September 2022 OES Beacon

VPTA Column (September 2022)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Vice President for Technical Activities, IEEE OES

OES Colleagues,


I am happy to note that more and more conferences are now being organized in hybrid format (from its previous virtual counterpart) and this mode of operation may stay for some time. Many conferences in the Asia Pacific region had been dominated by participants from China and the ongoing travel restrictions have impacted the in-person attendance significantly. In July 2022 I had the opportunity to organize an international conference which saw almost all of the researchers from China presenting their papers virtually. Nevertheless, we had over 160 participants from other parts of the world attending in-person and it is a matter of satisfaction that the participants see a value in meeting face to face and networking despite the risks, though minimal, associated with the Covid-19 infection. Some details of the said conference have been covered in a separate article in this Newsletter under ‘Member Highlights’ for your reading pleasure.

We are in the third quarter of the year, and it is great to know that some of our technical activities, which have either been at a standstill or delayed due to lack of funding support, could get a renewed start. There will be limited funding available to the chapters, TCs and DLs in support of their technical activities. The details are covered in the relevant sections below. Unfortunately, the late availability of 2022 funds, which must be spent this year, has resulted in insufficient time to receive, and evaluate proposals. This should not be an issue in 2023.

Technology Committees (TC)

It is time to find new leadership for many of our TCs. The extended term of current TC Chairs ends on 31 Dec 2022. We would like to invite interest from the OES community for the new 3-years term of TC Chairs starting from 01 Jan 2023. You will soon see a call for new TC Chairs by the TC Coordinator, and we hope to see great recommendations from our OES communities, especially from past TC Chairs. We also believe some restructuring of the TCs are inevitable; some inactive TCs will have to be disbanded and proposals for new TCs can be considered if they are relevant and not overlapping largely with the scope of current TCs.

As envisaged in our Policy and Procedures (PnP), TCs are the driving force for technology areas for OES and they have a duty to foster the development of their technology field of interest, to encourage applications in science and engineering and to ensure that benefits are delivered for the benefit of mankind. They have an active role in the Distinguished Lecture Program, in organizing and running technical session tracks at OES-(co)sponsored conferences and establishing single-stream Workshops and Symposia in conjunction with Chapters and other Organisational Units or OUs. So, make sure the nominees for the TC Chair positions will be able to discharge their duties well and as envisaged in the relevant PnP.

Limited funding is now available under the Technology Activity Funding (TCAF) scheme for promoting TC activity such as symposia and workshops. This year a funding support to the tune of 3.5K has been awarded to the Autonomous Maritime Systems (AMS) TC for the participation of a TC nominee in the IEEE/OES AUV 2022 Singapore Symposium.

Chapter Activities

As a follow up to my last Beacon report, we have sent out a call for participation of the chapters in the UN Decade of Ocean activities through the IEEE OES Ocean Decade initiative. Chapters will be awarded up to $2000 depending on the type of the activity proposed and its relevance to Ocean Decade. The deadline for the proposals is 31 Aug 2022, which would probably have passed by the time this issue of the Beacon Newsletter gets out. Nevertheless, I would like to encourage the Chapters to prepare their proposals for consideration for funding in the year 2023. A similar call for the year 2023 is expected to be out later this year. This would be a great opportunity for OES volunteers to contribute to a global cause and also get noticed among the international communities.

The chapter activity funding scheme (CHAF) for this year has some funds for disbursement. The funding is usually provided to chapters who plan to run short workshops and symposia under its umbrella. Due to uncertainties associated with the fund availability, the chapters were unable to plan for such events and hence make use of the funds that are now available for use.

Distinguished Lecturers (DL)

The call for new DL appointments ended on 31 July 2022. Unfortunately, only two proposals were received. One proposal came through a TC, while the other was received upon request from VPTA. The proposals will be evaluated by the DL Committee and, if found suitable, will be submitted for AdCom approval.

Funds to the tune of $2K are available for DL support. Chapters or organisers of DL could tap into this to provide limited short haul support or one night’s stay if such situations are warranted. Such funding support will have a cap of $500 per DL. Prior approval from VPTA should be sought before to ensure fund availability for the proposed DL activity.

UN Ocean Decade (2021-30) Conference

The second UN Ocean Decade Conference was held at Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27th to July 1st of 2022. Three OES members participated as IEEE (OES) representatives. These were the President, VPTA and Earthzine magazine Editor, who are also IEEE OES Ocean Decade Initiative Committee members.  Participation in the conference helped to network with various stake holders and like-minded people and has resulted in opportunities for collaborations between OES and other scientific and industrial partners. A report on the related activities will be carried separately.

I am also happy to state that two of the IEEE OES activities, the IEEE/OES AUV 2022 Symposium, and the Singapore AUV Challenge, have been endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade Committee and are now listed on their website. This is significant because it increases the visibility of IEEE OES among the Ocean Decade community and in some ways an acknowledgement of our potential to contribute to the Ocean Decade program.


What are your thoughts about IEEE OES Technical Activities? I welcome constructive suggestions and comments on VPTA activities. It would help to look at things from different perspectives and bring new ideas, and thus make our technical activities more appealing and useful. Email me at