Welcome to the final UFFC-S President’s message for 2020. I hope this message will find you and those close to you in good health. There have been difficulties for everyone, and very sadly, tragedies for many that will make 2020 a pivotal year for us all. Recent events, such as the announcement of promising vaccines, give us hope that 2021 will be a brighter year. When humankind listens to the better angels of its nature and supports science, we can tackle enormous challenges.
UFFC’s goal is to promote technology in our own fields to serve humanity in as broad and as deep a manner as we can. All our major conferences for 2020 (IUS, IFCS, ISAF) shifted to online-only and succeeded in providing high quality technical content to record numbers of attendees. Despite the more promising outlook for 2021, the UFFC-Society has taken the cautious position to plan all major society events as online events throughout 2021 as we await conditions to be firmly reestablished that can ensure the health, safety and participation for members from all over the world at in-person events. While we had hoped we might be able to meet in-person by the end of the year, the choice to remain on-line a little longer will keep attendees safe and provide organizers a well-defined framework within which to plan the world class meetings you expect from IEEE UFFC-S.
To support both online symposia and other society meetings, UFFC is investing in performant digital tools for
- sharing technical content online
- a more relevant and interesting UFFC website
- regular communication via social media to keep members engaged with each other.
These changes were already evolving, but what would have been programmed over approximately 5 years has been compressed into a single year to better serve the UFFC-S community in face of the situation created by the pandemic. We’ll be releasing these innovative tools throughout 2021, and are looking forward to providing new opportunities to our members for the exchange of ideas, technical content and news.
While technical content can be provided online, the person to person interactions and networking that we used to take for granted at symposia are much harder to maintain. The UFFC-S wants to help members make and strengthen connections. Our Mentoring and Networking teams will be presenting initiatives along these lines in the new year. As always, it’s volunteers that make UFFC what it is. Without them, none of our achievements, large or small, would be possible. To ensure that volunteers come from the widest and most diverse range of people interested in serving our committees, the Volunteer Engagement group is working to encourage anyone who wants to contribute to find a means where they can make a difference. If you want to get involved, at any level, please contact us. In particular, I want to draw your attention to our recent calls for our Transactions. The new Open Access Journal is seeking an Editor-in-Chief to step into the role immediately, and our existing Transactions is seeking an Editor-in-Chief Elect to serve alongside our seasoned Editor-in-Chief for at least a 1-year transitional period to learn the functions of the position.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the Unconscious Bias training initiative that is led by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Starting by building awareness among all members holding leadership positions in the Society, we’re working to make sure the UFFC-S is as open, welcoming and inclusive as possible. Everyone should feel they have a technical home in UFFC-S, and no one should feel excluded. There are a small number of places remaining in the December training sessions on Unconscious Bias, and they are available to any interested UFFC members until the places are all booked. Please let us know.
Stay safe and well, mask up, isolate where you can, and let’s keep each other safe. I wish you all the best for the rest of 2020, and a brighter 2021 to us all.
UFFC President 2020/21