Congress at 30: a new approach

Johnny Rich, EPC Chief Executive


2024 will mark the EPC’s 30th birthday. Back when it started, activities focused around a single yearly get-together, the Annual Congress. The EPC has developed quite a bit since then, but Congress remains our flagship event.

To mark this milestone, this year’s Congress – which will be back in Wales, at Cardiff University, for the first time in 20 years – will be a bit different in a way that shows the change we’ve been working towards to ensure everything we do represents, supports and is centred on our community.

In practice, that means this year’s Congress is giving you an opportunity to step up and take over the agenda. We’re inviting you to submit your ideas of what you want see at Congress.

  • If you want to run a session or put together a panel to discuss an issue, you can.
  • If you want to present on a particular theme, but you don’t want to organise a whole session yourself or you don’t know who else should be invited, you can.
  • If you just want to hear more about a topic, or you’d like to suggest a speaker and you want us to organise it, you can.

There is a submission form for your ideas – however well formed or half-baked – on the event page. The only proviso that we make is that your suggestions should be on the Congress theme of Engineers for the Future.

That may mean sessions about the skills pipeline, sustainability, ethics, AI, cutting edge research, funding policies, trend spotting, innovations in pedagogy, developing diversity and so much more.

We are especially keen to hear ideas that take us away from Powerpoint hell or dry regurgitations of written papers. We want lively and engaging discussions, filled with expertise and insight, provoking thought and debate. We want your ideas not only about what to feature in the programme, but how best to make those issues come alive. Our membership is made up of educators and we’re inviting you to be creative about how to educate each other.

One key difference since thirty years ago is that Congress was originally a meeting of the Engineering Professors’ Council. Now, the EPC is the outward-facing representative body made up of institutional members. Under its umbrella is the member-led community – the Engineering Academics Network.

Every individual academic working for an EPC member institution is a member of the Network – not just the professors and senior staff, but also the early career academics and everyone in between. Even individuals who are not currently working for member institutions can join. The Congress is now an Engineering Academics Network event and its focus is on building and supporting our whole community.

That means that any EAN member can submit their ideas for Congress. The eventual programme will include high-profile experts and keynotes, but it should also feature academics on the frontline, students, and other voices we don’t usually hear. We hope it will be a great opportunity both for them to speak and for the audience to learn.


So, how do you submit your idea?

Visit the Congress event page and complete the (very short) form. We need only as much or as little detail as you can give. If your submission is just an idea for a session, you can write just a sentence or two, but if you’ve got a whole plan for the format and the speakers, feel free to expand a little.

All ideas will be considered by the Congress Steering Group and we’ll work with you to turn them into a reality. It may not be possible to pursue every idea because obviously we’ll be working to ensure the Congress provides the perfect balance for all the delegates, but even if ideas don’t make the cut for Cardiff, they make provide inspiration for future events and activities.

Perhaps best of all, Congress attendance for anyone directly involved in presenting will be heavily discounted or even free (depending on the role).

If you’re still in doubt about how or whether to submit your idea, feel free to contact me for an informal chat.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Let us know what you think of our website