This is my last newsletter as President. Past President Shiv warned me it would pass too quickly and he was correct. His sage advice to get moving was also positive and helped me to work harder to try and achieve the goals I set for myself and the Society. I will review those but first a comment about a recent article. Alex Knapp, a Forbes Magazine journalist, wrote about the top ten professions for the future. These were: Math, Robotics, Health and Biotechnology, Hospitality Management, Prelaw (elderly focus), Quantum Engineering, 3D Printing Design, Liberal Arts, and Aerospace Engineering. If you were counting these, you would notice there were only 9. Amongst these gems, was Agricultural Engineering.
The Joint ASABE and CSBE/SCGAB Annual Conference in Montreal in 2014 is on-track. The dates for the Joint Conference, however, have not been finalized yet. We are going to meet with Mark Zielke of ASABE in Montreal in June 2012. Historically, the Conference is held in July or August.
There is a link on the CSBE/SCGAB homepage to the conference site for the 3rd Climate Change Technology Conference (CCTC 2013). The theme of this conference is “Engineering for Global Sustainability”. The conference is a Canadian and international forum for the exchange of ideas for dealing with climate change. It is also an opportunity to keep abreast of emerging techniques and technologies for the mitigation of and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) and ten of its member societies, including the CSBE/SCGAB, are organizing CCTC 2013, which will be held on the campus of Concordia University in Montreal on May 27-29, 2013. (http://www.cctc2013.ca). Grant Clark is representing CSBE in the planning process for the conference.
The 2013 CSBE Meeting will be held in Saskatoon. However, the date of the meeting is yet to be determined.
I will be taking a closer look at the Society by-laws and may have specific recommendations to make at the Annual General Meeting.
I want to thank all CSBE members for their confidence in my abilities and their unwavering support over the last two years. I will continue to do my best for the good of our Society.
As President-Elect, I am charged with the responsibility of forward planning. My focus of forward planning is how to attract students to the Society, which is one of the most serious challenges our Society is facing. The Society is initiating a Strategic Planning Project to address this issue along with other critical issues that the Society is facing. To get a better picture of the potential “sources” of student members beyond the programs evolved from the traditional agricultural engineering, I compiled a list of bio-engineering related undergraduate and graduate programs offered by universities across the country. ASABE recently completed a study on student engagement, recruitment and retention, conducted by the McKinley Advisors. I have been working closely with a committee of ASABE Board of Trustees to develop action plans, using the results of the McKinley Report. Some specific issues/tasks we are working on are: define, articulate, and market ASABE’s focus in the realm of biological engineering; produce and disseminate a compelling video that highlights the evolution and impacts of agricultural engineering, biological engineering, and ASABE; facilitate student club programming and professional networking; initiate a student contest for creation of short videos illustrating various experiences of agricultural/biological engineering students; attract more students to attend the annual meeting; and develop and distribute a dynamic information piece targeted at employers of agricultural and biological engineering graduates. The committee will deliver its recommendation of action plans to the ASABE Board of Trustees in July, 2012. These recommended action plans may be adopted by CSBE to address the student issue, as well as other membership and identity related issues.
I am pleased report the uploading of our journal papers from Volumes 1 through 30. The papers are fully searchable within the entire document. Two different .pdf files are available for downloading. One is the image file of the original paper (raw) without any text processing. The other is the file processed with optical character recognition software to make it fully searchable. Depending on the condition of the original paper that was scanned, the quality of the character recognition may not be free of errors. If there is any errors please use the image file to verify any inaccuracies in character recognition. This project will not have been possible without the funding support from the CSBE Foundation. Efforts are underway to upload the remaining Volumes 31 through 43.
Beginning in Volume 34 (2012), the Canadian Biosystems Engineering will be indexed in CrossRef providing hyperlinks to all the references within each paper published. What this means for our authors is the exposure they get to their papers through the cross-referencing of their papers through thousands of other journal papers that are part of the CrossRef system. As a result, the citations of our papers are expected to increase leading to a higher impact factor.
The Agriculture Institute of Canada has been providing copy-editing and type- setting services for our journal in the past few years. Unfortunately, their services are no longer available and I have been looking for a cost effective way to accomplish this task. This has led to the delays in getting the accepted papers published on time. I am working on alternatives to speed-up the process.
Another major factor that has been delaying the publication of papers is the timeliness of reviewers' response to our request to review. The CSBE Council has approved the reconstitution of the editorial board by expanding the board to a larger pool of Associate Editors who are expected to provide a faster review turn around time. The current Associate Editors will serve as Section Editors providing the final decision in each of the areas. We invite our members interested in serving on the Editorial Board to contact me by email along with your resume.
I sincerely thank all the reviewers who have responded to our request for review. The efforts of the Associate Editors are much appreciated for their diligence in maintaining the quality of papers published in our journal.
Secretary 2011-2012 annual report content:
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Members of The Canadian Society for Bioengineering (Winnipeg, Monday July 11)
NOTICE OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF The Canadian Society for Bioengineering (Orillia, Monday July 16, 2012)
Scolarships and programs
During last year, the website maintains a steady flow of visitors: about 1400 with 65 % of new visitors every month. Most popular sections were the home page, the NABEC-CSBE 2012 conference portal, publications, events and members sections. We mainly have visitors from Canada and United-States but also from India, Iran, France, UK, Japan, China and Germany. Foreign people generally consult Events and Publications sections of the web site.
We also launch the “I AM BioEng” campaign to promote what the Society brings to its members by posting testimonials. Testimonials show the quality of meetings, new collaboration opportunities and a source of technical information were the main benefits of being a CSBE/SCGAB member. Thanks to Grant Clark, Philippe Savoie, Edwards McKeys and Viacheslav I. Adamchuk for their contribution!
A new Advertising section was created to post ads from members and non-members. If you want to advertise for services, products or events, please contact us. We offer different levels of visibility according to your needs and budget. More information will be available soon on our website. http://www.bioeng.ca/home/ads
In my last report, I offered the opportunity to members to have a technical blog on the web site after some members requested this option (http://www.bioeng.ca/members/blogs). Since then, nobody contact me to contribute. So if some of you still want to post technical information about our profession or your domain, don’t hesitate to contact me!
A note about the website online community: the community is slowly growing but still not very active. I would say: don’t ask for what the Society can do for you but what YOU can do for the Society. Don’t wait for asking to members information publicly; this can help to know more about each other! And it’s almost the same on CSBE Facebook page: about no interaction within members on topics posted. But I’m optimistic so I would expect more contribution from the Society members for next year.
I will be in Orillia for the CSBE-NABEC conference next July so if you want to discuss about the Society website (or any other topic!), it will be a pleasure to meet you!
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.
As of May 2012, our CSBE/SCGAB membership was 642. Of which 173 were undergraduate students, 74 graduate students and 395 full members. The number is within the fluctuating average of the society, up from the 585 of 2011 and down from the 673 number of 2010.
Throughout the year, there have been a number of telephone conferences with the Membership Development Committee of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). As a highlight of the activities this year, ASABE retained the services of McKinley Advisors to conduct a survey about its membership and the engagement of faculty and student in the society. The objective of this project was to identify an action plan for ASABE to help in the recruiting and retention of its members. The conclusions of this survey identified certain strengths (youthful enthusiasm in the student activities of the Society; the longstanding history of the Society) and weaknesses (conflicts of identity in branding agricultural versus biological; lack of public awareness (potential employers) as to what a biological engineer can do).
Based on the word cloud generated from the student survey, the Society would be advised to address the issues related to its recognition and its brand and further consolidate its industrial and community relationships and networks.
At the May 2012 meeting, the Membership committee discussed on ASABE’s 2012 Strategic Priorities, where the Society will work at enhancing the image of ASABE to other professional societies, the public, and the profession and will target to build cohesion within the Society to ensure a pride of belonging.
Student Word Cloud (McKinley Advisors)
This was the second year for me on the Council. Just as during the first year of my mandate, I took care this year of being the link between regional directors and the society members. This link is currently done by publication of news in the Perspectives Newsletter. This year, four newsletters were published and it was a pleasure for me to collect and assemble all the news in order to transmit them to society members.
The publication of the Perspectives newsletter requires the assistance of several people like regional directors. Indeed, they are responsible of contacting members located in their area in order to get relevant news for publication. I would like to thank all of them for the time granted to this task. A special thank goes to President Ron MacDonald and Secretary Ali Madani for their help in the Perspectives newsletter publication.
I would finally take this opportunity to invite all members to submit any relevant news to their regional directors or directly on our website: www.bioeng.ca
In March 2011, some conversation started with the Canadian Society of Canadian Chemical Engineering president at the time (Dr. Robert Legros) for some potential joint programs and collaborations between CSBE and CSChE. The 1st opportunity was identified to be the 62nd CSChE in Vancouver, October 14-17 2012. The theme of the conference (Energy, Environment and Sustainability) well suited the CSBE working area. After a number of meetings and conference calls with the CSChE executives and CSBE council, an MOU was signed between two societies (February 2012). Since then CSBE has started working very closely on the symposium program with Dr. Paul Watkinson, the chair of the International Symposium of Biomass and Bioenergy –which is being held parallel as the core conference program. Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj was assigned to be the co-chair of the symposium from CSBE. The announcement for paper submission for International Biomass and Bioenergy is prepared and sent out.
I have continued to aware all Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group (BBRG) members of CSBE, including the new graduate students. Some new membership applications are sent to CSBE and some more will be sent shortly.