Welcome to the first UFFC President’s message of 2021, and I hope this message finds you well. Despite the uncertainty we still face over the next few years, the goal of UFFC – to advance technology for humanity – remains strong. However, our methods to do so, safely and effectively, have to change and adapt to new conditions and new technology. Much of the work UFFC volunteers are doing in 2021 ensures that our tools and methods will enable a successful 2022 and beyond.
One of these initiatives is to reach out to our colleagues in Latin America and encourage their participation in the UFFC community. When our meetings and symposia are all virtual, physical location should make no difference to participation. Historically many IEEE events have been located in North America or Europe and more recently, in Asia. We need to change our mindset to truly be a global organization and cover all continents. Our efforts will work to bring together the many world leading researchers and practitioners from Latin America and create a forum to support transversal collaborations within Latin America between the different countries, -institutions, and fields active in UFFC-S related areas. The intent is to provide a blueprint to reach and support all those who can contribute to, and benefit from the UFFC-S, regardless of where they are in the world. You should expect to hear a lot more about this in the near future.
In the virtual world, we’re finding many excellent ways to transfer technical information, but invaluable personal contact is limited. For those who are just entering the field, this is a tremendous disadvantage. Students and young professionals are facing unprecedented challenges at the start of their career that could impact them throughout their lives. To mitigate this, we are starting a mentorship program, with a pilot group of roughly 40 paired mentors and mentees working together to provide support, contacts, and guidance that can continue even as in-person meetings begin again. This will be combined with a series of seminars on skills such as grant writing that will be available to all UFFC members. There’s been an oversubscription of mentor volunteers from across the professional spectrum, and there are just a few places left for mentees. If you’re interested please reach out to the Mentoring and Networking Committee here.
We welcome two new volunteers to our Transactions Editorial Boards. Professor Alfred Yu has been named as the Editor in Chief Elect for the Transactions in UFFC. He will progressively integrate into this role while assisting the current Editor in Chief, Professor Peter Lewin. Professor Omer Oralkan has accepted the position of Editor in Chief for the new Open Access UFFC Transactions. Open Access is now mandated by funding agencies for many researchers and the Open Access Transactions will ensure that UFFC publications provide the best publishing choice for everyone in UFFC-related fields. The work of these new appointees will help maintain UFFC’s high standards to keep publications timely, relevant, and eminent in the field.
Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the call for members to stand for elected positions within UFFC-S AdCom. Elected members represent the society overall, and make up around half of the administrative committee. Their work is essential to ensuring that the society serves all members at the highest possible level. One of my goals for the remainder of my term as President is to engage and enable our elected members to implement more original initiatives to galvanize the UFFC-S community. Please consider standing as a candidate and making your mark in UFFC. The application is here and it closes on 22 March, so don’t wait!
I once again wish you and everyone close to you a safe and healthy 2021