Apply now to take part in the 2016 GIFT workshop!

Apply now to take part in the 2016 GIFT workshop!

The General Assembly is not only for researchers but for teachers and educators with an interest in the geosciences also. Every year the Geosciences Information For Teachers (GIFT) is organised by the EGU Committee on Education to bring first class science closer to primary and high school teachers. The topic of the 2016 edition of GIFT is ‘The Solar System and beyond’. This year’s workshop is co-organised with the European Space Agency (ESA) and will be taking place on 18–20 April 2016 at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, Austria.

The workshop will explore the major characteristics of the Solar System with the latest information gathered from recent space exploration using man-made satellites, and will also look into the latest theories on the formation of the Solar System. Special attention will be paid to the Moon and to Mars. Results from the ESA Rosetta Mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will also feature in the 2016 GIFT workshop.

Teachers from Europe and around the world can apply to participate in the 2016 edition of GIFT, and to receive a travel and accommodation stipend to attend the workshop, by November 30. Application information is available for download in PDF format, a document which also includes the preliminary programme of the workshop.

Not sure what to expect? More information about GIFT workshops can be found in the GIFT section of the EGU website. You can also take a look at a blog post about the 2015 workshop and also learn what the workshop is like from a teacher’s perspective here. You might also find videos of the 2013 workshop useful too.

Introducing the EGU Executive Office

With so many thinking the EGU’s activities are restricted to the organisation and running of the General Assembly, we thought we’d share a behind-the-scenes peek at the team who works year-round to promote the Earth, ocean and planetary sciences and the work of the members of the Union.

The EGU Office Team. From left to right: Philippe, Sarah, Bárbara, Robert, Laura, Christine and Leslie. Skye, in the front, is the energetic EGU office dog. (Credit: Bárbara Ferreira/EGU).

The EGU Office Team. From left to right: Philippe, Sarah, Bárbara, Robert, Laura, Christine and Leslie. Skye, in the front, is the energetic EGU office dog. (Credit: Bárbara Ferreira/EGU).

At the EGU Executive Office in Munich, Germany, you’ll find the Union’s headquarters. With a team of six employees, which grows to seven when a Union Fellow is appointed, the office runs the day-to-day activities of the EGU. We work year-round on assisting the EGU membership, running media and communications activities and the various EGU-related websites, among other activities. In these, we work in close collaboration with Copernicus, our publisher and conference organiser, and with the EGU Council and the various committees.

EGU Executive Secretary Philippe Courtial manages the office. With eight committees, the Union Council and the Executive board, it is also Philippe’s job to liaise between them all and assist them in their activities. Additionally, Philippe champions the work of the EGU and its members amongst our partner associations and by promoting the Union at conferences worldwide.

Robert Barsch is the Union’s Webmaster and System Administrator. He develops and maintains the EGU’s websites, including Imaggeo and the EGU Blogs, while at the same time taking care of the office’s IT needs. Christine Leidel is in charge of the EGU’s bookkeeping and handling travel expenses, while Leslie Todd provides administrative assistance, organises the Union’s business meetings and handles all membership issues. Leslie is also in charge of maintaining the all-important office coffee and biscuit supplies!

Keeping EGU members and other geoscientists, journalists and the broader public abreast of developments throughout the year falls to the EGU Communications Team. Overall coordination of these activities is the job of EGU Media and Communications Manager Bárbara Ferreira. Bárbara produces the EGU news items and press releases, the EGU’s monthly newsletter, and she also takes on the role of press officer at the annual General Assembly. Barbara is assisted by EGU Communications Officer Laura Roberts, who is in charge of the EGU’s online presence, including social media channels and the blogs. Additionally, she is the point of contact in the office for the Union’s early career scientist (ECS) membership.

The newest member of the EGU Office Team is Sarah Connors, the EGU Science Policy Fellow, who joined us in September this year. Sarah will be working to implement science-policy related activities for EGU scientists. You can learn more about Sarah’s role in this blog post.

To learn more about the EGU’s year-round activities why not visit our website? You’ll be able to find out more about some of our media and communications projects here. Our early career members can find information regarding jobs, career prospects, what’s on for the ECS community at the General Assembly, and much more on our dedicated ECS website.

A guide to convening a session at the General Assembly – Part II

A guide to convening a session at the General Assembly – Part II

Convening a session at a conference can seem daunting, especially if you are an early career research and a first-time convener. That’s why we’ve put together this two part series to outline the main steps of the process, with more detailed instructions to be published on the 2016 EGU General Assembly in due course. Remember, the call for sessions is open until 18 September 2015!

This post picks up where the first post of the series left off. We’ve tackled how to successfully propose a session; but what happens once your sessions is included in the programme? What does being a convener actually involve? Read on to find out!

My session proposal has been accepted, now what?

The first thing to know is that once you take on the role of being a session convener or co-convener, you aren’t on your own. Our conference organisers, Copernicus, provide full support to those who take on this exciting task. You’ll receive reminders about major deadlines and milestones, such as when you need to rate financial (travel) support applications, and help to meet them via dedicated, easy-to-use online tools.

At a glance, as a convener, you have the following duties (there is a little more detail on each one further down):

  • Advertise your sessions to attract abstracts
  • Rate financial support applications
  • Organise your session in terms of the schedule
  • Allocate presentation types on the basis of the abstract submissions
  • Select chair persons to run the session

Advertising is everything

Spreading the word about your sessions is crucial to attracting abstracts. (Image modified from: Social Media Communication, distributed via Wikimedia Commons).

Spreading the word about your sessions is crucial to attracting abstracts. (Image modified from: Social Media Communication, distributed via Wikimedia Commons).

This year, the call for abstracts will open in late October and close in January. During this period it is important that you advertise your session within your community to attract people to submit abstracts. You can do this by reaching out to colleagues, collaborators and the wider contacts within your community. And don’t forget the power of social media! Advertise your session on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to reach people outside of your tight network. It may also boost interest to invite a limited number of solicited presentations: you can find some best-practice guidelines here.

Allocating financial support

Early career scientists and established researchers from low and middle income countries who wish to present their work at the EGU General Assembly are able to apply for financial support at the time of abstract submission. This year’s deadline is December 1st. After then, it is the conveners’ job to rate the applications on the basis of the quality of the science being presented. The Programme Committee (PC) then uses this raking to allocate the funds amongst the applicants. For a detailed description of this process, see the financial support pages on the EGU website.

Organising your session

Once all abstracts are in – the deadline for submission of abstracts is 13 January 2016 – it’s time to organise your session! Depending on the number of abstracts your session received, it will be accepted with oral blocks, accepted as poster-only session, or you might be asked to merge with another session and transfer the submitted abstracts to this merged session. In this latter case, you may become a co-convener in the newly created session. You’ll also have to review all the abstracts submitted to your session and decide whether to accept them, reject them or direct them to another more suitable session

Once the content of your session is finalised, you’ll get the opportunity to make your scheduling request. This means thinking about the expected audience size, and back-to-back and no-overlap requests with other sessions. Keep in mind that the PC will do its best to meet requests, but that this is not always possible due to the complications associated with building a huge conference programme!

By mid-February the PC has finalised the conference programme and conveners have one final job left: organise the details of sessions in terms of presentation types. Using the abstracts, you’ll have to choose which are to be allocated an oral presentation slot vs. a poster presentation. You’ll also have to define the length of each talk and make sure that you’ve chosen at least two abstracts from early career scientists for oral presentations. Make sure you’ve highlighted any invited speakers as ‘solicited’ in the programme and order the presentations using the online tool. Finally, be sure to select two chairs per oral block and per poster block.

A Union-wide session at the 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

A Union-wide session at the 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

Final tips and pointers

Armed now with an outline of how to put together a winning session and details of your roles and responsibilities as a convener, why not give it a go? You’ve got until the 18th September to submit a session proposal!

As final encouragement, we spoke to some early career scientist who’d convened sessions previously. Here are some of their top tips and what they had to say about the experience:

“Don’t be afraid to give it a go! Get at least one person in your team who has convened before, even if it is someone who is not that active in all organising activities. It is good to have someone who can offer advice at all stages.” Anne Pluymakers (Tectonics and Structural Geology Division ECS Representative)

Sam Illingworth, Lecturer in Science Communication and former PC ECS Representative, shares some advice on actually running the session: “Remember to arrive to your session at least 20 minutes early, to check on the tech and upload all of the presentations. Also, if there is a no show then don’t panic. Either prepare a back-up presentation that you have, or host an extended Q&A where you discuss the talks that you have heard so far and/or a prominent issue in the field.”  Also, be prepared for the dreaded moment when the audience haven’t got any questions for the speaker: “always come up with a back-up question to ask the speaker, in case there are no other questions forthcoming in the Q&A,” says Sam.

Sam’s final top tip is one we couldn’t agree more with, after having invested a lot of time and effort in organising a session, make sure you enjoy it!

Join the EGU Blog Network!

Join the EGU Blog Network!

After announcing earlier this week that we are sadly saying goodbye to the EGU network blog Between a Rock and Hard Place, the time has come to find a new blog to take their place. 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 palaeontology (Green Tea and Velociraptors), international development (Geology for Global Development), geochemistry (GeoSphere), atmospheric sciences (Polluting the Internet), and more! Initially, we are looking to fill the gap left in the network by Between a Rock and Hard Place, which covered broad themes within volcanology and petrology. But, with so much great geoscience out there, we’d love to receive blog proposals from more fields within the Earth, planetary and space sciences we don’t yet feature on the network. This also means we may not limit the addition to the EGU network to one blog; if there is more than one strong candidate we’ll consider expanding the network further.

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+) 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 An Atom’s-Eye View of the Planet, 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 11th September.

Join the EGU Network blogs . Credit: ClkerFreeVectorImages (distributed via  pixabay)

Join the EGU Network blogs . Credit: ClkerFreeVectorImages (distributed via pixabay)

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!


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