EGU2015: Applying for financial support to attend the General Assembly

The EGU is committed to promoting the participation of both young scientists and established researchers from low and middle income countries who wish to present their work at the EGU General Assembly. In order to encourage participation of scientists from both these groups, a limited amount of the overall budget of the EGU General Assembly is reserved to provide financial support to those who wish to attend the meeting.

From 2005 to 2013, the total amount awarded grew from about €50k to €90k, with a record 279 awards being allocated to support attendance to the 2014 General Assembly. For the 2015 General Assembly, the EGU has allocated €110k to financially support scientists who wish to attend the meeting. About 80-90% of the funds are reserved to assist young scientists in attending the conference, whilst the remaining funds will be allocated to established scientists.

Financial support includes a waiver of the registration fee and a refund of the Abstract Processing Charge (relating to the abstract for which support was requested). Additionally, the grant may include support for travel expenditures, at the discretion of the Support Selection Committee, to a maximum of €300. The EGU currently runs two different financial support schemes; you will be able to find more details about each of these awards on the Support & Distinction section on the EGU 2015 website. You will also find details on who is eligible for the awards on the website.

Scientists who wish to apply for financial support should submit an abstract, on which they are first authors, by 28 November 2014. Late applications, or applications where the scientist is not the main author, will not be considered. The EGU Support Selection Committee will make its decision to support individual contributions by 31 December 2014. All applicants will be informed after the decision via email early in the new year. Only the granted amount mentioned in the financial support email will be paid out to the supported contact author, in person, during the EGU General Assembly 2015.

To submit the abstract of your oral or poster presentation, please enter the Call-For-Papers page on the EGU2015 website, select the part of the programme you would like to submit an abstract to, and study the respective session list. Each session shows the link to Abstract Submission that you should use. More information on how to submit an abstract is available from the EGU 2015 website.

Applying for financial support is easier than ever! As soon as you make your choice of session you will be prompted to select whether you wish to apply for financial support. If you do, be sure you tick the appropriate box when submitting your abstract. Bear in mind that, even if you are applying for support, you will still need to pay the Abstract Processing Charge. A screenshot of the first screen of the abstract submission process is shown below.

The abstract submission page (click for larger). If you wish to apply for financial support, please select the relevant support box.

The abstract submission page (click for larger). If you wish to apply for financial support, please select the relevant support box.

There is a new and improved selection process for the allocation of the awards. Abstracts are evaluated on the basis of the criteria outlined below:

Evaluation Criteria Weight
How well does this contribution fit into the session it is submitted to? 10%
Is this contribution essential for the session being successful? 30%
Is the abstract clearly structured and scientifically sound? 25%
Are there conclusions and are they supported by data or analysis? 25%
How well is the abstract written (grammar, orthography)? 10%

Evaluation Process

  1. Based on the provided information eligible abstracts will be forwarded for evaluation.
  2. The first and most important step, after the submission deadline, corresponds to the evaluation of the abstract made by the respective session convener or by the programme group chair when the convener states a conflict of interest, based on the criteria outlined above. (A conflict of interest arises when the convener is, for example, a co-author on the abstract or a supervisor, close collaborator or direct colleague of the applicant.)
  3. The second step corresponds to the ranking made by the EGU programme groups which is based, on a first instance, on the convener’s evaluation of the abstracts.
  4. In the third and final step, the Support Selection Committee  (‘Treasurer team’) grants travel support within the overall annual budget allocation, taking into account the evaluations of conveners and ranking of programme group chairs, the number of abstracts submitted to each session, and the number of registered participants by country (estimated based on previous-year numbers). Between 30-35% of the travel grants will go to young scientists of low income countries in Europe, while 10-20% will be awarded to established scientists from low, lower middle, and upper middle income countries (see Support & Distinction page for more details on the countries).

Next year’s financial-support awardees will be notified in early January 2015. If you have any questions about applying for financial support, please contact EGU communications Officer, Laura Roberts.

Schematic summary of the evaluation criteria.

Schematic summary of the evaluation criteria.

EGU 2014 General Assembly programme now online!

The EGU General Assembly 2014 programme is available here. Take a look and – if you haven’t already – register for the conference by 31 March to make the early registration rates!

The scientific programme of this year’s General Assembly includes Union SymposiaInterdivision SessionsEducational and Outreach Symposia, as well as oral, poster and PICO sessions covering the full spectrum of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The Keynote and Medal LecturesGreat Debates in the GeosciencesShort CoursesTownhall Meetings, and Splinter Meetings complete the overall programme.


There are several ways to access the programme, so you can explore the sessions with ease:

  • Browse by day & time: view the oral, poster and PICO sessions by their time and location, each sorted chronologically by conference day, time block and programme group
  • Browse by session: view the scientific sessions and their oral, poster and PICO sub-sessions by programme group
  • Personal programme: a great tool to generate your own personal programme, just select the specific presentations or sessions you’re interested in to create your own personal schedule
  • Papers of special interest: take a look at the abstracts that were selected by their respective session conveners to be of interest to the press & media

Want more ways to browse the programme? We’ll be releasing the EGU 2014 mobile app closer to the conference, stay tuned!

We look forward to seeing you in Vienna for the General Assembly (27 April – 2 May 2014).

Science bloggers – join the 2014 General Assembly blogroll!

Will you be blogging at the 2014 General Assembly? If so, sign up here and we’ll add you to our official blogroll. We will be compiling a list of blogs that feature posts about the EGU General Assembly and making it available on GeoLog, the official blog of the European Geosciences Union.

We’d ask you to write posts that relate directly to the Assembly during the conference in Vienna (27 April – 2 May). The content of each blog on this list is the responsibility of the authors and is not sanctioned by the EGU, but we will make details of all the blogs on the General Assembly blogroll available online.

If you would like your blog to feature on our list, please submit your blog details to us.

With free (and open!) wireless internet and plugin points available throughout the building and great science throughout the week; we’ve got everything you need to get blogging! International plug adapters can even be borrowed from the Austria Center Information Desk!

GeoLog will also be updated regularly during the General Assembly, featuring posts about scientific sessions, conference highlights and interviews with scientists at the meeting. If you would like to contribute to GeoLog, please pitch your idea to You may also use this address for any questions you might have about the blogroll.

Bridge the gap between geoscience and the general public. (Credit: Dario Zampieri, distributed by

Bridge the gap between geoscience and the general public. (Credit: Dario Zampieri, distributed by

Dense rocks rise higher because isostasy says so

From space, the Brandberg Igneous Complex looks like a coffee-coloured birthmark set upon the bony complexion of the Namibian desert. Perfectly circular, its peaks soar in a ring of mighty topography, its massive granite cliffs etched with the muscular definition of spheroidal weathering. Its bulk seems to rise out of the barren landscape, driven upward by some unseen force.

In fact, granite intrusions like the Brandberg may actually be uplifted by powerful forces, unseen but not unfamiliar. New research, presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting last week in San Francisco, suggests that granite features like the Brandberg may owe their towering height to the elementary principle of isostasy.

Since Grove Gilbert first measured the formidable hardness and high density of granite in the 19th century, most geologists have attributed the striking topographic relief of many granite peaks to the former; they argued that granite was simply more resistant to erosion. But Jean Braun, of the Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTerre) at University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, thinks the high density of granite paradoxically deserves the credit.

A Landsat 7 image of the Brandberg Igneous Complex in Namibia (Credit: NASA).

A Landsat 7 image of the Brandberg Igneous Complex in Namibia (Credit: NASA).

As most students learn in Geology 101, crustal rocks float on the asthenosphere like icebergs in the sea. The density contrast between the ice and the water dictates how much of the iceberg rises above the sea surface, and the same is true of rocks. Furthermore, when you melt an iceberg or passively erode a piece of crust, it will rebound to compensate. On average, the crust rebounds by about 700 metres for every kilometre of erosion. “That’s a well-accepted consequence of local isostasy,” Braun says. “The key is that this ratio can easily vary when you change the density of the surface rocks.”

For granite, whose density can exceed that of the rocks it intrudes by hundreds of kilograms per cubic metre, the rate of isostatic rebound can more than double. “There is nothing new about some granites being denser than the rocks they intrude and there is nothing new about the principle of isostasy,” Braun says. What is new is the realisation – albeit a counterintuitive one – that denser rocks will rebound faster than lighter rocks.

Inside the Brandberg Complex, whose peaks rise 2600 meters above sea level. (Credit: Julia Rosen)

Inside the Brandberg Complex, whose peaks rise 2600 meters above sea level. (Credit: Julia Rosen)

Braun and his colleagues demonstrated this by modelling the evolution of a hypothetical landscape using a surface process model that included isostatic effects. They varied the hardness and density of the surface rocks in the model and found that while resistance to erosion played a small role in preserving topographic high points, the enhanced isostatic rebound associated with density changes was the primary factor behind the high elevation of granite features.

However, there is some limit to the amount of isostatic rebound that can occur by this mechanism. “The principle of localised isostasy assumes that the Earth is made of vertical columns of lithosphere that can slide with respect to each other in any way,” Braun says. “However, we know this is not the case.” Instead, the intrusion must be of the same scale as the elastic thickness of the crust – a measure of its lateral strength. For example, in the thick, strong interior of continents, dense features must be about 100 kilometres long to rebound faster than the rocks around them while in weaker crustal regions, even small granite features can experience enhanced uplift.

After presenting these results at conferences like the AGU Fall Meeting, Braun’s idea has been met with nearly universal enthusiasm and support. “It’s too basic to not be true,” jokes Braun. Mostly, he and others just wonder, “how come we didn’t think of this before?”

The preliminary results of Braun’s modeling show that denser features form higher elevations (shown in red). (Courtesy of Jean Braun)

The preliminary results of Braun’s modeling show that denser features form higher elevations (shown in red). (Courtesy of Jean Braun)

On top of explaining the high elevation of granites, Braun’s theory may have broader applications for other places on Earth where surface rocks vary substantially in density. For instance, Braun cites rapidly uplifting mafic domes in a tectonically quiescent corner of the Tibetan Plateau. “These examples show that there is a simple isostatic component that has not been considered many places where you have large variations in rock density,” Braun says.

The next step is to test these theories against low-temperature thermochronology datasets, including apatite fission track and helium dates. These measures provide an estimate of the rate of cooling and uplift for large intrusions, and can be used to validate Braun’s hypothesis. Although the existing data support the idea that dense bodies experience enhanced isostatic rebound, none were collected with this purpose in mind. So next year, Braun and his colleagues will head to the Brandberg, where the granite bulges out of the Namibian desert, to see whether denser rocks really do rise higher.

 By Julia Rosen, freelance writer and PhD student at Oregon State University


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