In my last report, I spoke about the imminent prospect of a vaccine to provide protection against COVID-19 and the hope that, once it was available, life could return to something approaching normality. A year later, thanks to the efforts of scientists around the world, there are a number of effective vaccines and life is gradually returning to normal, albeit at varying rates as new variants emerge, so more slowly than I had hoped back in 2020.
By necessity, WIT has adapted to the prevailing conditions and all of its 2021 conferences have been virtual events. This has enabled us to continue our mission of facilitating the exchange of ideas by providing a forum for scientists and engineers to discuss advances in their fields of expertise and by publishing the results of their research. Our conference co-ordinating team has done an excellent job in difficult circumstances providing delegates with a rewarding experience. However, for the type of conference promoted by WIT - limited numbers and a high level of delegate interaction - physical meetings are a better medium.
My thanks go to everyone who has been involved in making the 2021 conferences so successful. The feedback we get from delegates is invariably encouraging and useful. Last year’s comments led to the introduction of a Q&A session at the end of each session which has proved popular. We also ran a series of webinars during the winter months at which selected delegates were able to present their conference papers to a wider audience. I am grateful to both the participants and those who chaired the webinars. We plan to hold another series of webinars during the coming winter.
The programme for our 2022 conferences has been published and our firm aim is to hold physical events because we believe they are more fulfilling for delegates and the medium-term trend is that travelling is becoming less difficult. We do, of course, have contingency plans in case severe travel restrictions are re-imposed and consequently delegates can be assured that, in one form or the other, the 2022 conferences will take place.
Our publication division has continued to maintain its reputation for publishing its SCOPUS accredited books and journals on a timely basis. All of the 2020 conference proceedings and a good proportion of those from the 2021 conferences have already been indexed. A number of other titles have been published during the past year including one co-authored by our Board member Santiago Hernandez and another co-edited by Ted Hromadka, also a member of our Board.
As regards our research programme, one project, which we undertook jointly with Bournemouth University, was completed during the year and another, also with Bournemouth, is progressing well. Our in-house research has been concentrated mainly on new applications for our boundary element code and several improvements have been progressed in the last twelve months.
Finally, I would like to thank all members of our staff and of the Board of directors for their invaluable support during the past year.