The IEEE MEMS Technical Community aims to foster and coordinate activities in Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) within the IEEE and beyond with goal of promulgating the discipline and technology for the benefit of society across the world.
For over 30 years, the IEEE MEMS Conference had historically been sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS). While RAS’s support was appreciated over the years, MEMS is only on the periphery of RAS technical interests. As a result, very little if any of the outputs, e.g., income, of the IEEE MEMS Conference came back to support and nurture further MEMS activities.
At the same time, because MEMS is a very diverse discipline, significant MEMS activity sprung up over the years in various IEEE societies and councils, including EDS, UFFC-S, MTT-S, EMBS, SSCS, RAS, the Sensors Council. For example, EDS runs the IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, the UFFC-S, EDS, and SSCS have many sessions at major conferences devoted to MEMS topics, the MTT-S has had MEMS workshops at their flagship symposium (IMS), and so on an so forth. While the number of activities in MEMS is fantastic, their distribution as pockets of activity across much of IEEE precludes unified management of MEMS activities and prevents like-minded researchers and practitioners from attaining the critical mass often needed to spur volunteer activities. It also often prevents income and other resources generated by these activities from going back to grow further activities in MEMS. This is especially the case if MEMS is only on the periphery and not a main activity of the society or council.
Beyond IEEE, there are numerous other conferences that focus on MEMS topics and sometimes encumber one another with scheduling and location conflicts despite good-natured efforts to keep one another informed. A unified MEMS entity run by volunteers, e.g., a society or council, could help manage MEMS-centric activities for the benefit of all involved.
A Technical Community?
An IEEE Technical Community is perhaps best thought of as a precursor to an eventual council or society. As such, the goals of the IEEE MEMS Technical Community include not only fostering activity and growth in MEMS across IEEE and beyond, but also eventual transition to a council or (if appropriate) a society.
An IEEE MEMS entity, be it a Technical Community, Council, or Society, could be focused on MEMS and could endeavor to generate activities that promote and nurture the MEMS field. Eventually, the IEEE MEMS entity should be able to
- Sponsor MEMS-centric conferences, at the very least allowing conference proceedings papers to publish on IEEE Xplore.
- Create awards for MEMS, e.g., for young investigators, technical achievement, and service.
- Promote MEMS researchers and practitioners to IEEE Fellow status.
- Support MEMS Distinguished Lecturers who can evangelize MEMS technology and raise understanding of its place and importance in shaping society.
- If appropriate, generate new publications, e.g., journals, newsletters, in topical MEMS areas to complement existing journals.
- Engage more of the MEMS industry by sponsoring creation of standards and special sessions at conferences.
- Provide travel support and other incentives for student participation in MEMS activities.
- Sponsor local Chapters to grow interest in MEMS across the world.
- Sponsor educational activities and resources, e.g., web-based courses on MEMS topics not normally covered in schools, from K-12 to universities.
- Preserve the history of MEMS, e.g., via video recorded interviews with the “movers and shakers” of MEMS.