What is the difference between a side event and a technical session? A side event is simply a space that UR provides for organizations to independently develop and manage an event. The UR team has almost no involvement in the content of a side event, and only manages logistics for the side event days. Side events can be as long or as short as the organizer likes (provided there is space). A technical session is more ‘formulaic’ in that every technical session is 90 minutes long and must meet certain criteria of diversity and audience engagement. Technical sessions must also incorporate the theme into the session in some way. Usually there are usually ~50 side events over the course of two days and ~20 technical sessions during the main conference.

Are the side event days (Monday and Tuesday) considered part of the UR2018 Forum? Absolutely! The Forum is separated into two key parts: 1) side event days, and 2) the main conference. Side event days provide the crucial agenda setting that is needed to make the main conference a success.

Will the Forum be recorded or live streamed? The vast majority of the Forum (side events and technical sessions) will not be live streamed or recorded. However, we are working with local providers to assess the feasibility of these options for the plenaries.

Will there be interpretation available? We are unable to provide simultaneous translation during the plenaries and technical sessions, however, there will be some technical sessions (details forthcoming) that will be conducted in Spanish.

What is the Pressure Cooker event? How can I apply? The Pressure Cooker applications are now closed. We received an amazing amount of interest. You can read more about this innovative event for young professionals at UR here.

Agenda and logistics

When can we expect to see the full program? The preliminary agenda is available now. Abstracts for technical sessions, side events and plenaries will be posted as they become finalized and available. Subscribe to the UR newsletter, follow UR on Twitter, and join the UR LinkedIn Group to make sure you don’t miss any announcements!

Where is UR2018 being held? UR2018 will be in a beautiful post-colonial palacio in the heart of historic Mexico City: Palacio de Minería. All side events and main conference activities will be here unless otherwise noted. 

When are the side event days? When does the main conference start? The side event days are on Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15. The main conference begins the afternoon (15:00) of Wednesday, May 16 and runs until the closing ceremony on Friday, May 18. Technical sessions occur on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18. See the agenda.

I see “Ignite presentations” on the agenda on Wednesday night. What are they? Ignites are fast-paced presentations designed to keep the audience engage. Representatives from technical sessions have 5 minutes to “pitch” the audience their session on the opening night to get them to come to their technical session the following days. But 5 minutes goes by quickly because there are 20 slides that auto-rotate every 15 seconds. Ignites are a tradition at UR Forums and can be best thought of as a performance, rather than a lecture.

How long are side events? Side events are anywhere from 1 hour to 2 days, depending on your request and allocation.

When are the side events?  The side events will happen on Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15.

Will the side event be live streamed or recorded? We will not record or live stream any side events.


Is there any funding for travel? Unfortunately there is no funding from UR for travel. But I see the “Sponsor me” category on registrationThis is designed to waive registration fees for attendees, but unfortunately we cannot sponsor people to travel to the event.

Where should I stay? We recommend staying within walking distance to the Palacio de Minería (the venue) because traffic in Mexico City can be problematic. The Palacio is located in the heart of the Historic Center (Centro Histórico) and is near to many hotels. The UR team is working on securing discounts at local hotels and we will update this information accordingly. Link to OpenStreetMap; link to Google Maps.

Do you have a logistics note we can reference? We are working on pulling together a logistics and security note, so we appreciate your patience. We will update this information when we have a document to share.


When does registration open? Registration is open now!

Why is UR charging a registration fee this time? Previous events have been free. Due to increasing demand for participation and rising costs, UR2018 is asking attendees to register paying a small fee. This fee will provide lunch, coffee breaks and a cocktail reception to all attendees during the conference. By asking participants to pay a fee, the UR team has a better understanding of who will actually come, making our numbers more accurate and ensuring that minimal food is wasted. UR does not want the registration cost to be a barrier to entry. Understanding Risk is committed to identifying and reducing risks posed by disasters, and, specifically, ensuring that vulnerable countries develop resiliency through the knowledge sharing that takes place at UR. If you are not able to pay the registration fee, there are instructions in the registration portal if you would like to request a waiver.

Technical session leads

Agenda and logistics

How long are the technical sessions? 90 minutes long.

When are the technical sessions?  The Technical Sessions will happen on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18. Actual timing will be announced on the website and via email.

How can I blog about my session? We encourage you to write a blog post to give your session visibility and encourage people to attend. Recommended length is ~700 words, or 1-2 pages in a document, but this isn’t a strict limit. Tell the story behind your session: explain what the challenge is, why the topic is important, and what’s new about it. Give people a compelling reason to attend, and explain what the audience will take away. Use visuals like photos where possible. Drafts due by March 15th. Posts will appear on the UR website and UR twitter. We encourage you to explore other channels to cross-post and promote your session as well.

Will the session be live streamed or recorded? We will not record or live stream any technical sessions.

What equipment can I expect to be provided for my session? We will provide wifi, projector/screen or LCD tvs, and laptops for presentations. If you require anything further, please ask, but we may not be able to provide.


When are the Ignite presentations? Ignite presentations are on the afternoon / evening of Wednesday, May 16.

Am I required to do an Ignite? No, this year we are changing things up to minimize the amount of time dedicated to Ignites (2 hours was too long in the past). Thus, we will select the 10 most engaging Ignites.

How will selections be made? Each session lead who would like to do an Ignite will be required to provide a video of their Ignite by April 20, 2018. Determinations about who will present will be made by May 2.

Is there an Ignite rehearsal? Must the Ignite presenter attend the rehearsal? The main, in-person rehearsal will be on Tuesday, May 15. It is required that the presenter attend the rehearsal if s/he wants to present on Wednesday.

Do you have any helpful hints on delivering a great Ignite? Absolutely! Download the UR2018 Ignite guide. Practice is key!


What are some interactive tools that can be used to poll the audience? We have experience working with Mentimeter or PollEverywhere


Action Timeline
Revised Session Title and Abstract February 1, 2018
List of Potential Panelists February 1, 2018
Share Resources January 15 – April 15, 2018
Final Session Title and Abstract February 15, 2018
First Draft of Blog Submitted March 15, 2018
Final List of Panelists Provided, including bios and pictures April 15, 2018
Ignite Video Submitted April 20, 2018
Powerpoints from Panelists Submitted May 1, 2018
Ignite Selections Made May 2, 2018
Ignite Rehearsal for Those Selected(in Mexico City) May 15, 2018
Summary of the Session August 1, 2018

Download the Guide for Session Leads

Side event organizers

If I am involved in a side event (either as an organizer or as a speaker) do I have to pay the registration fee? Yes, we are only waiving fees for speakers / organizers of the main conference. Your registration fee includes catering for all five days and access to the main conference (Wednesday, May 16 – Friday, May 18).

What role does the UR team have in organizing the content of the side event? The UR team has no role in planning, organizing or managing the side event. The UR team only will support the side event from a logistical perspective.

What equipment can I expect to be provided for my session? We will provide wifi and a projector/screen or LCD TVs (depending on the room). You must provide your own laptop and any other equipment you need.

How can I get my abstract and other information about my side event on the UR2018 agenda? There is a deadline for Feb. 16 for content to be uploaded promptly. For any information we receive after this time, we will do our best to attend to it ASAP, but may be a bit delayed.

Is there funding for participants? No, unfortunately we do not have any funding for participants.

Do side event organizers have to do an Ignite presentation? No, the Ignite presentations on Wednesday afternoon are reserved for the technical session leads. However, we have found that Ignites are a fun, dynamic and engaging way of communicating content to an audience, and is an encouraged format for events. Download the UR2018 Ignite guide.

What are some interactive tools that can be used to poll the audience? We have experience working with Mentimeter or PollEverywhere

Are you organizing a session or side event? All FAQs are above or on individual webpages: technical session leads and side event organizers