In a similar way to the IMarEST Special Interest Groups (SIGs) the IMarEST Technical Leadership Board (TLB) is implementing a new communication channel to provide highlights of our activity following each of our meetings and to improve communication with the broader IMarEST membership. This first TLB message outlines the vision of the TLB, our basic strategy and intent and how we contribute to delivering the overarching IMarEST mission and vision and to ensure the IMarEST delivers public benefit.
There is a clear recognition that the expertise of the IMarEST lies in its global membership - over 20,000 at the last count. That’s an awful lot of knowledge and capacity at every level that the Institute has at its fingertips to enhance the marine engineering, scientific and technological communities that it interacts with. The TLB therefore has one particularly significant role to play, which is working out how we collect that knowledge and put it to use in a co-ordinated and effective way to provide value to the Institute’s members and the wider world. The goal is to achieve this in a simple and manageable way, and to ensure that the membership is sufficiently enabled to contribute their expertise in a meaningful and productive way.
A key issue for the TLB, in response to a request from the IMarEST Council – the body that the TLB reports to – was how we move strategic positions and the outputs of technical deep-thinking to become more outward-facing in order to demonstrate IMarEST’s technical leadership externally and how we ensure the IMarEST provides value, for example by putting on conferences and events, submitting papers at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and making contributions at other international intergovernmental organisations or how we contribute to supporting members in undertaking Initial and Continuing Professional Development (IPD & CPD).
Over the last year the TLB has therefore focused on understanding and collating the knowledge and technical leadership which is being produced in the SIGs, of which many of you are members and we hope many more will join. This has enabled us to create a roadmap which ensures that the work produced by the SIGs is used to maximum effect through communication and influencing channels and ensures we have 2-way communication between the SIGs and the TLB. These light-touch processes allow the SIGs to properly develop and work independently, with the TLB providing oversight and direction, and they are now becoming ‘business as usual’ and assist the IMarEST Executive team in London and Singapore in their broader work.
Our next area of focus, as directed by the Council, is to have a more proactive role on campaigns - calls to action, these are the big strategic global issues especially relevant to marine engineering, science and technology that IMarEST will proactively engage in where there is a need to have a clear position and active leadership. This is an onerous task, not least due to the myriad of issues for which many people have a passion, so in the first instance the TLB is initially looking at micro-plastics, a subject that has varying levels of understanding around the world. As well as delivering the output for the position, we will develop some similar high level process to that generated for SIG activity that will enable the TLB to repeat the work for future issues raised.
Above all, we would like to thank all the members for the efforts made to support our technical initiatives and new way of working and we look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve your goals and ensure recognition for what our members do, be it within a SIG, as a technical expert, or simply through the efforts of your day-to-day work.
Katharine Palmer and Jon Holloway