Dr Celestine Iwendi

Reader, The University of Bolton

Can you tell us about the international conference that you hosted at The University of Bolton in 2023? 

The International Conference on Advances in Communication Technology and Computer Engineering (ICACTCE ’23) took place from February 24-25, 2023, in Bolton, UK. The meeting brought together 250 innovative scientists, professors, research scholars, students, and industry experts in the fields of computing and communication.

The conference provided a platform for sharing insights and fostering collaboration in these rapidly evolving domains. In recent years, the rapid development of technology, driven by population growth, particularly in urban areas, has led to a surge in research and innovation around the concept of the "Smart City," a convergence of urbanization and the digital revolution. Participants had the opportunity to discuss and interchange about the real needs of Smart Cities. The workshop covered all topics of Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Communication Networks and Data Analytics.

What benefits did the conference bring to your university, your academic community and you personally?

In retrospect, the hosting of ICACTCE ’23 has already made a substantial and lasting impact on the University of Bolton, the academic community, Greater Manchester region and my own personal and academic development.

  1. Academic Enrichment: The conference successfully facilitated extensive knowledge sharing and academic exchange, empowering researchers and scholars to present their work, gain insights, and engage in meaningful dialogues.

  2. Networking Opportunities: As a participant and organiser, I had the opportunity to establish valuable connections with innovative scientists, professors, research scholars, students, and industry experts. These connections could potentially lead to collaborations, joint research projects, and academic partnerships.

  3. Research Advancement: The conference provided a thriving platform for sharing the latest research findings and innovations in the fields of computing and communication. This exposure to cutting-edge research inspired new ideas and set directions for future academic pursuits.

  4. Visibility: My active involvement in the conference significantly boosted the visibility of the University of Bolton within the academic community and Greater Manchester region. It showcased the university's unwavering commitment to research and innovation.

  5. Professional Growth: My interaction with the academic community during the conference has contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth. It provided opportunities to gain fresh perspectives, receive feedback, and stay informed about emerging trends.

  6. Dissemination of Knowledge: The knowledge disseminated and discussed during the conference has already started to benefit both the university and the broader academic landscape. It aligns with the university's academic mission of knowledge sharing and distribution.

  7. Inspiration: My participation in the conference has reignited enthusiasm for research and teaching. The inspiration drawn from the event continues to drive academic pursuits.

What strengths does The University of Bolton have in your field?

The University of Bolton has several strengths in the fields of computer science and engineering. The University was awarded the accolade by this year’s Guardian University Guide, which ranked it 30 out of 121 institutions across the country. The Deane Road university has climbed eight places since last year and is now the highest placed “post-92” university. Vice Chancellor Professor George E Holmes said: “The hard work of everyone who works at the University of Bolton is clearly paying off This further move higher up the Guardian league table rankings shows that we are providing excellence in teaching and student experience when compared with some of the most renowned institutions in the UK."

In addition, the University of Bolton boasts state-of-the-art facilities including computer labs, engineering workshops, and specialized equipment to support research and hands-on learning.

The University is committed to research and innovation. The team of experienced and knowledgeable faculty members actively promotes research in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, robotics, and more. This contributes to the advancement of knowledge and provides students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research projects. The University’s strong ties with industry partners, allows students to benefit from real-world insights and work placements. These connections help bridge the gap between academia and industry.

What do you consider to be Greater Manchester and Bolton’s strengths as a conference destination?

Bolton and Greater Manchester offer several strengths as conference destinations. The presence of businesses, educational institutions, and research centres in Greater Manchester encourages collaboration and knowledge exchange, making it an ideal setting for academic and industry conferences.

Manchester’s international airport, extensive rail network, and motorway connections make it easy for attendees traveling from within the UK and from overseas. The region offers a wide range of conference venues, from modern convention centers to historic buildings, and delegates will find a diverse selection of accommodation options to suit their budget.  

Delegates can explore the rich cultural heritage during their stay, including a vibrant culinary scene and entertainment options after conference hours. Attendees can also enjoy the nearby countryside, parks, and outdoor activities, which are easily accessible. The diverse and multicultural population of Greater Manchester and Bolton adds to the richness of the conference experience, creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

These strengths make Greater Manchester, including Bolton, a compelling choice for conferences, providing a well-rounded experience for attendees.

What's next for you? Are you planning to host any conferences in the future? 

Absolutely! We're planning to host a groundbreaking AI Consortium, themed “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence,” which is scheduled to convene at The University of Bolton on June 7, 2024. This pivotal one-day event aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

Alongside keynote speeches by esteemed speakers and a panel discussion on emerging AI trends, the Consortium will feature the inauguration of the Centre of Intelligence of Things, signalling a significant milestone in AI research and development. Moreover, the event will facilitate inter-faculty talks and collaboration, providing a unique opportunity for experts from various disciplines to come together, exchange ideas, and explore synergies in AI research and application. Through networking sessions with industry leaders, Student Union, participants will have the chance to forge meaningful connections, potentially leading to impactful partnerships and collaborations.

Ultimately, the AI Consortium represents a visionary initiative to propel the field of AI forward, leveraging collective expertise and fostering collaboration across faculties, with the goal of advancing innovation and shaping the future of artificial intelligence.