April 2018 From the IFAC President

How to get involved in IFAC?

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

What  is  the  difference  between  IFAC  mem-
bers and affiliates? What do I have to do to be
promoted from IFAC affiliate to become a ‘full’
IFAC  member?  These  are  questions  posed
regularly to me and the answer is rather simple:
IFAC is structured a bit like the United Nations.
Countries, or to be precise national control or-
ganizations representing full countries, are the
sole members of IFAC. Individuals cannot be
an official IFAC member, but they can be IFAC
affiliates. It is due to this special structure that
IFAC currently ‘only’ has 48 official members,
which, without this knowledge, must seem like
a surprisingly tiny number for IFAC.

These  official  members  of  IFAC,  called  Na-
tional  Member  Organizations  (NMOs),  are
scientific  or  professional  engineering  organi-
zations with strong interest in automatic con-
trol.  The  NMOs,  spread  all  over  the  world,
are  then  responsible  for  furthering  the  aims
and objectives of IFAC within their respective
countries, which results in different tasks and
privileges.  The  NMOs  are  invited  to  propose
and  organize  IFAC  technical  meetings  in  the
NMO  country,  host  the  annual  IFAC  coun-
cil meeting and suggest candidates for each
Technical  Committee.  Moreover,  the  General
Assembly  of  IFAC,  the  supreme  body  of  the
Federation, is composed of delegations from
the  NMOs.  Every  three  years,  together  with
the  IFAC  World  Congress,  a  regular  meeting
of  the  General  Assembly  takes  place,  where
important decisions are taken and the General
Assembly of IFAC empowers the IFAC Council
to decide on most business. I want to take this
opportunity to thank the NMOs for their contri-
butions and continued support of IFAC, which
are a key element of the success of IFAC and
a great benefit for the automatic control com-
munity in general.

Even though individuals cannot become IFAC
members,  there  are  several  ways  how  indi-
viduals  can  participate  in  IFAC.  Individuals
can become IFAC affiliates, simply by signing
up on our webpage. As an IFAC affiliate you
will receive the IFAC Newsletters and you can
obtain your own IFAC e-mail alias at https://
hera.ifac-control.org/ifacmail/. You can also
become a member of a Technical Committee
(TC) in your area of interest via the nomination
either by your NMO or by the Technical Com-
mittee chair. Note that for some TCs, there is
the option of becoming a Junior Member for
young  researchers  and  PhD  students.  For
more information on the TCs, you can visit the
website https://www.ifac-control.org/areas
There are of course many more options to par-
ticipate in IFAC as an individual, for example,
as an author, reviewer and editor of an IFAC
journal, by attending and presenting your work
at IFAC events and ultimately by volunteering
as an IFAC official.

Altogether, IFAC is blessed to have both, the
National Member Organizations and the indi-
vidual affiliates and volunteers that participate
in  IFAC,  which,  together,  form  the  pillars  of
IFAC making it the globally active and widely
accepted organization that it is today.

Best wishes from Stuttgart
Frank Allgöwer