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A Message from the 2022 Technical Activities Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

At the halfway point of my time as 2022 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities, I am pleased to share an update of the significant and important work that is being done thanks to our volunteers and staff. The June 2022 IEEE Board Series marked the first time that the IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB) has been able to come together in person since February 2020. That milestone combined with the opportunity to hear reports on current activities made for an exciting time in Bellevue, Washington, USA.

In addition to the three focus areas I mention below, we have continued to foster a more strategic, discussion-oriented structure during TAB meetings. Speakers are asked to stick to 3-4 slides during their presentations to TAB, in order to free up more time for important discussion. When more detailed background information is necessary, speakers are encouraged to provide supporting material ahead of time either as a supplemental report on the TAB agenda, or in the form of a pre-TAB webinar. I am pleased to say that this has led to a more efficient in-person TAB meeting, with emphasis on productive discussion of strategy and business critical to the health and well-being of TAB.

Climate Change Activity

In my last message, I announced the formation of a program on climate change, intended to support 2022 IEEE President K. J. Ray Liu’s planned launch of a related IEEE Ad Hoc Committee. I am glad to share that this TAB-nurtured program has met numerous times to share information, and that so far 25 members from more than 10 different S/Cs are engaged.

A highlight of the TAB meeting was hearing an update from the activity’s chair, Wei-Jen Lee, and learning more about the upcoming trajectory of the program. At this time, IEEE is not currently identified as a major player in climate change, which is a shame, as many younger engineers want to work in this area and contribute to solving what may be the defining challenge of their generation. When I look at the diversity of experience and competence around the TAB table, this is an area in which working together could truly make a difference.

Ensuring Diverse Representation and Recruitment

Another priority area for 2022 has been to help ensure diverse representation and recruitment across not only TA, but of course IEEE. I have called on S/Cs to be a leading driver in promoting recruitment of new and more diverse generations of IIEEE members and volunteers, and to ensure this goal is at the forefront of each and every nominations and appointments (N&A) process. This means exploring new and effective ways to accommodate those who wish to bring their expertise to serve on a committee, but may have limited bandwidth or limited experience at the beginning of their IEEE volunteering journeys. To ensure the sustainability of IEEE, we must find a way to attract and retain our younger members in both our membership and volunteer leadership pipelines.

At the June TAB meeting, we continued to share avenues for increasing diverse representation by listening to reports from the Chairs of the IEEE Young Professionals Committee, IEEE TAB Committee on Diversity & Inclusion, and IEEE Women in Engineering Committee.

Disruptive Technology and Collaboration

Another primary focus area of 2022 is encouraging collaboration between S/Cs, especially with regards to disruptive technology. Addressing each new field of interest that arises can be a daunting task, and I sometimes feel uncomfortable as so many new technologies come up: will IEEE miss some? IEEE was founded by such prominent figures as Edison, Westinghouse, and Bell, so we must continually look for the Westinghouses, Edisons, and Bells of today and ensure they are part of IEEE and our S/Cs. Collaboratively determining how to address this will continue to be a key focus of 2022, through the work of the IEEE Future Directions Committee, as well as S/Cs.

A common theme that ran through the TAB meeting is how S/Cs continue to keep IEEE on the leading edge of innovation. It is collaboration among S/Cs that is a key driver in fueling success. As IEEE members, I encourage you to explore the 46 unique S/Cs that IEEE has to offer. Each represents a technical discipline or field of interest through a portfolio of products and services, as well as an opportunity to network and volunteer with other professionals. [Learn more about IEEE S/Cs – link].

Thank you for your ongoing support as an IEEE member,

Bruno Meyer 2022 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities

Building Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Communities in TAB

“As advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we lead by the philosophy that if someone is the smartest person in the room, they are in the wrong room,” says Dalma Novak, Chair of the IEEE Technical Activities Board Committee on Diversity & Inclusion (TAB CDI) and Division X Director. “It is only by ensuring diverse representation on all levels – including, but not limited to, age, gender, geographic region, professional sector – that we build successful technological communities.”

Novak, who has led TAB CDI since the beginning of 2021, has been a proponent of the DEI activity in TAB from its early beginnings as a 2016 TAB ad hoc committee addressing Women and Underrepresented Groups, led by then-Vice President, Technical Activities, Jose M.F. Moura. “It has been rewarding to see how DEI has evolved over the past 5+ years, from mostly gender-focused activities to promote women in STEM, to fully realized (and still evolving) activities in IEEE, TAB, and Societies/Councils (S/Cs).”

TAB CDI, which was approved in February 2017, has grown from a simple vehicle launched to collect demographic data from S/Cs to a valuable resource covering many facets of DEI. Designed to support TAB’s advocacy efforts in making progress toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive technical community, the committee has been tasked with an especially broad charter. “We like to view DEI not as a program or initiative, but a reflection of our values and leadership” says Novak, who notes that TAB CDI’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure that TAB policies, procedures, and practices are conducive to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment that is valuable for all members.

To address the growing interest around DEI, in 2021, the committee identified and approved a number of focus areas by which to prioritize and structure its activities ongoing:

  • Promotion: Celebrating the IEEE and TAB DEI mission and showcasing best practices
  • Education: Raising awareness and developing tools to advance DEI within TAB
  • Accountability: Collecting and analyzing DEI data for benchmarking and tracking impact
  • Communication: Sharing information and resources through outreach to the community
  • Engagement: Building support and increasing participation to further DEI goals

“The objective of these focus areas is for the committee to not only celebrate and reward the Societies, Councils, and organizational units of TAB that are already doing exceptional work, but to educate and raise awareness among those who are looking to get started on their DEI journey(s),” says Novak. “Ultimately, TAB CDI should serve as a valuable resource to them: a unit that builds bridges and creates opportunities for all to learn together.”

One of TAB CDI’s most recent accomplishments was the creation and pilot of a training module on Understanding & Mitigating Implicit Bias. This activity is unique as it came out of many separate requests from volunteers for development material that could be delivered to their respective organizational units. This resulted in the first implicit bias training designed specifically for IEEE volunteers, by IEEE volunteers. Nearly ¼ of S/Cs have opted in to the training to-date, choosing to learn more about why implicit bias occurs, how to identify it, and how to disrupt it. Of particular interest to the TA volunteer groups for whom it was created are targeted action-item checklists that present suggestions for various IEEE volunteer activities, including Nomination & Appointments (N&A), Fellow, Awards committees; conference audience and organizers; and communications and outreach. The presentation also includes a brief overview of accessibility guidelines for volunteers to consider.

One of the greatest strengths of TAB CDI has been its ability to bring together many different individuals and organizational units for the purpose of sharing knowledge, learning about successes, and unpacking challenges. To this effect, the committee requests that each Society and Council identify a point of contact to liaise with the committee. This not only allows the committee to call on these individuals to collaborate and fulfill the DEI mission; it also provides TAB CDI with a steady flow of information about the many activities and initiatives taking place across TA.

The culmination of this desire for info-sharing led to the May 2021 launch of a new virtual roundtable series. In each of the three sessions that have taken place to date, Society/Council presenters shared their respective activities around DEI and discussed best practices to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in TAB by responding to the following questions:

  • What is your S/C’s vision of DEI?
  • What are your S/C’s top 3 practices for DEI?
  • Please share your experience working on DEI initiatives in your S/C.
  • Please share a success story from your S/C’s DEI efforts.

In putting each roundtable together, the committee was meticulous in ensuring that the sizes and scopes of all S/Cs, as well as varying resources and levels of support, were represented. It was particularly insightful to understand more about where each of the presenting S/Cs were in their respective DEI journeys, how they support these initiatives, how they plan to measure impact, and how they are building sustainable DEI activities that also have adequate pipelines to carry them forward. To learn more about how S/Cs are addressing DEI, recordings of the roundtables conducted to-date are available here:

To further acknowledge the S/Cs that are “moving the needle” via their DEI activities, TAB CDI recently launched a new award that will honor an IEEE S/C that has had a significant impact driving DEI efforts within their S/C. The S/C must demonstrate a strategic approach that encourages DEI for its volunteers, members, and the wider technical profession and support that strategy through the development of DEI-focused activities, programs, and services. The nominations period for the first awardee recently concluded, but the selection committee is excited to share more about the significant impact S/Cs are making in DEI.

As the field of DEI evolves, and we learn more about the needs of the members and volunteers the committee supports, TAB CDI will continue to be flexible and evolve with it.  Says Novak: ”A number of S/Cs have already started the process to create sustainable DEI strategies within their OUs.  TAB CDI is working to support these efforts and help transfer the knowledge to other communities to keep building the DEI culture within TAB.”

Around the Technical Community

A selection of stories highlighting the diversity of recent accomplishments of members, volunteers, and organizational units around Technical Activities

IEEE and Climate Change: Leveraging Global Expertise: 2022 Technical Activities Vice President, Bruno Meyer, believes that IEEE has a key role to play in addressing climate change and sustainability challenges.

Cloud Software Cuts Through Biomedical Data Thickets: The founders of SciosHub, a SaaS platform, met at an IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society event. It is one of 13 companies that is a part of the Powered by IEEE program, which was developed by the IEEE Entrepreneurship initiative, and utilizes IEEE DataPort.

How to Prevent Blackouts by Packetizing the Power Grid: This University of Vermont team has focused on how to coordinate power demand in real time to match the increasingly variable supply. IEEE technical committees, working groups, and task forces are also playing supporting roles, such as the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Smart Buildings, Loads, and Customer Systems technical committee.

Update on IEEE’s Diversity and Inclusion Efforts: As part of a ramp-up of IEEE’s diversity and inclusion focus, IEEE policies have been changed and new partnerships have formed. Many Societies and Councils have introduced programs, including IEEE Photonics Society’s activities geared toward underrepresented groups.

From Introvert to IEEE Influencer: Ramneek Kalra, an active Young Professional with the IEEE Computer Society, discusses how becoming an IEEE volunteer shaped the trajectory of his career. Kalra chairs the Society’s history and research subcommittee, which is part of the society’s Distinguished Visitors initiative.

3 benefits: 5G rollout in emerging economies: IEEE members and volunteers are deeply involved in efforts to expand 5G connectivity via IEEE Future Networks initiative, an IEEE Future Directions activity.

What is the IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB)?

The first in a series of articles illustrating TAB contributions to the vitality of IEEE

Over the next four editions, we will be sharing more about the IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB) and how it significantly facilitates, enables, and drives the technical component of IEEE while adding value to your membership. In this issue, we start from the very basics: what, exactly, is TAB? And why should you care as an IEEE member?

You may have joined IEEE as a student member or young professional to advance your career by accessing quality conferences, events and publications. 

But just like attending a great performance, you may not have seen the players behind the scenes bringing you these great member benefits, so let us introduce you to the IEEE Technical Activities Board, more commonly referred to as TAB.

First, let’s explain the role of “technical memberships:” Adding a technical membership provides you access to IEEE’s more-than-50 specialized Societies, Technical Councils, and Technical Communities, across a diverse array of fields of interest. As an IEEE member, you can learn more about technical memberships here.

Now, let’s look at TAB. TAB is the governing body of IEEE Technical Activities and is the largest of six major boards with IEEE. Comprised of 63 voting members, TAB includes the Presidents of all 46 Societies and Technical Councils (more on those later), 10 Division Directors (who also sit on the IEEE Board of Directors), and the chairs of key TAB committees. TAB  ensures the technical content you value as an IEEE member meets expectations and lives up to the standards of professionals across the globe.

The scope and oversight of TAB is especially broad, lending credit to its stature as the largest major IEEE board, crossing many facets of technology. Situated under TAB are not only IEEE Societies and Technical Councils and all the products and services they have to offer, but the majority of IEEE conferences and periodicals content. TAB facilitates all aspects of these technical components at the heart of IEEE, from governance and strategy, to portfolio review, tools and quality, the future of intellectual property, and technical program integrity. If you are reading an IEEE publication or presenting at an IEEE conference, there is a good chance TAB has made this happen.

Quality control and sharing of best practices are facilitated by TAB’s  Society/Council Review Committee (SCRC) and Periodicals Review & Advisory Committee (PRAC). These committees conduct reviews every five years to analyze the scope and structure of Societies, Councils, and their portfolios to ensure that technical interest areas are fully covered in appropriate, effective, and efficient ways. The SCRC and PRAC reviews are posted to facilitate the sharing of best practices.

Outside of traditional engineering disciplines embodied by its 46 Societies and Technical Councils, IEEE develops communities around particular technology challenges and cutting-edge subject areas. These new technology connections are identified as primary focus areas by the IEEE Future Directions Committee, which sits under TAB.

TAB also interfaces with other IEEE major boards and programs, including those centered around diversity and inclusion, young professionals, women in engineering, industry engagement, and standards.

In upcoming editions of IEEE Technical Community Spotlight, we will explore different examples of how TAB drives and enables the technical content you have come to trust as part of your membership. In the spirit of the IEEE Technical Activities Vision, TAB facilitates technical communities working together to be the preferred home for all professionals, worldwide: a critical piece of any IEEE membership.

Learn more about IEEE Technical Activities and TAB.

A Message from the 2022 Technical Activities Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

As I begin my term as IEEE Technical Activities Vice President, I reflect upon the many ways Societies, Councils, and the Technical Activities Board (TAB) have adapted and remained agile, to meet the needs of this changing landscape. While this has presented challenges, it has also brought flexibility and greater understanding of how to prioritize the work of TAB and its OUs.

One of the ways TAB will continue to adapt through my term is by prioritizing time for strategic discussion, while limiting the duration of meetings, especially those that are remote. Favoring shorter meetings, with more rich and strategic content, and better organizing our time for longer, face-to-face meetings, will continue to be a focus point in 2022. The quick-shift to a virtual February Board Series from a planned hybrid in-person event lent an opportunity to demonstrate this flexibility and test out a new format for TAB meetings.

As such, individuals presenting at the February TAB meeting were asked to stick to just a few slides showing important issues or critical strategic items, with supporting reports in backup information. I also requested that TAB members prepare for this meeting beforehand, by offering a walk-through of the TAB agenda and major business elements, adhering to strict deadlines for posting supporting documentation, and hosting specific background meetings ahead of time. What resulted was a more efficient and strategic TAB meeting, where members came prepared to discuss business and ask questions. I am looking forward to seeing how this format evolves in June, when we can translate what we learned in February to an in-person environment.

In addition to fostering more time to discuss strategic issues in TAB, I plan to focus on several key priorities in 2022:

  • Creating a TAB program on climate change
  • Identifying disruptive technology while sharing and favoring cross-disciplinary work amongst Societies/Councils
  • Increasing visibility of the TAB Value Proposition with IEEE members
  • Promoting diversity and attracting “new blood” in committees
  • Continuing to build on existing good practices in place at TAB level

One of my priorities this year is to set up a new TAB Program on Climate Change, as a way to gather forces within TAB on this strategic issue for several years, and to bring support in 2022 to the Ad Hoc on Climate Change launched by IEEE President Ray Liu. Initially, I hope this group will collect ideas for initiatives and activities, develop a scope of work that should be done, and create a mission and vision.

I believe climate change is one of the most pressing issues on the planet, and it is key that we create space for strategic discussions around it. IEEE, and especially TAB, is exceptionally adept at convening people around a common goal and can foster opportunities to understand the climate emergency and to provide solutions. Most notably, TAB is uniquely well-positioned to work on this issue with modesty but at the same time with intelligence and innovation at a global level: a powerful combination.

Formalized activity around climate change also helps refresh the pipeline of IEEE members and volunteers and attract new members. Young scientists and engineers are eager to work on topics such as this, and when joining a professional organization will look for opportunities to contribute to causes that they care deeply about. I believe that those who are the future of our craft will make IEEE their professional home if IEEE shows a strong commitment to topics they consider critical. It is by honoring this commitment that we position IEEE to thrive in the future, while using technology to benefit all of humanity and sharing findings with the world.

Read more about IEEE’s role in addressing sustainability efforts, and why I am making climate change a priority during my term as Vice President of TAB here.

I am looking forward to sharing more information on TAB’s climate change opportunity and on the additional focus areas I have identified in my next message.

Thank you for all that you do to make IEEE a vibrant community that facilitates critical dialogue to shape generations to come.

Bruno Meyer

2022 Vice President, Technical Activities

Store, Search, Access, and Manage Research Data with IEEE DataPort

Researchers’ potentially life-changing work should never be held up because they do not have a way to store, manage, and share their data. To prevent this roadblock, IEEE DataPort developed a comprehensive data solution that fully supports open data initiatives and gives individuals and institutions the opportunity to manage, share, access, and store research data. With IEEE DataPort, researchers can accelerate scientific advancements by supporting research reproducibility and adding to the broad availability of datasets among the interactive data community. 

Since its inception in 2016, IEEE DataPort has grown rapidly both in uploaded datasets and the number of users. As of October 31, 2021, IEEE DataPort is hosting more than 2,700 datasets and has a user community of more than 1.5 million researchers, engineers, and industry experts (Figure 1).

Figure 1. IEEE DataPort membership is rapidly growing. Last year, IEEE DataPort saw a 200 percent increase in average daily users and 175 percent growth in new dataset uploads.

Use cases and testimonials demonstrate how users are benefiting from the platform including:

  • A researcher in New Delhi who is gaining citations and direct connections with other researchers regarding his research on rapidly analyzing and classifying crisis-related Tweets.
  • A researcher who used IEEE DataPort for affordable and stable data storage for her research on fusion mechanisms for human activity recognition using automated machine learning.
  • Researchers in Turkey using IEEE Dataport to reduce the time and resources required for data collection to store their research on predicting Coronavirus cases in Turkey by analyzing Tweets.

IEEE DataPort Data Solution Benefits

With IEEE DataPort, individual subscribers receive up to 2 TB of data storage per dataset at no cost and members of institution subscribers can store datasets up to 10 TB/dataset. Data can be uploaded in any format – from video, audio, and image files to CSV and TXT files. With this large amount of free data storage, researchers can easily meet research funding agency requirements for publishing data and making data available on an open access basis.

All datasets are stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), a widely used Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. Every IEEE DataPort subscriber is given an AWS access key to upload datasets to or download datasets directly from AWS. Since IEEE DataPort uses the AWS platform, individuals can use their other AWS computing resource subscriptions such as Amazon Athena, AWS data pipeline, or AWS Glue to perform more advanced analysis.

On IEEE DataPort, all datasets can be searched by topic, author, keyword, or dataset type as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. An example of the search tools and how datasets appear on IEEE DataPort.

Each dataset is available for free download and can be copied, analyzed, or used for any other purpose under a CC BY license. Additionally, individual authors publishing their research in one of IEEE’s publications can easily integrate their datasets with any of the more than 134 journals currently integrated with the platform (and more publications will have integration capabilities added in 2022).

Researchers can also accelerate their research using the IEEE DataPort Data Competitions module. When hosting a data competition, users create a time-limited data challenge where a dataset and DataPort Competition instructions are uploaded by the competition initiator. Members of the global technical community, or a specific set of participants, can then join the Data Competition and provide their specific analyses or make predictions based on the dataset.

Additional Benefits for IEEE DataPort Institutional Subscribers

With an IEEE DataPort Institutional Subscription, universities, labs, research facilities, private and public companies, and government institutions can let their researchers focus on what they do best rather than the logistical details surrounding their work. IEEE DataPort Institutional Subscribers receive the following benefits:

  • Five times more storage per dataset (10 TB vs 2 TB)
  • Free downloads for both open access and non-open access datasets
  • Save costs by leveraging IEEE DataPort rather than building your own data storage capability
  • Help members of your institution meet funding agency requirements
  • Custom usage dashboards that show datasets uploaded by anyone using the IEEE DataPort data solution in the institution
  • The ability to brand datasets with the institution’s logo to increase exposure and recognition
  • Create data management plans (DMPs) that outline how your researchers will store, manage, and make data accessible over time as required by many funding agencies

The Future of IEEE DataPort

IEEE DataPort is committed to IEEE’s mission of “Advancing Technology for Humanity.” IEEE DataPort has significantly evolved over the past five years, and it will continue to add new features. IEEE is currently working to ensure citations are shown on all published datasets. 

Visit IEEE DataPort to learn more about the platform, access datasets, or upload your research data.

Future Tech in Focus

How will technology impact Climate Change, SmartAgrofood Systems, and Public Safety? What challenges does this create? Are there solutions? IEEE Future Directions is generating dialogues in these areas through the IEEE Future Tech Forum (FTF) – and they want your participation.

“Our ambition is to bring global experts from industry, academia and government, discussing leading technology, frontline issues and crucial challenges. We aim to inspire participation and dialogue from a broad sector: women in engineering, young professionals, entrepreneurs, researchers and ethicists, to list a few,” says Christine Miyachi, Chair, IEEE Future Directions Committee (FDC).

One of FTF’s goals is to strengthen relations with industry members, in addition to their partnership with IEEE Industry Engagement Committee. “Research translates into industry because industry is the application of that research. Research can change an industry,” says Kathy Grise, Future Directions Senior Program Director. “A great example of this is how the internet started as a research project, Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The internet launched a new industrial revolution.”

“We would like to realize an increase in the participation of industry as well as a young generation of engineers. We want to encourage and attract future innovators. Technology affects us all and we need all these interests represented at our events!” says Miyachi.

“FTF is starting with smaller events that build new partnerships and expose innovative technologies. This enables us to better understand our audience and their interests. Our approach is to build one-day or half-day sessions/roundtables on future topics with global speakers and gain broader visibility. We want to foster partnerships, collocate with industry events, and finally launch a signature stand-alone event,” says Samina Husain, co-chair FTF Ad Hoc and FDC Member-at-Large.

Currently, the roundtable topics include Climate Change, Smart Agrofood Systems, Digital Transformation, and Public Safety Technology.

Climate Change Roundtable

FTF’s first event, the Climate Change Roundtable, was held in April and had attendees from every IEEE Region. The event keynote speakers and panelists:

  • commented on climate change and associated threats,
  • discussed potential ideas for resolutions, and
  • highlighted developments/initiatives that contribute to combating climate change.

Topics discussed included: 6G technology and architecture to foster global sustainability impact, climate change and telecommunications, and the Information and Communication Technology sector as an enabler for a more sustainable world.

“The event was a virtual and interactive session, and the presentations generated a number of probing questions from the audience. In addition to the positive feedback we received, the event ran over time, an indication of strong interest and success,” says Miyachi.

The Climate Change Roundtable discussed answers to these questions and more:

  • What is the alternative to nuclear energy?
  • Can there be an optimal clean energy mix without nuclear?
  • What are the impacts of lithium mining on climate change?

Listen to the Climate Change Roundtable.

Impassioned, Energized Audience

FTF grew out of other successful Future Directions events. FDC ran Technology Time Machine (TTM), which showcased panel discussions and keynote presentations with respect to future technologies’ benefits, challenges, and societal impacts. After that, FDC organized a TedX-like event called IEEE EnLightening. The inspirational event featured short, diverse talks leaving the audience impassioned and energized about the future of technology.

“Thanuka Wickramarathne’s inspirational path to his interest in multi-sensor data fusion and Jeewika Ranaweera’s motivational journey to Silicon Valley and high-speed microprocessors were the highlights of the event,” says Husain.

Drawing on these engaging events and their positive outcomes, FTF was born. Objectives are to have a sustainable conference, which attracts global speakers and participation, and has strong partnerships with industry, academia, and government.

FDC purposely launched FTF with smaller, online events focused on a specific topic because technologies constantly evolve. Having shorter dialogues every few months allows for a greater impact and more opportunities to engage the community. FDC works to see that the events are not just well attended but also drive future discussions, future forums, and long-term activities in IEEE.

“We want to influence future trends as a result of FTF discussions,” says Grise.

“Our final goal is to be a flagship conference on future technology directions. A similar concept to the World Economic Forum but with a focus on technology. We envision this becoming the leading global event that brings engineers, innovators, policymakers, and humanitarians from all over the world to discuss how technology can serve humanity – a mission of the IEEE. We are thinking big – world leaders in government, research, and industry will want to attend – a space for everyone to join together, present ideas, and find solutions,” says Miyachi.

Shape Our Future

“Participation in FTF events can be highly effective at advancing a wide range of professional objectives, building and extending professional contacts, finding mentors and collaborators, and advancing attendees’ subject matter expertise. The variety of session formats used in FTF offer unique experiences and learning opportunities where attendees can sample a range of presentation approaches and styles. Anyone who cares about technology’s benefits, impacts, and solutions should participate,” says Jeewika Ranaweera, co-chair FTF Ad Hoc and FDC Member-at-Large.

Keep track of upcoming FTF events.

Enrich Your IEEE Experience with Technical Memberships

There are countless professional opportunities waiting to help  you stay technically current and connect with leading experts and colleagues in your technical field.  IEEE’s more than 50 specialized Societies, Technical Councils, and Technical Communities facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among technical professionals, connect experts both across and within disciplines and develop programs that challenge traditional technologies through novel research and applications. As an IEEE member, adding a Society, Council, or Technical Community can be low-cost or even FREE!

  • IEEE Societies: With 39 Societies to select from there is at least one Society that aligns with your specific technical area of expertise.  IEEE Society members stay technically current, network with colleagues locally and abroad, and collaborate on research projects with leading experts. Discover which IEEE Society matches your field of interest and, as an IEEE member, you will enjoy a deep discount when you join today. 
  • IEEE Councils: Bringing together groups of IEEE Societies with complementary fields of interest, IEEE Councils work together in broad areas of technology. With seven IEEE Councils to select from, IEEE members can participate in Councils at no cost when added to their Society membership.
  • IEEE Technical Communities: With more than a dozen technology areas represented, IEEE Technical Communities delve into cutting-edge fields. Participants can join these at little to no cost and get in on the ground floor of research and applications of these emerging subject areas.

Based on your technical interests, IEEE has a Technical Society, Council, or Technical Community available to facilitate networking, collaboration and keeping current on the latest research and developments. Discover which technical membership fits your professional interests.

IEEE Volunteers Growing Food and Opportunities in Nicaragua

Joint-funding program fuels partnership in HAC and EDS

IEEE volunteers worked together to benefit a local community and further their own skills by joining the humanitarian technology project, Automated and Sustainable Drip Irrigation System in Rural Nicaragua. As part of the new joint-funding project model, IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) and IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) provided co-funding to maximize project impact.

The local community benefited from job creation and fruit harvesting while IEEE volunteers developed technical and professional skills and networked within IEEE. IEEE SIGHT and EDS volunteers and local IEEE members and student members formed the project team.

“Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Many rural areas usually have problems with access to water, energy, job, and business opportunities. We decided to provide access to water to improve agricultural practices for the community and the quality of living. Our approach would also help the community create a sustainable business idea through the use of appropriate technology including a photovoltaic system, electronic sensors, weather station, and automated water pumping system,” says Mario Aleman, IEEE EDS and SIGHT volunteer from Nicaragua who served on the project team.

The IEEE volunteers in Nicaragua partnered with La Paz Carazo community to install the efficient water irrigation system. The project team realized that sustainable irrigation through the community center will spur additional community empowerment, micro-enterprise business opportunities, and a unique educational model.

When considering a project proposal for funding, IEEE SIGHT measures it against three pillars:

  1. The feasibility and sustainability of the technology being used,
  2. The needs of the local community, and
  3. The involvement of local partners.

“Everything needs to be relevant to local communities and respect the culture. This bottom-up approach drives the innovation cycle and makes the project scalable,” says Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan, 2020 IEEE SIGHT Chair and 2021 IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) Chair.

For the Nicaragua project, the team installed a water irrigation system embedded with a low-power consumption electronic micro-controller to allow efficient drip irrigation and assist growing of agricultural crops during periods of inadequate rainfall. The sustainable irrigation solution will enable community members to create more economic opportunities for local residents. Additionally, the extra access to electricity through a solar-powered system will support lighting and a computer or two to increase the hours for learning and the breadth of educational opportunities.

“EDS has a strong commitment to humanitarian and educational projects. Our goal is to live up to our vision of ‘Promoting excellence in the field of electron devices for the benefit of humanity.’ This project encompasses the three main areas that we seek to include in our projects; Education/Entrepreneurship/Energy while providing EDS members an opportunity to use their technical skills for the benefit of society,” says Fernando Guarin, EDS Past President.

“The creation of an automated and sustainable drip irrigation system was an opportunity to help others as well as work in a multidisciplinary experience with engineering students and professionals from different backgrounds including agronomy, computing, and electrical engineering. This helped us grow professionally,” says Aleman.

Student members served as leaders and co-leaders and participated in the coding and design of the risk system, agricultural analysis, and installation of the photovoltaic system.

“These projects provide opportunities for students and young professionals to gain real-world experience. It allows them to put their technical skills into action outside of the classroom and see the different areas of a project. It also helps them grow other skills, like communication,” says Veeraraghavan.

“Our volunteers who implemented this project have the opportunity to create a scientific article that can be presented at IEEE conferences such as the Latin American Electron Devices Conference (LAEDC),” says Aleman.

The team in Nicaragua plans to scale and replicate their project in underserved areas.

“This project constituted EDS’s first partnership with SIGHT. It enabled the funds from EDS and SIGHT to go farther and make a greater impact,” says Guarin.

In 2020, EDS granted US$25,000 to IEEE HAC/SIGHT in order to replicate the joint-funding model with other projects.

“We are looking to allocate a similar amount in 2021 and will be having a call for joint proposals in the near future,” says Guarin.

Joint-Funding Partnerships

“IEEE SIGHT is thankful to Society and Council leaders who are helping us engage and deliver the mission of IEEE. Societies and Councils are key. Their members have specific technical knowledge. These partnerships are a key global vision and strategic goal under my leadership for HAC/SIGHT. The programs provide a win-win model. Societies and Councils can engage members across the spectrum of their membership. Students get to develop skills and network within IEEE while Senior Members can mentor and share their expertise with the new generation of engineers. They are crafting a better future for their Society/Council,” says Veeraraghavan.

In 2019 and 2020, IEEE HAC/SIGHT rolled out joint partnerships with EDS, Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S), and Industry Applications Society (IAS). Several workshops were held to train Society members.

“One example was the workshop and HAC/SIGHT panel at the IEEE PowerAfrica Conference in Nigeria which inspired and connected many society volunteers in Africa to take part in Humanitarian technology activities,” says Veeraraghavan.

IEEE HAC/SIGHT plan to expand the joint partnerships initiative with additional Societies.

“Recently, we had discussions with IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS), Photonics Society, Power and Energy Society (PES), AP-S, MTT-S, and EDS. We can’t wait to see the outcome of these efforts by the end of 2021,” says Veeraraghavan.

“We encourage other IEEE members to carry out community projects and enjoy the passion to give back and work together,” says Aleman.

To find out more about IEEE HAC/SIGHT funding opportunities, visit the HAC website. To request information about potential avenues for your Society to collaborate with IEEE HAC/SIGHT please write to

2019 – 2020 SIGHT chair Sampath Veeraraghavan along with PowerAfrica organizing team visiting a local power station in Abuja, Nigeria in August 2019