ISCA - International Speech
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ISCApad Archive  »  2012  »  ISCApad #172  »  ISCA News  »  President's message

ISCApad #172

Sunday, October 07, 2012 by Chris Wellekens

2-1 President's message


 Dear ISCA Members,

We are just coming back from the wonderful Interspeech 2012 conference
in Portland.

As I said during the opening ceremony, one of the main roles of the ISCA
board is to insure and to develop the 'Interspeech' brand as a quality
label. It means that the board has to maintain a good balance between
continuity and innovation: continuity because a quality label
has to be built for years in order to establish a standard and to
improve the quality, working on each of the aspects of such a scientific
event, and innovation because ISCA is a living society and life involves

To conclude about Interspeech 2012, we had a strong technical program
(including successful tutorials, keynotes and special events), a nice
social program, a strong technical team and a good number of
participants. The 2012 edition of Interspeech showed again that the
'Interspeech Label' is well defined and corresponds to the world largest
scientific event dedicated to speech communication!
It is also important to notice that the registration fees for
Interspeech 2012 were the lowest ones in a decade! This result came
from a collaboration between ISCA and the organization team and showed
that quality could be assessed without a continual raising of the fees.
I want again to thank all the people involved in the
Interspeech 2012 organization for the enormous work they have done and
particularly for the financial risk they took in the fee reduction scheme.

The venue at Portland was also an occasion to present the past
activities of the ISCA board and our plans for the future of our
association. We had nice interactions during the General Assembly and I
want to thank the attendees for that!  I will try here to make a summary of the
main issues of both our presentations and the discussions.
First, ISCA is now a fully international association and the world's
largest association dedicated to speech communication, with about
1700-2000 members in recent years.
Second, the financial situation of ISCA is good and gives more
opportunities for new developments and services, for more freedom. However,
this financial situation is linked to the administrative structure of
ISCA, with an administrative staff composed of one person only. This
limited staff, in number of employees, gives us our freedom (by
reducing the financial long-term constraints) and, at the same time,
constitutes one important limitation:  we have only one person for about
2000 members and we should take account of that when ISCA wants to develop new
services. Of course, we already externalize some administrative duties
and we will develop this aspect in order to concentrate our potential on
our most important activities.
Third, the main objective of ISCA is to provide some specific services
to the speech communication research community, specific because we wish
to target areas where we observe some needs not (well) covered by us or
by other societies.
Fourth, and it will be the last point I will discuss here, ISCA will try
to develop its efforts in order to take a more important place in
general society. For example, we discussed during the General Assembly
about two main aspects: how to emphasize the societal/economic potential
of speech communication in the direction of public bodies such as national or
international funding agencies; launch a common discussion about
research (and researcher) evaluation: should we take a position on this question, or instead allow  people who do little speech communication research (nor are part of the speech research community...) to make decisions that may be potentially crucial for the future of our field?

Finally, I want to remind you that ISCA just started (during
Interspeech 2012) its first activities in social networks
(facebook, for now).

J-F Bonastre



  JF Bonastre


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