IEEE Region 8 Student & Young Professionals Congress (SYP), Porto – July 2018

The biennial IEEE Region-8 Congress was an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and experience the largest event held under the umbrella of IEEE across the region, for young professionals and students alike. This year the funded participants were carefully selected in order to give new yet actively engaged volunteers an opportunity to witness truly remarkable organisation of an event at such a large scale as well as to be a part of the same. A team of volunteer representatives from IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals, namely Dr. Keyur H. Joshi from Liverpool, Mr. Opeyemi Ajibola from Leeds, Mr. Koushik Kumar Nundy from Dublin and Mr. Daniel Perez Martins from Waterford participated in the event, sharing overall experience of their maiden IEEE SYP congress participation with this report.

The 2018 edition of this event took place in the warm and welcoming coastal city of Porto, North West of Portugal with a finely crafted scheduling of the events and programme agenda, which started with ice breaking activities like sunset on the beach on inaugural day. Eventually, as the days passed the congress built up towards fully-fledged technical and professional development routine, followed by dinner events giving a wonderful idea about the local culture and cuisine both. Each day of the full 5 days congress was so carefully designed that it kept the participants on their toes for the next session and looking forward to that.

The way the whole congress was announced open in an energetic welcome note from the organising team lead by chairperson José Pinto well delivered the full picture of what lied ahead in store for the participants in next few days of the biggest professional IEEE congregation of students and recent graduates regionally. The energy, the hard work, the vibes that were felt across the auditorium from those who had worked their days and nights to materialise the event was clearly visible and was probably the best thing a new volunteer must feel to be inspired and encouraged in similar pursuits of large scale events.

All the days were carefully scheduled to give participants a variety of activities, ranging from workshops and plenary sessions to Key Notes and coffee breaks in parallel with career fairs and Poster presentations. The key thing was the good balance of technical and non-technical activities and right proportion of social and professional development sessions throughout the course of this event. The most interesting part that we witnessed as group of volunteers, who also run and organise events at their section level, was the real-time problem solving that these organising committee of the congress had showcased. Even if there were any small instances of unexpected disruptions or flaws the organising team did an exceptional job to ensure that the show, not only goes on, but also goes on very well-coordinated.

Besides all the learning received in various workshops attended, the key takeaways were the industrial visits made during the congress, including at the international nanotechnology laboratory in Braga, the young professionals training, and indeed the hospitality that we received during the course of our stay at the congress. The networking with the leadership personnel of IEEE, the region-8 and new global contacts we made, during these 5 days of congress, would be contributing to the lifelong memories from Portugal.

Truly a phenomenal experience beyond borders and among the diverse groups sharing a common passion to enhance and foster the engineering sense and capabilities.