ICE learned societies are to come under formal organisation for the first time, with output divided into five distinct strands (see box).
The changes, approved by Council on 1 November, are intended to allow the ICE to better coordinate its varied and voluminous output.
'It is a broad system, with public communication messages, such as State of the Nation. We also have high-value resources such as the library and the research and development fund, which have the same aim, but until now have had no formal home, ' said ICE vicepresident Scott Steedman.
Steedman authored the ICE Council paper, having taken on the work of former ICE vice-president Professor John Burland two years ago.
'Learned Societies are a fundamental part of the Institution, to accumulate and disseminate knowledge to members, professionals and society at large about civil engineering, ' Steedman said, adding that learned societies have never before had any formal organisation.
Things have developed organically, ' he said.
Steedman said the ve strands will help to get the best from both members and staff, and better link once disparate parts of the ICE's output.
'This will allow the coordination of events and training; knowledge is changing so fast that you have to help people with their capacity to absorb knowledge, ' he says.
The new structure makes many other logical links, for example connecting research and development funds to research publications.
The learned societies will also be able to better develop links to the outside world and other professional bodies, and organise ways for member to enhance, or share, their knowledge.
The new organisation will also make the ICE more 'outward-facing'.
'Rather than expert panels looking inward, this will let us be a shop-window to the profession and young engineers, ' says Steedman.
Each strand's output will feed directly from Council's longterm planning, and also opens a door to non-members, especially other experts, allowing them formal inuence.
The five learned society panels
External: to communicate with schools and media, organise responses and write the State of the Nation
Best practice: developing health and safety, design guides and contracts
Research: linking the library, journals and research fuunds
Building capacity: initial and continuing professional development, and training
Networking: meetings and conferences