My experience at CEIDP 2023

Tanzila Nurjahan (CEIDP participant 2023), Technische Universität Dresden, Professur für bildgebende Messverfahren für die Energie- und Verfahrenstechnik, Dresden, Germany

The CEIDP is a research-orientated annual conference that normally takes place in the United States. The specialty of this year, 2023 was the centennial of the event. My journey to the CEIDP/DEIS conference was guided by the desire to familiarize myself with the latest developments in the dynamic field of dielectrics and electrical insulation, in anticipation of a comprehensive platform to learn, network and gain valuable insights from the fellow scientists and professionals. I would like to share some of the enriching aspects of my experience and expectations from the conference.

The five-day conference started with the tutorials. I liked the fact that the tutorials were organized in parallel and the participants had pre-registered for their preferred one, which saved time and ensured that students could follow along. However, the main conference session was inaugurated on the following day featuring an overview of the rich scientific history with the Whitehead Memorial Lecture and the remarkable journey of the dielectric communities, which was phenomenal. Among the many interesting sessions, the highlight of the conference was the presentation of the latest scientific findings by the young scientists in various fields, such as ageing, bio-dielectrics, tree formation, outdoor insulation, high-frequency dielectrics, polarization phenomena, etc. However, the distinctive and most remarkable feature for the young scientists of the CEIDP was the “Best Student Paper Award Competition”, which can be regarded as a worthwhile and memorable recognition of scientific achievements. I strongly believe that this kind of gratifying event will motivate the young learners to be more enthusiastic and creative in their scientific endeavors.

The Whitehead Memorial Lecture, keynote sessions and workshops have undoubtedly provided invaluable insights and broadened the horizon by offering a diverse outlook in the field of dielectrics and electrical insulation. However, in this letter, it is worth emphasizing that there is still room for improvement to upgrade the conference and meet the high expectations of the participants as a whole. The hope for interactive sessions, such as hands-on workshops alongside the tutorials, remained largely unfulfilled and seems to be a notable omission. The addition of such educational sessions could have a greater impact on encouraging current delegates to continue attending the conference and fascinating new attendees like myself.

Moreover, the conference could also provide additional insights into showcasing innovations from industry, which could contribute to a better understanding of the interface between academia and industry. For example, introducing some discussion hubs for interaction between young researchers and companies could potentially help them find the right career path. In addition, complementary panel discussions in smaller groups and Q&A sessions with professional and young scientists can encourage young researchers to continue their research on a greater scientific scale and at the same time open the door to collaboration with fellow research groups. Additional post-conference evaluation systems and open dialogue sessions discussing new ideas for the next conference, which could also help to improve the overall contribution of the conference, etc.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a drastic change, with a widespread transition from face-to-face interactions to a predominantly online meeting format. The increase in remote working and virtual communication becoming a dominant feature within the ‘new normal’ and changing the way individuals and organizations participate in collaborative activities. Therefore, the integration of technology for remote participants such as a digital platform, can help increase the number of participants who cannot attend in person.

To enhance and fulfill the overall conference objectives, there is still leeway for broader inclusion in the conference, however, it is important to ensure that underrepresented voices are adequately considered in discussions and collaborations in scientific practice.

Nevertheless, I do acknowledge the efforts of the CEIDP 2023 organizing committee and the commendable involvement of the IEEE YP and DEIS Society, which have enhanced the significance of the conference.