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NICAR21 Lightning Talks

It’s time to submit your pitches for Lightning Talks to be given at the 2021 NICAR Conference online!

Submit your ideas through Jan. 27 for the chance to present at the first-ever online NICAR conference. Voting will open shortly after.


Jan. 12 – 27: Review the contest rules and details. Submit your pitches by filling out this form.

Jan. 29 – Feb. 7: Vote for your favorite Lightning Talk Pitch.

Week of Feb. 8: Winning pitches announced on the IRE website.

Feb. 22: Lightning Talks presenters send recorded video to IRE.


What are Lightning Talks? Lightning Talks are 5-minute presentations on particular skills, tools or techniques. Pitches are submitted and voted on by NICAR21 attendees.

Who can submit pitches? Anyone who plans to attend the NICAR21 virtual conference can submit pitches. You must be a current IRE member to attend the conference.

How does voting work? Voting will open Jan. 29 and close Feb. 7. The pitches will be put up for voting with the title and description only, without the person’s name attached, in order to encourage a more diverse group of people to submit pitches and bring more focus to the content of the talk.

You’ll be able to vote for as many talks as you’d like, and the 10 talks with the most votes will be a part of the Lightning Talks session at NICAR21. The official schedule will be posted on the Lightning Talks site a couple of days after voting closes, and those whose talks are submitted will be notified directly.

What will Lightning Talks look like in the virtual conference? All talks will be prerecorded to minimize scheduling and technical issues. After voting closes, everyone whose talk is chosen will receive specific instructions on how to record their talk. The talks will be shown at 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.) on Thursday, March 4, as part of NICAR21.

If you have any questions about Lightning Talks, email

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