This calls for a celebration: GeoLog’s 1000 post!

This calls for a celebration: GeoLog’s 1000 post!

As far as blogging milestones go, today is pretty special. This is GeoLog’s 1000 post!

Since the EGU’s official blog launched back in March 2010 (that’s right, there’s over 6 years of back catalogue for you to enjoy!), we’ve shared posts about research spanning almost every discipline in the Earth sciences; highlighted member’s adventures in the field and showcased the work of outstanding early career scientist. We’ve not shied away from contentious topics and shone a light on some of the most fascinating processes which shape our planet, as well as bringing you the latest from our annual General Assembly.

To celebrate, we’ve come up with a list of some posts which highlight the diversity of content published in the blog over the past six and a half years. Because selecting the best of the blog would be too hard a task, we’ve chosen to feature some of the Executive Office’s favourite posts, as well as some of the most viewed posts since we started recording statistics about the blog back in 2012.

Bárbara Ferreira, the EGU’s Media and Communications Manager says “It’s hard to pick your favourites from amongst 1000 blog posts, published over 6.5 years of the EGU’s blog existence, so I will highlight a few ‘firsts’ instead.”

Imaggeo on Mondays is the longest running regular column on the blog, having started in February 2011. Weekly, we highlight a photo from the EGU’s open-access image repository, Imaggeo.

“The very first featured image was an asphalt volcano from the Gulf of Mexico,” explains Bárbara.

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular posts in GeoLog’s history is also an Imaggeo on Mondays post. Could it be any other way when the April 2013 post highlighted one of the most emblematic geological features in the world? Sarah Connors, the EGU’s Policy Fellow is also a fan of Imaggeo on Mondays.

Left: Asphalt volcano off the Gulf of Mexico . Credit: Marum. Right: href=""> Grand Prismatic spring . Credit: David Mencin (both images distributed via

Left: Asphalt volcano off the Gulf of Mexico . Credit: Marum. Right: Grand Prismatic spring . Credit: David Mencin (both images distributed via

“It gives me the opportunity to learn facts about research areas that differ from my own background (atmospheric chemistry). I particularly liked ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ which taught me about large shifting landmasses and what effects this can have on the surrounding rock (it can create swirls of different rock types),” explains Sarah.

Geosciences Columns cover recent research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences. Usually, but not always, the research featured is published in one of our open access journals, and presented in a language that is accessible to all. November 2011 was the birth-month of this popular series and featured research about how the Vikings used a transparent variety of calcite, called Iceland spar, to navigate.

“Managing the EGU’s social media presence is one of my [Laura Roberts, EGU Communications Officer] tasks, so I’m always interested in learning what applications social media might have in the context of the Earth sciences. A Geosciences Column published back in February 2013 is one of my favourites as it showcases how social networks to respond to earthquakes.”

Fast forward to July 2012 and another of our long-established columns got underway: GeoTalk, featuring a short Q&A with a geoscientist, often an early career scientist (ECS).

“We started with an interview with Guillermo Rein about his research on the largest fires on Earth and how they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions,” says Bárbara, and adds “all three columns [GeoTalk, Geosciences Columns and Imaggeo on Mondays] are ongoing to this day.”

More recently, Sarah (Policy Fellow) started our newest column: GeoPolicy, which focuses on informing the scientific community on European policy, the scientists contributing to this process, and how other researchers could play a role in influencing policy making.

“So far, it’s been a great experience and I’ve got to write about some interesting topics. I think my favourite post is the ‘How to communicate science to policy officials – tips and tricks from the experts’, which covers a science policy session at the EGU General Assembly 2016. The post summarises key communication tips for researchers wanting to engage with policy officials,” describes Sarah.

While preparing this post we realised our readers enjoy discovering more about subjects which are timely and ‘hot’ at the time of publication. A post about Iceland’s Bárðarbunga-Holuhraun and its remarkable volcanic eruption, which went live not long after the eruption and showcased new research presented at our General Assembly, is among the most popular on the blog. Tapping into slightly niche subjects also proved a hit among the GeoLog audience. Who knew a story about spitfires and geophysical archaeology in Burma would be our most read post ever?

GeoLog is also a place to find resources on all things related to career, science communication, academic writing and personal development. We’ve featured how-to-guides on how to apply for research grants, prepare for your next interview and most recently how to pitch your research to a journalist. Among the most popular posts on the blog is one packed with tips and tricks on how to prepare THE best job application.

It wouldn’t be fair to celebrate this special occasion without sending a big thank you to all our guest authors, who over the past six and a bit years have contributed a range of informative, entertaining and insightful posts. We always welcome guest contributions, so if you would like to submit a post, please do get in touch!

Last, but absolutely not least, a big thank you to all our readers! We hope you continue to enjoy GeoLog. Here is to the next 1000 posts!

Revamping the EGU blog network: call for bloggers

Revamping the EGU blog network: call for bloggers

The EGU blog network is getting a make-over! Since 2013 the network blogs have enjoyed thought-provoking and engaging contributions by Simon Redfern, Dan Schillereff and Laura Roberts, Jon Tennant, as well as Will Morgan on a range of topics: from the workings of the inner Earth, through to geomorphology, palaeontology and air quality. However, the individual circumstances of the bloggers now mean that it is no longer viable for them to regularly update their blogs. As such, it is with sadness that we announce that we are saying goodbye to Atom’s Eye on the Planet, Geology Jenga, Green Tea and Velociraptors and Polluting the Internet. From the EGU, we thank Simon, Dan, Laura, Jon and Will for contributing excellent content to the blogs and wish them the very best of luck for the future.

To complete the make-over, we’d like to find new blogs to take the place of the departing network blogs. If you are an Earth, planetary or space researcher (a PhD student, an early career scientist, or a more established one) with a passion for communicating your work, we’d like to hear from you!

We currently feature blogs in international development (Geology for Global Development), geochemistry (GeoSphere), volcanology, (VolcanincDegassing) and geopolicy (Four Degrees). We’d love to receive blog proposals from fields within the Earth, planetary and space sciences we don’t yet feature. The network aims at fostering a diverse community of geoscience bloggers, sharing accurate information about geoscientific research in a language understandable not only to fellow scientists but also to the broader public. You, as an expert in your own research area, are in a better position than we are to share recent development in your area of research.

The benefits: apart from your site gaining exposure by having its posts listed on the front page of the EGU website, we will also share highlights of your work on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram) and advertise the blog network at our General Assembly, which has over 12,000 attendees. And, of course, you’ll get to join a great community of bloggers!

With the exception of VolcanicDegassing, the network blogs are authored by early career researchers. In this call for bloggers we are particularly keen to add diversity to the network, and particularly welcome applications from more established scientists.

Having an existing blog is not a requirement for application. However, if you don’t have a blog already, we’d like you to have at least some experience of writing for a broader audience, be it as a guest blogger, or contributing to outlets such as The Conversation, for instance. In this case, let us know what you’d like your blog to be called, what topics you would cover, and link to articles you’ve published in the past.

If you’d like your blog (or blog idea) to be considered for our network, fill out this form by 8th August.

Please note that only blogs in English will be considered, as this is the EGU working language, and the language of the blog network. We particularly encourage applications from all European countries, not just English-speaking countries, but bloggers from outside Europe can also apply.

Feel free to contact the EGU Communications Officer Laura Roberts if you have any questions. In the meantime – happy blogging!

GeoPolicy: 8 ways to engage with policy makers

GeoPolicy: 8 ways to engage with policy makers

Scientific research is usually verbally communicated to policy officials or through purposefully written documents. This occurs at all levels of governance (local, national, and international). This month’s GeoPolicy post takes a look at the main methods in which scientists can assist in the policy process and describes a new method adopted by the European Commission (EC) that aims to enhance science advice to policy.

Contrary to what is commonly thought, science-for-policy communication can be instigated by both scientists and policy officials (not just from the policy end). Scientists are increasingly encouraged to step out of their ‘ivory tower’ and communicate their science to the glittering world of policy. During my PhD, I presented my thesis results to civil servants at the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change. That meeting was a result of me directly contacting the department with a summary of my work. Scientists should not feel afraid to contact relevant policy groups, although this is perhaps easier to do on the local / national scale rather than on the international level.


Types of policy engagement

Some of the commonly reported scientific evidence for policy methods are described below:

  1. Surveys: Government organisations may send out targeted or open questionnaires to learn stakeholders’ opinions on certain topics. This method is used for collecting larger sample sizes and when the general consensus and/or dominant views need to be known.
  2. Interviews: one-on-one meetings are commonly used for communicating science to policy officials; either by phone or in person. These provide opportunities for in-depth discussions and explanations.
  3. Discussion workshops: the term ‘workshop’ is loosely used when referring to science policy. It can describe a semi-structured meeting where no predefined agenda has been set, or the term can refer to participants systematically discussing a topic with specific aims to be achieved (Fischer al., 2013). Workshops can involve solely scientists or combine policy workers and scientists (examples of the latter at the UK Centre from Science and Policy). Workshops usually result in a written summary which can be used for policy purposes.
  4. Seminars: experts give talks on their research for interested policy officials to attend and ask questions afterwards. For more tips on ways to communicate science to policy officials please read May’s GeoPolicy post.
  5. Policy briefings: may refer to a several types of written document. They are usually written after a workshop or to summarise scientific literature. Briefings are usually written by so-called bridging organisations, which work at the science-policy interface. These documents can be relatively brief, e.g., the American Geophysical Union (AGU) have published several ‘factsheets’ on different Earth-science topics, or more detailed, e.g., the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) regularly publishes ‘POSTnotes’.
  6. Reports: these are far longer documents which review the current scientific understanding. The IPCC reports are key examples of this, but it should be noted that any long report intended for wider-audiences should always contact a short summary for policymakers as they almost certainly do not possess the time to read full reports.
  7. The Delphi method: this less-commonly known practice combines both individual and group work and is supposed to reduce biases that can occur from open discussion platforms. Experts answer questions posed by policy workers in rounds. In between each round an anonymous summary of the opinions is presented to the participants, who are then asked if their opinions have changed. The resulting decisions can then draft a policy briefing.
  8. Pairing schemes: an alternative method used to bridge the science policy gap. This is a relatively new initiative but examples have occurred on the national (Royal Society and MPs paired together in the UK) and international level (EU MEPs paired with European-based scientists). These schemes involve an introductory event at the place of governance, which include seminars and discussions. Bilateral meetings are then organised at the Scientists’ institutions. These initiatives aim to help participants on both sides appreciate the different working conditions they experience. The EU-wide pairing scheme encourages pairs to work together producing a science policy event at a later date. This is still to be determined as the initial pairing only occurred in January.


Recruiting scientists

Different pathways exist for scientists to partake in these meetings. These include:

More commonly, scientists are contacted through the policy organisation’s extended personal network. This has been criticised as it can restrict the breadth of scientific evidence reaching policy, as well as it being not transparent. Under EC President Jean-Claude Junker, a Scientific Advice Mechanism has been defined, in which a more transparent framework for science advice to policy has been set out.


What is the Science Advice Mechanism? (SAM)

The Science Advice mechanism. Slide taken from presentation entitled “A new mechanism for independent scientific advice in the European Commission” available on the EC Website.

The Science Advice mechanism. Slide taken from presentation entitled “A new mechanism for independent scientific advice in the European Commission” available on the EC Website.


This mechanism aims to supply the EC with broad and representative scientific in a structured and transparent manner. The centre-point to this is the formation of a high level scientific group which will work closely with the EC services. This panel comprises seven members “with an outstanding level of expertise and who collectively cover a wide range of scientific fields and expertise relevant for EU policy making”. This panel provides a close working relationship with learned societies and the wider scientific community within the EU. Since its initiation is 2015 the panel has met twice to discuss formalising this mechanism further. The minutes for the meetings are publically available here. More information about SAM is available in the EPRS policy briefing ‘Scientific advice for policy-makers in the European Union’.

Previously, the EU had appointed a Chief Scientific Advisor, however this role was discontinued after 3 years as it was considered too dependent on one individual’s experience. A panel is thought to provide a broader range of scientific advice.


Communicate Your Science Competition Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Beatriz Gaite, the winner of the Communicate Your Science Video Competition 2016. Beatriz is a researcher at the department of Earth’s Structure and Dynamics and Crystallography at the Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC), in Spain.

Want to communicate your research to a wider audience and try your hand at video production? Early career scientists  who pre-registered for the 2017 EGU General Assembly are invited to take part in the EGU’s Communicate Your Science Video Competition! Find out more – importantly, when to submit your entries – about the competition!


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: