IET South Wales Network held a Cabaret Night in Cardiff in October 2011.
Alan Bond presented a lecture on the Skylon re-usable space plane in May 2012.
The Community Committee - Americas meeting took place in Trinidad in June last year.
Group discussion at last year's successful three-day American CVC.
Over 100 volunteers attended the South Asia CVC in Bangalore.
After a transformative year for IET Communities across the globe, Member News presents some of the highlights of the 2011/12 session.
Networking, sharing knowledge, ideas and expertise, developing skills and learning: IET Communities are located around the globe, across virtual and physical space, wherever IET members choose to meet, providing a hub of engineering and technology thought and inspiration. These communities of like-minded people are led and managed by groups of IET members who are passionate about science, engineering and technology and are keen to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others by organising events and sharing information online.
Volunteer-led communities are at the heart of the IET. These community volunteers are exceptional ambassadors for the IET, raising awareness of science, engineering and technology and the IET in wider society around the world. Communities exist in places where the IET has no other presence; the tools, resources and support from a small staff team enabling the extensive volunteer network to make a much bigger impact than staff alone could achieve. Communities also play an instrumental role in helping the IET to realise its charitable remit in providing public benefit, with the majority of community events being free to attend and open to everyone. This also applies to the volume of information that communities share online. Here are some of the highlights from the 2011/12 session:
The South East Wales Network enjoyed huge success with their innovative Pythagorean Cabaret night at the Museum of Wales in Cardiff. The event was the brain child of IET member Rhys Phillips and saw eight acts perform to over 200 people, consisting of everything from stand-up comedy and science raps to a science enthusiast looking at the forces at play in bikes, diablos and gyroscopes, with even a straightjacket escape!
Many of the Local Networks delivered Christmas lectures; one notable example being the Bristol Network’s lecture entitled ‘A Pollutants Tale’, demonstrating the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate change. The performance was punctuated with frequent experiments with materials such as liquid nitrogen and dry ice and even featured a few small explosions! This was a joint event with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, attracting nearly 300 delegates of all ages.
February saw the RF and Microwave Technology Network hold a successful event on ‘Microwave Metamaterials and their Applications’ at London Metropolitan University. This was the first in a series of technical workshops planned by the professional network, attracting over 70 delegates from several international companies including Astrium, BT, Cobham, CST UK Ltd, Samsung Electronics, SELEX Galileo Ltd, Thruvision Systems Ltd, Entuple Technologies etc. Young professional volunteer Kafil Uddin organised the activity having coordinated the speakers as well as an organising a research student poster competition sponsored by Computer Simulation Technology.
This proved a highly successful volunteer-led and organised activity, with student personnel assigned responsibilities such as door duty, directions and registration. Kafil is keen to recommend that students get involved in IET communities, as it’s an effective platform for sharing ideas as well as gaining a number of skills. He added, “I’m in the final year of my PhD which is a lot of work, but I think getting involved in things like this help take you to the next stage in your career. The fact that the workshop’s focus was on metamaterials also meant that it was helping my career.”
Thirteen members of the IET Barcelona group visited the ALBA Synchrotron, a third-generation light facility at Cerdanyola del Vallès near Barcelona, Spain. Personnel from the site explained the structure of the synchrotron, particularly how the beam of electrons is generated, accelerated and maintained, and the different methods of using the electron beam to perform experiments.
The Satellite Systems & Applications Network held a lecture on the Skylon re-usable space plane, presented by Alan Bond, managing director of Reaction Engines. Among the 88 people attending the lecture were a number of journalists including BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos. Alan, who is well known in the rocket and space industries, talked about the Skylon vehicle, and in particular the Sabre engines, which are a hybrid of jet and rocket engines, operating in two rocket modes. Initially the engine works in air-breathing mode where it sucks in atmospheric air as a source of oxygen, like a typical jet engine, to burn with its liquid hydrogen fuel in the rocket combustion chamber. It then switches to conventional rocket mode when the engine is above the atmosphere and transitions to using conventional on-board liquid oxygen for the final ascent to orbit.
After the lecture, Alan was bombarded with questions and requests for autographs! As one delegate, Sen Newcombe, put it, “An extremely lucid and informed explanation and commentary on the programme to develop a reusable space vehicle from Alan Bond. The Q&A was almost as informative as the presentation!”
Then IET president Mike Short attended the Community Committee – Americas meeting in Trinidad, announcing that the Caribbean Network would become a fully-fledged Local Network for the start of the 2012/13 session. Deoraj Beephan, chair of the Caribbean Network arranged a packed schedule of strategic meetings and events with volunteers. Commenting, Deoraj said, “We visited the University of the West Indies and the famous Angostura Bitters facility. We also met with representatives of industry to look at opportunities for membership growth and professional development, plus we held a discussion with the Provost of the University of Trinidad and Tobago on accreditation and collaborative partnership with the IET.”
Now that it has officially been classed as an IET Local Network, Deoraj is keen to continue its growth, “What I’d like to see is improved development of the young professionals section and growth in student membership. That’s what we’re currently looking into, as well as looking to properly define and expand some of the sub committees, so as to properly integrate IET members from across the Caribbean,” he concluded.
The inaugural opening of the newly created IET Taipei Interim Local Network took place in July 2012 at National Central University in Taiwan. This is one of the newest Local Networks to be set up in the Asia-Pacific region and its creation has been eagerly awaited. Joseph S. Lee, interim president of National Central University spoke to over 40 members about the importance to the IET of the Taiwan LN and praised its formation and its role in furthering engineering and technology. CS Chang, chair of CC-AP, Thomas Yi, regional director Asia Pacific IET, and Timothy Shih, chair of the IET Taipei Interim Network, also gave words of support.
August saw volunteers participating in the first two of five regional Community Volunteer Conferences (CVCs). Firstly, the South Asia CVC held in Bangalore was attended by over a hundred volunteers from India and Sri Lanka. With the theme ‘Inspire, Engage, Grow’, the event celebrated the spirit of volunteering, with volunteers and staff coming together to celebrate volunteer efforts, empowering them and arming them with the resources and knowledge to grow activities within the region.
The CVC was chaired by Colin Arthur from the IET Communities Resourcing Committee, and co-chaired by Prakash Nayak, vice chair of the South Asia Communities Committee. Welcoming the volunteers to the conference, Colin said: “The South Asia region is strategically important to the IET and your work in developing the communities is vital.” He urged the volunteers to engage with the IET, lead IET communities and bring in more volunteers to the IET.
The event received excellent feedback from the attending volunteers for its mix of content, speakers, ambience and overall experience. As Kapil Khanna from the Bangalore Local Network said: “The event was a great success due to very good team work…good leadership and coordination.”
Towards the end of the month, the Europe Middle East and Africa CVC was held at the Novotel Convention Centre at Roissy CDG, France. Some 30 delegates from 17 countries came together to share experiences and receive training on some of the online tools available to volunteers.
August also saw regional finals of the Present Around the World competition in Europe, Middle East and Africa, South Asia and Asia Pacific.
The Asset Management and Mersey and Western Cheshire Networks joined forces to organise ‘ISO55000: Are you ready?’. Speaker Rhys Davies addressed over 40 delegates from a wide range of companies. The event proved an excellent example of Local and Technical Networks working together to provide a technical event relevant to its local audience.
September also saw the three-day Americas Community Volunteer Conference and regional final of Present Around The World. The conference included a number of workshops and presentations on topics ranging from the IET’s ‘Strategy for the 21st century’, YP volunteering, and talks on how to organise a PATW, working with Canadian student engineering organisations, and how to start YP groups at universities. IET staff members also gave talks on the IET’s communities team, volunteer/staff governance structure, and the IET’s international strategy with panel discussions on developing new communities and re-energising existing ones.
IET head of Sectors and Communities Steve Perry summed up the CVC as “a really informative conference weekend with great networking and an all-round energy from people to take the IET to higher levels in the Americas.”
CVC delegate David Cotton added: “We have challenges in the Americas, but the one thing that I took home from all of this is that the IET is the largest [multidisciplinary] professional engineering organisation in the world, and as an American, it is exciting to be a part of a venerable, but thriving, institution.”
IET Communities are already five months into the 2012/13 session and it looks like it will be another exceptional year. If you haven’t already visited the MyCommunity platform, log on to http://mycommunity.theiet.org to find a community of interest to you. If you have some time to spare then why not become a volunteer? Contact your committee for more information about the ways that you can get involved.
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