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IEEE UK and Ireland Section Vice Chair Candidates | Technical Talk and Q&A Session

An opportunity to meet your IEEE UK and Ireland Section Vice-Chair candidates for 2022-2023. Technical talks followed by their position statements and Q&A Session.

Paul Cunningham

Talk Title

“Adopting a Interoperability based approach to supporting achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”


Paul will explore some issues to be considered when designing Impactful, Ethical and Sustainable Digital Interventions in Low Resource Environments. He will discuss the advantages of leveraging appropriate interoperability standards and ethically aligned design principles. He will present a brief case study outlining how these principles were applied in mHealth4Afrika, a European Commission co-funded initiative in the field of digital health.


Prof. Paul M Cunningham is a Strategic Consultant and Technologist focused on ICT and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) related policy analysis, research, implementation and adaptation and the impact of Research and Innovation on socio-economic development.

Paul has over twenty years’ experience working as a technology, strategy and policy expert with the European Commission, World Bank and national governments, and implementing ethical and impactful cross-border Research and Innovation (R&I) projects in Europe and Africa as Principal Investigator and Coordinator. Paul was recognised by Enterprise Ireland as an Irish Champion of EU Research (2015, 2017).

Paul is 2021 – 2022 Director, IEEE Division VI, which includes seven societies with over 20,000 members.

Richard Pitwon

Talk Title

“How optical, photonic and quantum interconnect are driving our digital society”


Richard will introduce and discuss the increasingly pivotal role of optical communication in hyperscale data centres running the “Cloud” environments that are intrinsic to our digital society.

In particular he will show how optical links are now migrating from the “factory floor” into the boxes housing modern server and switch systems and right into the chips themselves as part of so-called “co-packaged optical assemblies”. This migration is enabled by an emerging technology eco-system, which includes optical circuit boards and photonic integrated circuits. Quantum technologies are progressing to market faster than anticipated with commercial and consumer applications starting to emerge. In future hyperscale data centres will also increasingly adopt quantum computer and communication capabilities to offer “Quantum as a Service”.


Dr Richard Pitwon is a director, scientist and engineer with more than 20 years transformational expertise in optical and photonic system interconnect, integration and architectures for hyperscale data centre, HPC, 5G and IoT data-communications applications.

He holds 54 patents on diverse technology areas, he has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications including 5 international (IEC) standards and given over 90 international talks. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE (SIEEE) as well as a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Fellow of the IET (FIET), Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) and Senior Member of SPIE. His leadership roles include chair of the IEEE UK and Ireland Photonics chapter, founder and chair of the IEEE UK and Ireland Quantum Group and chair of the IEC SC86B standards subcommittee on optical connectors.

He is strongly active in mainstream standards organisations including IEEE SA, IEC, ITU, ISO, CENELEC and the BSI. He founded and ran the flagship British and Irish Conference on Optics and Photonics for two years and organised a series of special quantum symposia during 2021, which were jointly hosted by IEEE, ITU, IEC for the first time.

Sohaib Sheikh

Talk Title

“Decarbonising the built environment – a technology perspective”


Climate Change is a defining issue of our generation, and for generations to come. In the UK, the built environment contributes around 40% of UK’s total carbon footprint. This session explores practical ways and use cases through which the industry is trying to tackle this behemoth through the use of technology, the gaps that still remain and the next steps which are needed to target net zero carbon.


Sohaib Sheikh is a senior ICT and Smart Buildings professional with multidisciplinary, cross-sector, global consultancy experience. He has expertise in strategy, design, implementation, and commissioning of large-scale complex systems on major international capital investment programs, particularly in the commercial property and sports sectors across the United Kingdom, Middle East, and Russia. He works at Landsec, a FTSE100 Real Estate Investment Trust where he manages operational technology across a £10.8 billion portfolio spanning 23.5 million sq.ft of commercial, residential and retail space across the UK and Ireland.

Sheikh was the 2019-20 Vice Chair of Technical Activities for IEEE Region 8 where he managed conferences, chapters, industry activities, standards activities and educational activities for 67000 IEEE members across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Currently, he leads Professional Activities at the IEEE UK and Ireland Section and has leadership roles in the IEEE Educational Activities Board, Awards Board, IEEE Membership Recruitment and Recovery Committee and the IEEE Industry Engagement Committee.

He has delivered keynotes and workshops at 40+ international events including the UNESCO World Science Forum, IEEE Sections Congress, and the World Engineering Education Forum.

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