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EGU 2017: How to make the most of your time at the General Assembly without breaking the bank

EGU 2017: How to make the most of your time at the General Assembly without breaking the bank

Attending a conference is not cheap, even if you’ve been lucky enough to secure some funds to help with travel, accommodation and/or registration costs. However, with a little insider knowledge from those who’ve attended the General Assembly many times before, it is possible to have a (scientifically) rewarding week in Vienna, without breaking the bank.

Before you get there

A sure way to save a few cents (or pennies) is to book your accommodation and travel early. With over 13,000 participants at the conference last year, the race for places to stay and transport to get to Vienna is fierce. Booking early will not only mean you have more choice of places to stay and times to travel, but will ensure you get the most competitive prices too.

For those travelling by plane to the conference, a top tip is to look for flights to Bratislava. The Slovakian capital is only 80km away from Vienna and well connected via bus, train and even boat! Bratislava airport is served by a good selection of low cost airlines and it’s often cheaper to fly there than directly to Vienna. A bus ticket between the two cities can cost as little as one Euro (if booked well in advance) with the average for a return train trip being around 14 euro. If that’s not enough to persuade you, it’s worth factoring in a little time to discover the city. It’s a warren of quaint little streets, an imposing castle and good, affordable beer and food.

Bratislava Old Town. Credit: Xlibber (distributed via Wikimedia Commons)

If you’d rather head straight to Vienna, booking your arrival and departure for the day(s) before and after the conference can result in considerable savings. And, if you’re ok with longer journeys, you might consider the train or the bus, which are often more affordable too.

Somewhere to stay

Sharing accommodation is an easy way to keep costs down. If you are travelling with colleagues consider sharing with them. If you are traveling on your own, or unable to share with colleagues, reach out to contacts you made in the past, be it a former undergrad friend, or someone you met during a workshop. They may not be in your immediate field anymore, but it might offer added bonuses like the option to reconnect and forge new links.

Hotels can be expensive. Hostels offer an affordable alternative and are bound to be packed with fellow EGU goers. Alternatively, look for beds, rooms and/or apartments via Couchsurfing, AirBnB or similar services.

A week of eating out can take its toll, both on the purse strings and on the waistline! Opt for accommodation options which have kitchenettes or full kitchens. You’ll be able to prepare some meals at your home from home, saving a little cash. Plus, you might even have enough space to entertain old friends and potential new collaborators!

Exploring Vienna

If you need a breather from all the science (and the ECS Lounge isn’t enough), or you have a few days before or after the conference to discover the Austrian capital, keep in mind that the city’s public transport is excellent. Staying outside of the city centre guarantees cheaper accommodation prices, but staying along the U1 underground (ubahn) line ensure quick and easy access to all the main tourist spots and the conference centre to boot!

If you’d rather opt for a more energetic option, then the city’s bike rental scheme might be just the ticket. You need to register for the scheme before you can use the bikes, but with 120 stations across the city, and a 4 hour rental costing 4 Euros, this an environmentally friendly and cheap option definitely worth considering.

Vienna has plenty to offer, from beautiful parks and gardens, through to impressive architecture and a plethora of museums (and sachertorte, of course). Visit Wien Null for a great selection of tips on how to enjoy the city to the full, without breaking the bank. The site has information about arts and culture events, free wifi spots, the best places to go for a bite to eat or a drink, as well as a selection of affordable sport options too.

Vienna Cathedral. Credit: Domeckopol (distributed via pixabay.com)

You should also stay tuned to the blog on the final day of the conference. Our team of press assistants put together a blog post highlighting what’s on in Vienna over the weekend. So if you plan to extend your trip to after the conference, you’ll certainly be able to pick up some pointers. Let last year’s post serve as a starting point.

Finding funding

If your research budget won’t stretch to financing a trip to the General Assembly, don’t despair, there are a number of options you can consider. Though it might be a little late to apply for these for the upcoming conference, keep them in mind for the 2018 edition instead.

Submit your abstract to the conference between October and December and you can apply for financial support to travel to the General Assembly (from the EGU). Grants are competitive, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try- if you want to apply, make sure you follow the criteria carefully, as the evaluation is based on how well you satisfy them. You can also consider participating in the EGU’s OSPP Awards, Imaggeo Photo Contest and Communicate your Science Video Competition (submissions for the 2017 editions of all contests are now closed). Not only will it give your CV a boost if you win, it’ll ensure free registration to the following year’s conference.

Many institutions also offer travel support, especially if you are presenting. Seek advice from your advisor and/or the graduate school (if your institute has one) to learn more about what funds are available. Also, find out if your institute/university is a member of Research Professional, which includes a database of all funding options available, no matter how small, including travel grants.

Similarly, there might be schemes available at the national level, be it from funding bodies or directly from the government. They often fall under the ‘short research stay’ category.

Learned societies, e.g. Institute for Civil Engineering, Institution of Engineering & Technology, often have pots of money set aside to support travel to conferences. They sometimes require you to have been a member for a set amount of time before you can apply for support, but there are many benefits to joining, so it’s a worthy investment.

For more tips and tricks, particularly if you’ve never been to the conference before, don’t forget to check our First Timer’s Guide. While we hope this post goes some way toward making the conference an affordable experience, it is by no means comprehensive.Help us make it better by sharing your suggestions on how to make the most of the General Assembly and Vienna, we’d love to hear from you. Add them in the comments section below and we’ll include them in a similar post in 2018.

By Laura Roberts Artal, EGU Communications Officer, & the EGU’s Early Career Representatives

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 23 to 28 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website.

A first-timer’s guide to the 2017 General Assembly

A first-timer’s guide to the 2017 General Assembly

Will this be your first time at an EGU General Assembly? With 13,650 participants in a massive venue, the conference can be a confusing and, at times, overwhelming place.

To help you find your way, we have compiled an introductory handbook filled with history, presentation pointers, travel tips and a few facts about Vienna and its surroundings. Download your copy of the EGU General Assembly guide here!

Imaggeo on Mondays: Don’t miss the abstract deadline

Imaggeo on Mondays: Don’t miss the abstract deadline

The EGU General Assembly brings together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting that covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The conference is taking place in Vienna on 23–28 April 2017, providing an opportunity for both established scientists and early career researchers to present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of the geosciences.

You can get a feel for the great geoscience that will be discussed at the meeting by browsing through the EGU 2017 sessions. Clicking on ‘please select’ allows you to search for sessions by Programme Group. You’ll then be able to view the sessions in more detail and submit an abstract to its relevant session. The deadline for abstract submission is 11 January 2017, 13:00 CET. That’s only two days away!

Also, remember that you can benefit from early registration for the conference until 31 March 2017. Register online on the Registration section of the General Assembly website. Note that EGU members benefit from reduced member rates; to become a member, or renew your EGU membership, go to www.egu.eu/membership/.

The full meeting programme will be made available on 2 March 2017.

For more information about the General Assembly, please see the EGU 2017 website.

Note on hotel reservations
Please note that the congress ECCIMD2017 (10,000 participants) will take place in Vienna at the same time as the EGU2017. In addition, the Vienna City Marathon (40,000 participants) will take place on Sunday, resulting in many hotels being fully booked the night before. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking accommodation as soon as possible.

Try something different – choose a PICO session at EGU 2017!

Try something different – choose a PICO session at EGU 2017!

Some of the sessions scheduled for the upcoming EGU General Assembly are PICO only sessions. This means that, rather than being oral or poster format, they involve Presenting Interactive COntent (PICO). The aim of these presentations is to highlight the essence of a particular research area – just enough to get the audience excited about a topic without overloading them with information.

What’s great about this format is that it combines the best of oral and poster presentations.  It allows researchers to stand up and be recognised for great research while giving an oral contribution as well as discussing their work in detail and networking with other participants.

PICO sessions start with a series of 2 minute long presentations – one from each author. They can be a Power Point, a movie, an animation, or simply a PDF showing your research on a display. After the 2 minute talks, the audience can explore each presentation on touch screens, where authors are also available to answer questions and discuss their research in more detail.

Presenting a PICO for the first time can be daunting, so we’ve prepared a guide which talks you through the format step-by-step. It’s packed with practical tips on the best layout for your PICO, how to capture the audience’s attention in just two minutes and how to get the most out of the discussion at the interactive screen.

And don’t forget, as of the 2016 General Assembly, PICO presentations are part of the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards. To be considered for the OSPP award, you must be the first author and personally present the PICO at the conference:

  • being a current undergraduate (e.g., BSc) or postgraduate (e.g., MSc, PhD) student;
  • being a recent undergraduate or postgraduate student (conferral of degree after 1 January of the year preceding the conference) who are presenting their thesis work.

Entering couldn’t be easier! Make sure you nominate yourself when you submit your abstract on-line. You’ll receive a letter, known as ‘Letter of Schedule’, confirming your presentation has been accepted, which will also include a link by which to register for the award. Before the conference, make sure you include the OSPP label (which you can find here) to your PICO presentation header so that the judges of the OSPP award now to evaluate your presentation.

To learn more about PICO presentations see the General Assembly website or download the How to make a PICO guide. For a first-hand account of what it’s like to take part in a PICO session, take a look at this post by early career scientists in the Seismology Division too.  Finally, you can also check out the short introductory video below:

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