The John von Neumann Association, the CEPIS Member from Hungary, recently interviewed the President of CEPIS Luis Fernandez-Sanz, in the context of John von Neumann’s 120th anniversary activities. Dr Fernandez-Sanz spoke about CEPIS plans for 2023, and the role of NJSzT in CEPIS. Please find here the link to the original interview (in Hungarian). You can read the English version below.
Mr. Luis Fernández-Sanz, president of CEPIS, could you, please, introduce yourself to our audience?
I earned my Bachelor and Master degrees in Informatics in 1989 from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) and my PhD in Informatics with special doctoral award in 1997 from Universidad del País Vasco (Spain). My career has been mostly in academia in three different universities; and since 2008 I have been working as Associate Professor at the University of Alcalá, where I have recently been accredited to full professorship. I have participated in many IT consultancy projects for Spanish companies as a freelancer, and I also was the CEO of Uriga 5 SL, an IT services company (2002-2006). I have been involved as coordinator in 15 EU-funded projects in different programs (Marie Curie, DG Connect, Erasmus+, etc.) and I have also been the only expert in Europe appointed or contracted for the development of the three main references of IT professionalism and digital skills in Europe: the ESCO labour classification, the standard EN16234 (also known as e-CF) and the DigComp framework for digital competence of citizens.
Concerning professional associations, I started in 1998 as coordinator of expert groups in the Spanish Association of Informatics Professionals (ATI), which is also a member society of CEPIS. I also served as a Board Member and vice president of ATI from 2008 to 2015. I started to represent ATI in CEPIS in 2010, and I served as Board member of CEPIS in several periods (2011-2013), (2016-2020) and (2021-22) until I was elected president of CEPIS in May 2022.
What are the plans for the future of CEPIS?
Our plans are directly guided by the CEPIS Strategy approved in the last CEPIS Council meeting in November 2022. The elaboration of this strategy is the result of a long process, where the CEPIS Member Societies had many opportunities to contribute and discuss the key points of our future as organisation. It is difficult to briefly summarise all the relevant points of the Strategy but I would like to highlight two main aspects: a) acting and being recognised as the coordinated European voice representing the views of European informatics professionals on major issues, representing them to both European Institutions and relevant stakeholders and b) implementing a more modern and effective approach to communication, to reach all the professionals of our Member Societies as well as all the external organizations and individuals that can synergistically contribute to the development of IT professionalism and to the progress of ICT, informatics and the digital world. We will focus our capacity on developing the main three pillars of the strategy: Building a strong IT Profession, promoting, and enhancing Digital Education and Skills and making IT Good for Europe and for the European society.
As commented before, 2023 is a special year. With the approval of our strategy, we need to address some challenges that will demand the maximum capacity of both the Secretariat and the Board, as well as from the representatives of Member Societies. The brand of ITPE (https://itprofessionalism.org/) will be directly incorporated into CEPIS activities in close cooperation with our sister organization ICDL Foundation, and we will be more open to external individuals and organisations to participate in specific actions. This will be decided during this year and will probably require some changes in our regulatory documents like the Constitution and the Standing Orders. Any changes, of course, will be made by reaching a consensus among the Member Societies.
What are the key initiatives of CEPIS for this year?
At the same time, we will endeavour to revive some of the expert groups that became less active for several reasons (pandemic, loss of key leaders, etc.). We will also launch new initiatives on relevant aspects, some of which, like research, development and innovation, were specifically requested by several Member Societies. Everything will be supported by new communication actions to achieve the maximum impact among our members while empowering our image to the outside world.
What is your impression on the Hungarian Informatics Society and our role around CEPIS?
Although it is always difficult to get a very precise and detailed impression and information of all the initiatives that the CEPIS Member Societies develop, I always got a good impression of the amount and the impact of the activities of NJSZT, since my first days at CEPIS as representative of ATI, the Spanish society, and also when serving in the Board of CEPIS. I knew about the initiatives in many fields, from the implementation of ICDL to more professional and technical activities. In fact, the name of Von Neumann as part of the name of the society NJSZT was always appealing to me as it is giving a direct human link to a prominent expert, something sometimes missed amidst the frenzy but cold world of technology. Representatives of NJSZT have frequently contributed to many activities and discussions in CEPIS, helping to consolidate it as the home of all European IT professionals. NJSZT is also one of the most active Member Societies to share news about their activities with the CEPIS network, thus providing inspiration and best practice examples to other Members.