris Hughes from Fintech Abi Dhabi will lead panellists from Northern Ireland and the UAE as they share their stories of why Northern Ireland is a great place to live, work, study, visit and invest.
    Time: 5.30pm-6.30pm

Details on how to join these sessions virtually to follow.

Discover our nation of innovation.

Northern Ireland Participation in the UK at Expo Programme

Three NI companies: Ulster Carpets, See.Sense and Crop Safe feature as part of the UK Pavilion visitor experience.

More than 20 thought leaders from Northern Ireland are lending their voice to the global discussions taking place on the UK pavilion as part of the UK’s six-month business Programme.

Northern Ireland Speakers in the UK at Expo Business Programmes

Participants from across Northern Ireland will join with peers from around the world to debate some of the key issues affecting our world and how we can work together for a better future for all.

THRIVE: In the future, how will we thrive?

Healthcare and Life Sciences are going through unprecedented innovation and change. Join the UK at Expo as we explore how we can help people to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

  • Topic: Can small machines make us better?

    Date: On demand from 26 January 2022
    Link to event: Insights (

    Professor James McLaughlin is the Director of Ulster University's Nanotechnology and Integrated-Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) as well as Head of School of Engineering. A Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Irish Academy of Engineering, he was awarded an OBE for his services to Research and Economic-Development. He is a Senior Distinguished-Fellow and his world-leading Digital-Healthcare-Technology research addresses nanotechnology and its application in areas such as cardiac point-of-care-sensors and medical-diagnostics. 

    Professor McLaughlin with a H-Index of 45, over 300 publications, 35 patents and has attracted over £70m of funding to establish research that has led to the establishment of NIBEC, CHIC, NICAM, NanotecNI, ECME, Biodevices Lab and BEST and is a co-founder of various successful companies including the wireless-patient-monitoring company Intelesens, SiSaF and the initial phases of Heartsine. He also led the successful global XPRIZE Tricorder Zensor team to overall 3rd position and has developed a wide range of industrial and international academic collaborations particularly in the areas of cardiovascular monitoring and therapies. 

  • Topic: The patient journey of the future: what will it look and feel like

    Date: 27 January 2022
    Time: T13:45 - 14:45 (GMT) / 17:45 -18:45 (GST)
    Link to event: Summit (

    Daniel Crawford is the Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of axial3D, a company creating automated solutions to make patient specific surgery routine practice in hospitals globally.  

    Daniel graduated with a BSc Hons in Biomedical Engineering and an MSc in Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy. He has over 10 years experience in medical device development and deployment into clinical settings, 7 of which are specifically related to medical 3D printing and automated applications. Daniel is responsible for the strategy within Axial3D, including its machine learning algorithms for use in creating 3D printed models from 2D medical scans.

  • Topic: A totally new treatment regime

    Date: 27 January 2022
    Time: 10:45 - 11:45 (GMT) / 14:45 - 15:45 (GST)

    Professor Ian Greer FMedSci has been President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast since August 2018. He has extensive experience of university innovation driving regional economic growth, including cross-sector developments such as the Northern Health Science Alliance, a collaboration of eight Universities and NHS partners, and is the cofounder of the Health Innovation Research Alliance for NI.

    He is a strong advocate for University social responsibility including widening participation. He leads the innovation pillar of the Belfast Region City Deal, driving innovation in key sectors for the local economy - creative industries, health innovation, data science & analytics, and advanced manufacturing. He is currently President of Universities Ireland, promoting collaboration across the island, and a Council member of Research England.

    By way of background, he is a medical graduate of the University of Glasgow, with his research and clinical career in obstetrics & gynaecology. He has held senior leadership positions in several UK Universities, and was Vice President of the University of Manchester, immediately before moving to Queen’s.

EAT: In the future, how will we eat?

Join the UK at Expo as we gather food and drink and agritech experts to explore how we will be able to feed ourselves in the future, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture for generations to come.

  • Topic: The importance of delivering food security and sustainability

    Date: 17 February 2022
    Time: 9:00 - 10:00 (GMT) / 13:00 - 14:00 (GST)
    Link to event: Summit (

    Professor Chris Elliott, PhD, FRSC, FRSB, MRIA, OBE is Professor of Food Safety and founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast.  

    He has published close to 500 peer review articles relating to the detection and control of agriculture, food and environmental related contaminants. His main research interests are in the development of innovative techniques to provide early warning threats to the complex food supply system. Protecting the integrity of the food supply chain from fraud is also a key research topic and Chris led the independent review of Britain’s food system following the 2013 horsemeat scandal. He currently co-ordinates a very large research project involving 16 European and 17 Chinese partners on food safety.  

    Chris is a visiting Professor at the China Agriculture University in Beijing and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is a recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Royal Society of Biology. In 2017 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Prize and was also awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2020. 

  • Topic: Keeping crops safe - remote monitoring focus

    Date: On demand from 15 February 2022
    Link to event: Insights (

    John McElhone, originally from Northern Ireland is the Co-founder and CEO of CropSafe, building satellite-powered analytics and financing for any farmer on earth. Previously, he has built and scaled social campaigns reaching millions across the world organically and has since left high school to focus full-time on CropSafe, in which he has recently raised funding to expand operations into the US. John was named TransferWise's 20 Under 20, top young CEO in Europe winner last year and is a current Interact 2021 Fellow. 

ADVANCE: In the future, how will we advance?

Join the UK at Expo when we bring global thought leaders from multiple industries together to explore how technology will continue to shape every area of our lives in the future.

  • Topic: Unlocking the barriers to growth in UK tech

    Date: 17 March 2022
    Time: 10:30 - 11:30 (GMT) / 14:30 - 15:30 (GST)
    Link to event: To follow

    Seamus was appointed CEO of FD Technologies in January 2020. He was first appointed to the Board as an independent Non-Executive Director in December 2012 and was appointed Non-Executive Chairman in July 2013. He has over 20 years experience in the global technology sector in finance and operational roles and has held a number of non-executive roles since 2012. 
    He was chief financial officer of Logica plc from 2002 until 2010 when he became chief operating officer and head of its Benelux operations. Prior to his role at Logica plc, he worked for the Olivetti Group in senior finance roles in the UK and Italy. 

  • Topic: Changing our behaviours to advance; distributed trust

    Date: 17 March 2022
    Time: 12:00 - 13:00 (GMT) / 16:00 - 17:00 (GST)
    Link to event: To follow

    Professor Máire O’Neill, OBE, FREng, FIAE, MRIA, has a strong international reputation for her research in hardware security and applied cryptography. She is Regius Professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering and Director of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s University Belfast. She is also Director of the £5M UK Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE: and is a member of the UK AI Council. 

    Professor O'Neill has received numerous awards which include a Blavatnik Engineering and Physical Sciences medal, 2019, a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal, 2014 and British Female Inventor of the Year 2007. She has authored two research books and over 175 peer-reviewed conference and journal publications. She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering.

  • Topic:
    Date: 17 March 2022
    Link to event: To follow

    Tom Gray is Group CTO and Director of Innovation of FTSE 250 company, Kainos, and is a 30-year veteran of the tech industry.  Tom is responsibe for Kainos Tech and Innovation Strategy and is the driving force behind many of Kainos most imaginative and successful customer and staff initiatives, including HealthHackEU, Kainos AICamp and its Technical Apprenticeship programme.

    Tom is also Chairman of the University of Ulster Industrial Liaison Board, founder and curator of the annual BelTech and AICon conferences, sits on the Northern Ireland Screen Board and is investor in, and Director of, a number of tech startups focused on AI and Healthcare. Previously, Tom has been Director of Digital Catapult NI, Chairman of IET in NI and Industry Liaison for Manchester Connected Health Ecosystem.  Tom advises NI Government on science policy as a member of the MATRIX Science Panel, having co-chaired the MATRIX ICT report and the Turing Report into AI Capability.  Tom is responsible for curating the content of MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Europe conference.

    Tom graduated from Queen’s University Belfast and holds a BSc. in Computer Science.

Speakers from previous UK at Expo events can be found below.

CREATE: In the future, how will we create?

Join the UK at Expo as industry professionals explore how creative skills can be harnessed to solve social, technological, environmental and economic issues and build a more sustainable future. Find out more about the UK's CREATE programme here.

  • Topic: Creating cities of the future

    Date: 10 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Chris Johnson leads the Faculty for Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen’s University in Belfast.  Prior to that, he was Head of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow for six years. His research supports the engineering of complex safety and security-critical systems; ranging from accident and incident investigation through to contingency planning for European critical infrastructures. He has held fellowships from NASA and the US Air Force and has 250+ peer-reviewed publications. He worked with the US (NIST) and UK governments to model evacuation for large public buildings following the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks. In 2020, he was appointed as Expert Witness to Phase Two of the Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire. In 2021, he has been working on an industry-led project extending UK MoD and US DoD guidance to support the integration of machine learning algorithms into a range of military systems. 

  • Topic: What if creativity has become too left-brained?

    Date: 10 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Dr Austin Tanney completed his PhD in biomedical science at the University of Ulster and has a career path that spans startups and multinationals from lab science to bioinformatics through to product management and commercialisation. Austin is currently the Head of Digital and Data Strategy at SIB and the Interim Head of Clinical Information for HSCNI. Before this, Austin worked in Kainos, where he established the companies AI practice and built the companies team and offering in Artificial Intelligence. Prior to this, Austin was the Head of Life Science and Healthcare for Analytics Engines where he was responsible for the development and commercialisation of the company’s products and data solutions for Life Science and Healthcare. During this time, he also served as the Scientific and Technical manager on the EU H2020 MIDAS project focused on data integration and analytics for public health policy. Prior to this, he held a number of roles in The Almac Group ranging from basic research and bioinformatics through product development to marketing and commercialisation of cutting-edge technologies and services. Austin has a passion for new technology and its impacts on our society and helps clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostics and healthcare sectors derive value from their data.

  • Topic: Using the power of story to change culture

    Date: 11 November 2021
    Time: 14:45 - 15:15 GST 
    Link to event: To follow

    Colin Williams is a BAFTA-winning children’s television creator, showrunner and writer. 

    He founded Belfast-based Sixteen South in 2007 to create, produce and distribute quality television to every child in every home in every country and his work can be seen on all major networks across the globe. Colin has gained an international reputation for the highest quality work and has already created and produced 600 episodes of award-winning children’s television which have picked up over 50 international awards including the coveted Prix Jeunesse, two EMMY® nominations, a British Animation Award and a BAFTA. 

    Colin created and produced the hit mixed media animated series, Lily’s Driftwood Bay, sold to NickJr, KiKA and 120 other countries; created and produced WildWoods, a live action puppet sitcom for Hulu; devised Claude, based on the popular books for Disney Junior EMEA; co-created Sesame Tree, a co-production with Sesame Workshop, created Big City Park on CBeebies and Executive Produced Pinkalicious and Peterrific for PBS Kids, Pajanimals for Universal Kids and Big and Small for CBeebies. 

    Colin leads original development with two of his new shows, Odo and The Coop Troop in production and a busy slate of others in development with the networks.

TRAVEL: In the future, how will we travel?

From hyperloop to autonomous vehicles, join the UK at Expo as we investigate how we can provide safe and sustainable transportation across the globe.

  • Topic: Change in the air - powering our future

    Date: 22 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Green entrepreneur Jo Bamford is one of Britain's most significant business leaders, ensuring zero-emission transport is at the top of the political and consumer agenda. 

    Jo rescued Wrightbus from administration in 2019 and turned it into one of the most important bus manufacturers anywhere in the world, creating the planet's first hydrogen double-decker bus and generating orders from London to Aberdeen. 

    Alongside this, his Ryze Hydrogen and HyGen Energy businesses will both manufacture and distribute green hydrogen - generated from renewable energy - with production plants in Scotland and the south east of England. 

    Jo has launched HYCAP, a £1bn equity fund designed to both create and drive investment in hydrogen infrastructure, and has been pivotal in the success of the Freeport East bid where a hydrogen hub will form the centrepiece of operations. 

    He is also a board member of JCB Ltd, one of the UK's largest industrial conglomerates, and spent eight years as managing director of JCB Utility Products, broadening the appeal of the company's extensive product range. 

  • Topic: Whose space is it anyway?

    Date: 22 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Andrew Jenkins is Director of Engineering at Arity where he leads work turning driving behaviour data into insights so businesses can provide more accurate and personalized experiences.   

    Arity is a mobility data and analytics company that provides data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, which enables them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical. A broad range of companies including Insurance companies, automobile manufacturers, sharing economy companies, and mobile publishers turn to Arity to better understand driving behaviour, manage risk, operate more safely and ultimately increase their bottom line.  

    The Arity platform is built on billions of miles of historical driving data from nearly 100 million active telematics connections and more than a decade of data directly from cars. With offices in Northern Ireland and India and headquartered in Chicago, USA, Arity was founded by The Allstate Corporation and launched in 2016. 

    Andrew has more than 20 years of experience in technology across financial services, utilities, insurance, telecoms and transportation sectors. 

    In October 2019, Andrew was appointed as the UK Government’s Fintech Envoy for Northern Ireland. In this role, Andrew is the lead ambassador for Northern Ireland’s thriving fintech sector, promoting it as a place for firms to develop and grow their business. 

  • Topic: No one at the helm - autonomous sea travel

    Date: w/c 19 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Iain is a four time Olympian, three time Olympic medallist and double Olympic champion.  He is also a veteran of four America’s Cup challenges, beginning in 2005 as helmsman for the +39 Challenge, before joining Great Britain’s America’s Cup challenge, Team Origin. After retiring from Olympic competition in 2012, he joined Artemis Racing as a tactician, and was appointed Team Manager in October 2013. Iain then went on to lead the team's successful 35th America's Cup campaign in Bermuda, reaching the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series final in 2017.

    Passionate about protecting the oceans, the economics graduate founded Artemis Technologies in 2017, with a mission to see how America’s Cup technology could play a part in the decarbonization of the maritime industry. He has overseen the company's transition from a sailing services provider, to an applied technologies company focusing on green innovations for marine transportation.

    ▶️Hear about Artemis Technologies (Video)

  • Topic: Are you sitting comfortably?

    Date: w/c 19 November 2021
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Neil has extensive experience in leading businesses and driving operational excellence within engineering, manufacturing and service

    Having joined BAE Systems in 2003, he rapidly progressed his career through a number of business functions within the Air Sector division including Programme management, Operations and In-Service support.

    In 2011 he moved to Survitec Group Ltd as Global Services Director, before joining Magellan Aerospace in 2014 as General Manager. In 2018, Neil joined Thompson Aeroseating as Chief Operating Officer, before becoming Vice President & General Manager in January 2020. Since the creation of AVIC Cabin Systems in 2018, Thompson Aero Seating and AIM Altitude have been working closely together and in January 2021 it was decided to bring together both companies under one leadership to strengthen their advantage in the market. At this point, Neil was appointed as Vice President & General Manager of both Thompson Aero Seating and AIM Altitude.

LEARN: In the future, how will we learn?

Join the UK at Expo as we explore how the education sector is developing tools and approaches to deliver high quality education and lifelong learning for everyone.

  • Topic: Learning without walls

    Date: 9 December 2021
    Time: 10:30 – 11:30 (UK – GMT) / 14:30 – 15:30 (UAE – GST)
    Link: LEARN programme events

    A native of Ballymena, Northern Ireland, David Barr is Professor of Technology-Enhanced Learning at Ulster University.  His research focuses on the role of computer technology in learning and teaching and has undertaken research work at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto.  He is currently Head of the School of Education at Ulster University and plays a key role in shaping teacher education in Northern Ireland.  Prior to this appointment, he was Head of the School of Modern Languages.  

    David has significant experience of working with a range of employers, public and government bodies to promote awareness of the importance of subject development for the local economy and has led significant developments in the modern languages as well as presently leading a review of provision in education.  He is also a leading expert in computer-assisted language learning, serving as associate editor for two leading international journals in the area, and is a member of the WorldCALL steering committee: a seven-person advisory group with representatives from all over the world to support the development and direction of computer-assisted language learning internationally and is chair of the WorldCALL International Scientific Committee. 

  • Topic: Women in IT

    Date: 10 December 2021

    Time: 13:00 - 14:00 (UK - GMT) / 17:00 - 18:00 (UAE - GST)

    Link: LEARN programme events

    Deepa Mann-Kler is Chief Executive of Neon; Visiting Professor In Immersive Futures at Ulster University in Northern Ireland; an award winning visual artist and an exceptionally experienced public, private and charity sector Chair and Non-Executive Director, having served on 10 Boards across the UK over the past fourteen years. Neon harnesses the power of immersive technologies to create authentic augmented and virtual reality narrative driven experiences. This year the company launched AR Peace Wall and AR Street Art apps on iOS and android. 

    As a TEDx speaker and thought leader she regularly keynotes on the intersection of digital transformation, technical innovation, inclusion, ethics, bias, data and AI. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland "Out Of The Shadows." Her awards include Royal Television Society Finalist “Interactive Entertainment” 2017. WinTech Series Finalist “Tech Start Up Of the Year” 2018. TEDx Speaker “Being Human” 2019. Digital DNA Finalist “Tech For Good” Talking Sense AR App 2020. |

  • Topic: Teaching Entrepreneurship

    Date: 11 December 2021

    Time: 10:00 - 11:00 (UK - GMT) / 14:00 - 15:00 (UAE - GST)

    Link: LEARN Programme events

    Voted one of the top 3 Women in AI in Europe, Deva is a Computer scientist and full-stack software engineer who is passionate about creating smart software tools to help accelerate precision medicine-based drug discovery. She is the Co-Founder of the award-winning Digital data analytics company Sonrai Analytics. Sonrai houses a state-of-the-art AI data analytics platform, that helps Biotech, CROs and Pharma companies to identify high-value biomarkers, validate state-of-the-art algorithms, and get new lifesaving drugs to the market much faster. Currently, Deva also works as a Research Fellow at QUB working in Cardiovascular research and in her spare time she enjoys working on hobby robotics projects.

LIVE: In the future, how will we live?

Join the UK at Expo as we bring industry experts together to discuss how we can provide a sustainable quality of life to citizens in the future.

  • Topic: Sustaining a higher quality of life through minimising waste

    Date: 16 January 2022
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Gareth joined Kiverco in 2007 as a Design Engineer where he worked in a team to design products and systems for the global waste industry. From there, he moved into the Kiverco Research & Development team to develop new products and new design features to improve how waste was processed and to enable more waste to be diverted from landfill. 

    In 2016, Gareth moved into Technical Sales as a Senior Engineer where he worked closely with customers all over the world to design waste plants for different waste streams. Gareth was appointed Head of Innovation for Kiverco in January of this year where his role now involves working closely with customers, technology partners and the entire Kiverco sales network to identify and provide the latest innovative solutions for segregating various types of mixed waste.

  • Topic: Age of smart city - solutions to support net-zero living

    Date: 17 January 2022
    Time: To follow
    Link to event: To follow

    Irene is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at See.Sense, a high-growth cycling technology and data company, on a mission to make cycling better. Irene leads go to market strategy, partnerships, government relations and pilot deployments, applying See.Sense patented sensor technology and data to improve the safety and experience of the rider and empower cities with powerful insights.  

    Irene is the Winner of the Northern Ireland Women in Business Award for Best Small Business, is listed in Cycling UK's 100 women in Cycling, and is an Ambassador to the Women in Cycling Network. Irene is also a Board Member of Cycling Industries Europe and member of the Expert Panel on Connected Cycling and ITS.  Prior to Co-founding See.Sense, Irene worked as a management consultant, leading organisational change programmes for global companies.

For further information about Expo 2020 please contact:

Emma Barber, Invest Northern Ireland Expo Programme Manager


Find out more here

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