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IEEE UK and Ireland Section Vice Chair Ballot | Meet the Candidates – 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.

Paul Cunningham Lecture | Adopting Interoperability based approach to supporting achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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Paul Cunningham Vice Chair Candidate Pitch

Candidate Pitch Q&A | All candidates

Related Technical Achievements & Experience

Prof. Paul M Cunningham is a Strategic Consultant 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).

Leadership Experience

Paul has significant leadership experience in the Not-for-Profit, For-Profit and Education and Research Sectors (Founder and Executive Director, IST-Africa Institute; President & CEO, International Information Management Corporation; Adjunct/Visiting Professor, IUM, Namibia; and Visiting Senior Fellow, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Wales). Paul has served on the Board of Directors of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and organised/co-organised government hosted conference series (including IST-Africa, eChallenges, FutureNetworkSummit) as well as IEEE conferences (including ISTAS – 2015 R8 (Ireland), 2017 R10, 2018 R2, 2019 R1; IHTC, R8 (UK) 2021; GHTC, R6, 2015 – Present; Africon, R8, 2015, 2017, 2019; and IEEE AI & Ethics Summit R8).

Position Statement

Overview of Key IEEE roles and engagements

Currently an IEEE Director (Division VI, 2021 – 2022) and Member, Technical Activities Board (2017 – 2018, 2020 – Present), Paul served as VP-Conferences 2016 – 2019, President 2017-2018, Past-President 2019 – 2020, and UK and Ireland Chapter Chair (2013 – 2019) and Co-Chair (2020 – Present) of IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

Paul has served on Board level Committees including IEEE-USA Review Working Group (2021); IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (Projects Chair 2016-2017, HAC Chair 2018, Past HAC Chair 2019 – 2020); IEEE Global Public Policy Committee (2017-2018), and on Major OU level Committees including IEEE Joint Ad-Hoc on Sustainable Development (2021) and IEEE Ad-hoc on Multi Society Dues (2021).

Paul has served on IEEE R8 Chapter Coordination Sub-Committee (Ex-officio, 2021) and IEEE R8 Humanitarian Activities Sub-Committee (Advisor 2019 – 2020). Paul also served as Founder/Chair, IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT (R8, 2015 – Present); Member, IEEE SSIT Standards Committee (2018 – Present); IEEE SSIT Distinguished Lecturer (R8, 2015 – Present); IEEE VoLT Program (Graduate 2016, Mentor 2018 – Present) and IEEE Industry Ambassador for Ireland (2016-2017).

Vision for the Section

Retaining, growing and renewing IEEE membership in Ireland and the UK (and in particular, students, young professionals and industry members) depends on (a) successfully addressing (and exceeding) the professional career development and IEEE, Industry Placement, Mentorship, and Sustainable Development and Humanitarian oriented volunteer expectations of current and prospective members, and (b) achieving a high level of visibility for the capacity and impact of IEEE Members and Activities with government, industry and the education and research sector.

If elected Chair, UK and Ireland Section, I will encourage resource allocation to facilitate regionally distributed, multi-chapter activities and collaboration in areas of common interest, leveraging Distinguished Lecturer Roadshows, International Conferences and other Technical Meetings to provide hybrid access to Continuing Professional Development (CDP) related Content. The objective is to enhance local access to IEEE activities, while supporting stakeholder engagement and mutually beneficial collaboration opportunities. This will increase diversity and inclusion, Member satisfaction and public awareness of IEEE.

Key policy initiatives and action plan

I propose to adopt a consultative, collegiate approach if elected, and will leverage my experience, insight and networks to support Chapter Leadership and Section Members in any way I can.

(1) Further Strengthen Recognition and Support for Volunteers and Members. Strengthen volunteer capacity by assigning experienced mentors, encourage participation in the IEEE VoLT Program, leverage IEEE CLE resources in a systematic way and further strengthen public recognition of the contribution of volunteers. Identify and support qualified Members to be recognised as Senior Members, and qualified Affiliate and Associate Members to be recognised as Voting Members.

(2) Leverage COVID-19 Experience of Hybrid and Virtual Events to Make it Easier for IEEE Members to Network, Share Knowledge, Learn and Collaborate. Section resources will be leveraged to facilitate Chapters to co-create, record and share access to Digital Technical Content. A dedicated UK and Ireland Section or YouTube Channel will provide access to high quality, curated Digital Content (from Technical Meeting, DLs and Conferences) to contribute to (and stimulate discussion and Q&A sessions at) Student Branch, Chapter and Future Directions Meetings, as well as add value to industry and government forums.

(3) Further Strengthen Mutually Beneficial Partnerships with Sister Societies and Public, Private, Education & Research Sector Organisations in Ireland and the UK. Leverage IEEE’s global access to technical talent, knowledge and expertise to demonstrate the benefits of mutually beneficial collaboration.

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