A Message from Marina Ruggieri, 2017 Technical Activities Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

In the last quarter of the year, TA continued to challenge its technical dimension via the four ad hoc committees created to focus on TAB’s “New Challenging Topics.” These focuses are all cross-disciplinary, suitable for a strong cooperation among OUs and very promising for enhancing an impactful presence and role of IEEE fully aligned with its mission of Advancing Technology for Humanity.

The 2017 TA Ad Hoc Committees:

  • IEEE at the North and South Poles (Chair: Adriano Camps, GRSS)
  • IEEE in Food Engineering/Smart Ag (Chair: John Verboncoeur, NPSS)
  • IEEE in ‘Dig Once’ (Chair: Bai Blyden, PES)
  • Design for Ethics (Chair: Greg Adamson, SSIT)

have continued their exciting work throughout the year, and met in person for the third time at the November Board Series. I am proud of the accomplishments of each ad hoc committee, and look forward to TA’s continued engagement in these topics.

For the polar activity, two expeditions to Northern Canada (Churchill and Rankin Inlet) and Northern Alaska (Barrow/Utqiaġvik) have allowed me to meet the local communities, to present IEEE and to identify, by understanding the needs and the challenges, the key-role IEEE could play in a sustainable and impactful way. In addition to continued engagement with these communities, the group has created two new events for August 2018 that will allow IEEE a new forum to gather the polar community and to ease the exchange and alignment of strategy and operations: the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Forum (ASOF) and Arctic and Northern Ocean Forum (ANOF). ASOF will take place in Region 10 (Tasmania, Australia) and ANOF in Region 7 (Manitoba, Canada).

The IEEE in Food Engineering/Smart Ag Committee will support a key symposium 3-5 December at Kellogg Center in East Lansing, Michigan, focused on Smart Technologies and innovations for Enhancing Agrofood Systems, as the culmination of its 2017 work. The event will gather key stakeholders of the smart agro-food arena to finalize the role and activities of IEEE in the topic along with the near and medium term plans.

The IEEE in ‘Dig Once’ Committee has identified impactful region-specific goals: i)  the super-smart (digged once) city in Regions 1-6, in cooperation with IEEE-USA; ii) focus in Region 9, with selection of a champion city in Brazil; iii) the super-smart (digged once) village with focus in Africa.  In 2018 a focus on Region 10 will be identified.

The IEEE in Design for Ethics Committee, in cooperation with IEEE TechEthics™, has focused to apply the EAD (Ethically Aligned Design) approach from day #1 of the design chain to a broad group of technologies that includes new areas as food-related matter, health, and wearable/implantable devices. The involvement and interest of Societies and Technical Councils in the Ethics matter is enormously improved with respect to 2016, as proven by the broad response to a survey managed by the committee. The EAD culture is crucial and transversal to any activity with a technical dimension.

The original composition of the four ad hoc committees continues to grow. We are presently comprised of 110+ enthusiastic volunteers. 25 Societies and Councils, all 10 Regions, 3 Region Directors, Section Chairs, IEEE-SA, IEEE-USA, EAB liaisons contribute to the success of the topics and concur to create a role for IEEE therein. I am very grateful for the enthusiasm and the efforts of all involved OUs, that allowed these activities to achieve amazing results with extremely limited funding and staff time.

The outreach activity on the new topics has been very intense and it reached major OU Boards, 6 Region meetings and major TA events and AdCom meetings.

In the above frame, in December I will have the pleasure to attend and contribute to the IEEE SYP Congress in Sarajevo (Bosnia), organized by IEEE Young Professionals, the aforementioned Smart Technologies and innovations for Enhancing Agrofood Systems Symposium in East Lansing (MI, USA), organized by the Food Engineering/Smart Ag Ad Hoc, and the IEEE Summit on Technology for Health: transforming Healthcare and Wellbeing, organized by the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Engagement in Europe/EPPI.

All the above activities will continue in 2018 under the TAB Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) contributing to the pillar New Communities (audiences, verticals and technologies).

2018 SPC activities will also include selected areas developed under the 2017 SPC umbrella. The transition plan will be completed by the end of December.

In 2017 two Ad Hoc Committees have been formed to provide support to TAB member issues and concerns: i) [Re]Connect (Chair: Kent Choquette, PHO), that successfully managed multiple requests through the year and proposed – and TAB approved at the November meeting – the creation of a TAB ombudsman role to help continue to address volunteer concerns; ii) Aligned Development of IEEE Products or Services (Chair: Saifur Rahman, PES) to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the creation of new products and services.

The 2017 joint Ad Hoc Committees with other major OUs have been successful in forging partnerships with groups outside of TAB.

In particular, the joint PSPB/TA Ad Hoc Committee on Publication Ethics (Chair: Gianluca Setti, CAS), with participation also of the chair of the IEEE EMCC (Magdalena Salazar-Palma) and of the IEEE Fellow Committee (Amy Reibman), is focusing on citation stacking and fake reviews and it will continue this very strategic effort under the 2018 SPC umbrella.

The joint SA/TA Ad Hoc Committee on SA/TA Strategic Alignment (Chair: Rob Fish) has worked intensely and put together a key-proposal for creating a permanent TAB Committee on Standards under TAB SPC, in order to work closely and strategically with FDC, another SPC committee. After a broad socialization campaign and multiple endorsements from TAB Committees (TMC, SPC), Societies and major OUs, at the November meeting TAB approved the important proposal. The new Committee marks a formalized commitment for TA and SA in partnering for a long lasting, impactful and mutually beneficial bidirectional relationship.

The 2017 TAB activities have accomplished multiple key results and have paved the way for an exciting path forward for TA and the whole IEEE with new challenging broad topics, an effective contribution to cooperation and alignment with major OUs, a cornerstone role for TAB in terms of technical impact, sparkling and inclusive approach, mutual respect, friendship.

How many times in life one could state that reality is better than dreams? Very few, indeed. Instead, you made 2017 much better than any dream I had about leading TA.

Thank you for making 2017 the most exciting, fruitful and rewarding (at both human and professional levels) year of my life.

I look forward to working with you to continue to shape the future of TA and IEEE in 2018 and beyond.

Marina Ruggieri

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