The past year has been exciting and very challenging for the society. Serving as a VP (Technical) and as a Program Leader/Chair for Biological & Biomedical Engineering unit at the University of Guelph for almost 3 years, I have seen both sides of the coin. For this 2015 to 2016 period, working closely with the CSBE Local Arrangements Committee and also looking at other operations, I must have spent at-least over 200 hours in the past several months on this volunteer position for the society.
In addition to serving as the Associate Editor for the Canadian Biosystems Engineering journal, the duties of the VP (Technical) involves preparations, arrangements and development of the technical program towards hosting the annual meeting. I served as a member of the Local Arrangements Committee of CSBE Halifax 2016 as an ex-officio.
Briefly, my activities over this past 12 months can be summarized as below for this past year.
The CSBE AGM 2016 will kick start on Sunday July 3, 2016 with a FREE workshop on 'Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization' offered by Paul Richards and Kevin Dunn of Dalhousie University. A total of 94 papers has been accepted for presentation from 115 submissions for this upcoming CSBE AGM 2016. Out of which, 66 papers will be presented as oral presentations and the remaining will be presented towards posters.
We have received a total of $8,000 in cash as sponsorship; thanks to a number of organizations including Wild Blueberry Producers association, Doug Bragg Industries, InnovaCorp, Dalhousie - Faculty of Engineering, Agriculture and the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Consumaj, and the School of Sustainable Design Engineering of UPEI along with the in-kind contributions from Elsevier.
As a voluntary organization with only a handful of local technical activities, committees and programs, CSBE is providing professional and technical as well as administrative services to all members at large. The quality of the technical program and activities are the direct product of contributions by the participating members and act as a thread that connects and binds the membership-at-large.
Similar to our sister societies, our CSBE society is facing several challenges including shrinking membership, lack of active participation at the local level and other related issues. These are tough times for the society, considering sustainable development. It is high time for us to prioritize and revamp the society activities, for sustainable functioning.
I extend my sincere thanks to all the LAC members of CSBE 2016, for their unwavering contributions and efforts in putting together this upcoming conference. As the society seeks new face for this VP (Technical) position, I would like to thank the chairs and members of the involved committees, technical as well as sponsorship teams for their hard work, dedicated support and their help in running this technical section of the CSBE.
Suresh Neethirajan, PhD., P.Eng
The past 2014 to 2015 year has been very busy for CSBE due to several challenges. Significant amount of time was spent in attending meetings and overseeing and helping to co-ordinate the local arrangements committee for the CSBE Annual Meeting to be held at Edmonton - July 5 to 8, 2015.
Early in 2014, I chaired the CSBE Journal Steering Committee. We met several times through conference calls. The last meeting was held on December 16, 2014. The committee composition is made of Sri Ranjan, Mano Krishnapillai, Stefan Cenkowski, Grant Clark, and Qiang Zhang. We discussed the progress to be made on reviewing the journal paper submissions, and discussed ways to improve the timelines. The CSBE journal does make a unique Canadian contribution to science and industry, but the viability and the value of the journal was analyzed. Resources required for efficient journal management and concerns regarding the availability of peer reviewer’s pool were points of discussion of this committee. It was recognized that the editor’s role is too large, being a taskmaster, a volunteer, and doing the editorial work. We also considered hiring a manager to ensure that the journal operates in a timely fashion. Performance indicators were set to demonstrate that the CSBE Journal is moving forward in a desirable direction. Because of implementation of some of the strategies discussed from this CSBE Journal Steering committee, the timelines in processing the journal papers have considerably improved. Serving as a VP (Technical) and also as an Associate Editor (Instrumentation) for the CSBE Journal, I was able to appreciate the challenges from both the journal operations side, and also from the executive member’s perspective in serving the needs of the members at large, i.e., authors and readers of the journal. The CSBE journal has started to achieve new rapid turnaround times in processing the papers recently.
I have been working very closely with the local arrangements committee and the technical committee to develop the technical program for the annual conference. Thanks to Ike Edeogu, Murray Tenove, Rick Atkins and all the other members of the Alberta Local Arrangements Committee of CSBE 2015 Edmonton for all their hard work, dedication and sincere efforts. A total of 6 sponsorships has been received from a variety of organizations namely Lakeland college ($750), OPI Systems ($1000), City of Edmonton ($2000 cash and $500 inkind), Beaver Plastics (app $2000 cash) Alberta Beef Producers ($1000 cash) and Serecon ($750). Thanks to Jason Price of the Government of Alberta for leading on this sponsorship engagement. Few letters of invitation were also prepared and sent to some of the international delegates towards assisting their Canadian visa application processes.
Dr. Stan Blade, the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Alberta will serve as the plenary speaker during our conference. On Wednesday July 8th, 2015 a panel will be held on 'The Impact of Social License on Sustainable Food Production in Canada'. Sean Royer - Executive Director of ARD, Lynda Kuhn - Senior VP of Maple Leaf Foods, Representative from both Beef Producer of Alberta and Ducks Unlimited will serve as panelists. A total of 108 presentations including oral and posters has been received from our members to date to present during the upcoming annual meeting. Three technical tours (Vegreville, Camrose, and the city of Edmonton) have been organized to showcase the wild rose country of Canada. Fundamentals of Environmental Law, Prospective People Skills, Bio-Energy Dialogue Workshop and Measuring Sustainability – The Canadian Field Print Calculator are the 4 workshops tentatively arranged for as of now to be held on July 5th and July 8th.
With this annual report, I am concluding optimistically that the upcoming year will be an uphill task for CSBE focusing on a period of performance, membership engagement, and rebuilding our capacity. We are committed to an unwavering focus on technical operational improvements to enhance the mandate of our CSBE society.
As our CSBE society continues to evolve with an array of opportunities and challenges, I am presenting here my annual report as VP (Technical) for the year 2013 to 2014.
I represented CSBE at the Engineering Institute of Canada's (EIC) general meeting held on September 22, 2013 at the University of Toronto. On behalf of CSBE, I offered to provide input and help with the work of the communications committee of EIC, and provided technical solutions for revamping their website. I also had opportunities to discuss with Murat Firat, the president of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society (CMBES) to explore potential opportunities to work together, and possibly conduct conferences or workshops together.
I also am co-chairing the local organizing committee (LOC) for the 2014 ASABE-CSBE Joint International Meeting with Dr. Valerie Orsat of McGill University. We had multiple conference meetings over phone regarding organizing and making arrangements towards the ASABE meeting. A total of 350 invitation letters were prepared and sent to the conference delegates across the world in assisting towards their Canadian visa application regarding their travel to Montreal towards the ASABE-CSBE conference. The LOC also had a meeting with Sharon McKnight and ASABE conference organizers to co-ordinate the volunteers, and assisted them with their planning and preparations for the conference.
I met with Michael Toombs, Director of the Research and Innovation Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation to liaise and raise sponsorship for the 2014 ASABE-CSBE conference. Dr. Grant Clark, Dr. Philippe Savoie and I worked together as a team, in raising additional sponsorship from MacDon Industries of Winnipeg and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ). Thanks to OMAF based at Guelph and MacDon Industries of Winnipeg for their gold level sponsorship ($5,000 each) for the CSBE-ASABE joint meeting. Thanks also due to MAPAQ for the negotiated conference registration fee arrangement, which helped them to send additional delegates to the conference. In addition, with the help of the University of Guelph, I created awareness about the society and the joint meeting with ASABE to major food manufacturing industries such as Maple Leaf Foods, PepsiCo Canada and the Ontario Poultry Council and the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
With the help of the President-elect, I also chaired the CSBE Adhoc Journal Steering Committee to explore the opportunities to enhance the operations and possibly reduce the publication time of the journal. Thanks to Dr. Ranjan, the editor of the Canadian Biosystems Engineering journal for his efforts and commitment towards the journal activities. The Adhoc committee discussed the strategies required for improving the publication time and promoting the journal through enhanced readership and enthusiastic submissions from scientific authors.
After having fairly extensive discussions with the LOC, I negotiated with the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) to publish a free advertisement regarding the joint CSBE-ASABE meeting in their May/June 2014 issue of 'Engineering Dimensions' magazine. Sponsorship and ‘Advertisement’ matters. Through these initiatives, liaisons with external agencies and fund raising, I hope to help to raise the profile of CSBE. With this, I am looking forward for the upcoming year, and the exciting 2015 CSBE conference to be held at Edmonton.
The Society’s bylaws charge the Vice-President Technical with several tasks, the foremost of which is to work with the Technical Committee and Local Arrangements Committee to develop the technical program for the annual conference. In recent years, very satisfactory technical programs were generated with great enthusiasm by the people who served in this office prior to me and on the local arrangements committees of the annual conferences. This happy result belies an awkward circumstance: there has been no standing Technical Committee of the CSBE-SCGAB for many years!
As well as working with the Technical Committee, the VP Technical reports the names of student award winners to the Awards Committee Chair. If you hold an academic position, therefore, familiarize yourself with the awards that the
Society and the CSBE-SCGAB Foundation make available to undergraduate and graduate students. Please contact me or Ali Madani, the Society Secretary, to ensure that your students win the recognition that they deserve and they are able to take advantage of this monetary support.
Finally, I look forward to seeing you in Saskatoon this summer at the annual conference and general meeting, from July 7th to 10th. We already have over one hundred submissions to the technical program, and there is still time remaining to submit your abstract before the extended deadline. Come and enjoy the fellowship of your colleagues and the chance to renew and extend your professional network. As well as having a great time, you’re also sure to learn something new!
The 2012 Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference will be held from the 15th to 18th of July in Orillia, Ontario. We are very pleased that this year’s meeting will be held in conjunction with the 2012 Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference. This is a natural union, since the two organizations overlap strongly in terms of interests, geography, and membership in Central and Eastern Canada and the U.S. Northeast. I would personally like to thank Stacey Chirnside and the NABEC Technical Committee for their enthusiastic commitment to the development of the excellent technical program this year. I would also like to recognize the joint Local Arrangements Committee, which has been working hard to prepare the wonderful venue and entertaining social events.
Four workshops will kick off the conference on Sunday, 15th June. In the morning there will be workshops about Biomass Crop Production for Energy, presented by Tim Rennie of the University of Guelph, and On-farm Anaerobic Digesters for Energy, by Jake DeBruyn of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In the afternoon, there will be workshops about the Design of Composting Facilities for Municipal Organic Waste Management, organized by Susan Antler of the Compost Council of Canada, and Nanotechnology in Agriculture, Food and Biological Systems, by Dr. Suresh Neethirajan of the University of Guelph.
Monday and Tuesday will be filled with concurrent technical sessions showcasing presentations in NABEC’s trademark 10-minute format and also in the 15-minute CSBE/SCGAB format, as well as dozens of posters.
As always, there will be a strong student presence at the conference, including many presentations and posters by up-and-coming researchers, and award competitions for graduate student presentations and posters. Winners of the graduate thesis awards and undergraduate student report and design project awards will be honored at the conference.
The conference will wind up on Wednesday with tours, organized by the Local Arrangements Committee, to sites of technical and cultural interest.
I will investigate the possibility of reanimating the larger Technical Committee of the CSBE/SCGAB in the coming year, as described in the Bylaws and Procedures and Operations Manual of the Society. This committee is chaired by the VP Membership Chair and includes the Past-Chair, a Vice-Chair, Secretary, and seven additional CSBE/SCGAB members. The Technical Committee provides expertise to editor of the society journal (Canadian Biosystems Engineering), and also works with the Local Arrangement Committee to develop and conduct the technical program for the Annual Meeting.
The 2011 annual meeting is scheduled for July 10-13, 2011 in Winnipeg. The local arrangement team is lead by Doug Small and the meeting promises to be exciting with numerous and varied technical sessions and an all day technical tour scheduled for Tuesday July 12th.
The 2012 CSBE/SCGAB annual meeting will take place in conjunction with our sister society NABEC in Barrie, Ontario.
There are no other reports from technical committees.
As VP technical, I was part of the scientific committee organizing the technical program for the annual meeting of the CSBE/SCGAB in Quebec city, June 13-17, 2010. Since this is a special meeting in 2010 in conjunction with CIGR, the preparation of the technical program was undertaken by the local arrangement team lead by Dr. Philippe Savoie.
For the 2011 meeting scheduled for July 10-13, 2011 in Winnipeg, I am in discussion with the local arrangement team lead by Doug Small to coordinate the technical program to match with their particular layout of the meeting.
There are no reports from technical committees.