European Geosciences Union – General Assembly 2014 (Part 2)

23 Apr

A couple of weeks ago we outlined the ways in which we will be participating in the EGU General Assembly taking place in Vienna next week.  On our blog over the next few days we ask a few of the GfGD team who are attending to give us an outline of the sessions that caught their eye and to tell us more about their roles at the event.

photoJane Robb (EGU Educational Fellow / GfGD University Groups Resourcing Officer)

“As I currently work for the EGU as their Educational Fellow, it makes sense that I will be attending their renowned GIFT (Geoscience Information for Teachers) workshop which takes place over a few days of the Assembly. Here, I hope to mingle with teachers from across the world to learn about how they teach and specifically what they teach about the geosciences and what they hope to learn from the workshop. Most of the workshop is closed to non-participants, but the poster session Science in Tomorrow’s Classroom is open to everyone so I recommend having a look. I will also be writing an article about the workshop for the EGU blog, GeoLog, so keep an eye out for this!

I am also convening a session on Geoscience Education for Sustainable Development and Widening Participation, and co-convening a workshop on Innovation in Geoscience and Engineering Education. Here we will hear about lots of different initiatives taking place in schools, universities and research institutes across the world engaging the public, communities and students with geosciences in innovative ways. In addition, I am presenting at the session on School Outreach: A practical guide. I will be discussing some of my top tips for science outreach and reporting on the initiatives I have begun here at the EGU.

For my science fill, I will be attending various sessions on soil science, particularly soil carbon sequestration and partitioning across different soil types. This subject is related to the research I will be doing as part of a PhD starting in October. Some of the sessions that interest me are: Geochemical processes and C sequestration in peatlands and organic soils, carbon sequestration in agricultural soils and processes at the weathering front and reactivity of soil minerals. I hope to come away with some exciting information from these sessions, not only for me but I have also been asked to write an article on current research for the EGU newsletter, GeoQ.

As I am on the Executive Committee of GfGD, I will also be attending the GfGD splinter meeting. Last, but not least, I will be attending several closed sessions of the EGU committees, where I will be presenting a final report on the work I have been doing here at the EGU! If I have any spare time, I will try to look into a few other sessions on topics such as Geoethics, Geohazards and Geoheritage.”

Jane will be tweeting throughout the event (@JLizRob). The conference hashtag is #EGU2014.

GfGD Committee Updates

21 Apr


Joel Gill, GfGD Founder and Director, writes about recent additions and updates to the GfGD Executive Committee

Over the past few weeks we’ve been adding to and reshaping our Executive Committee, a group of excellent individuals who work with myself to coordinate our range of projects and development. Each member of the committee is in full-time education or work, and as such gives up a lot of their free time to make our work happen. I am delighted to have a team demonstrating such enthusiasm and personal commitment to international development and the fight against global poverty.

Ellie Murtagh (GfGD Secretary) has responsibility for administration, including our newsletter.

Rosalie Tostevin (Programme Officer – Himalayas) is responsible for the work that we are doing on hazards education in Ladakh. She is coordinating production of resources, related placements and the legacy of the work.

Donald John MacAllister (Programme Officer – Factsheets) is responsible for our project, funded by the Geologists’ Association Curry Fund, to develop geoscience factsheets for use by NGOs.

Siobhan Whadcoat (Training and Development Officer) has joined the committee to take responsibility for developing a series of courses and workshops for geoscience students that will strengthen their ability to contribute to international development.

Helen Lacey (Placements Officer) has joined the committee to take responsibility for developing more placements for students and recent graduates, giving individuals a preliminary understanding of the development sector. Keep an eye on our placements webpage for the latest opportunities and reports from previous ones.

Jane Robb (University Group Resourcing Officer) will be rejoining the committee to take responsibility for supporting our university group network by developing resources, training materials and possible group activities.


We currently have a couple of vacancies on our team for the roles of:

‘Communications Officer’ – Responsible for coordinating our key communications (including social media, promotional leaflets, posters and other outputs!). If you’re good with words, have an eye for detail and maybe enjoy a bit of design work we would love to hear from you. You’ll likely need to encourage, recruit and manage other volunteers – learning the art of delegation but also taking overall responsibility for the work of your team – giving great leadership experience.

‘University Groups Support Officer’ – Responsible for pastoral support of, and advising, the University Group Ambassadors, development of new groups and promotion of our work within the academic system.

If you are interested in finding out more about these roles - please get in contact via our website.

Friday Photo (124) – Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

18 Apr


Pacaya Lava Flow

Tourists and guides ignore the official closing of the National Park around Pacaya Volcano to visit the lava flow that originated that afternoon.

Credit: Joel Gill, 2014

External Conference Opportunities

16 Apr

A number of interesting and relevant external conferences have come to our attention this week. If you’re interested in water and sanitation/hydrogeology or disaster risk reduction then these may be of interest to you!

**Hydrogeology and WASH Conference – What can hydrogeologists contribute to safe water supply and poverty reduction?**

When: Thursday 5th June 2014
Where: Geological Society of London, Burlington House, London, UK
Cost: £10 for students

Summary: Groundwater plays a key role in the provision of reliable water supplies in many less-developed regions of the world. Due to its complexity, a detailed understanding of the groundwater environment is often required to ensure that resources are exploited in a safe, sustainable and cost-effective way. This one day meeting aims to promote links and discussion between experts from the groundwater community and those actively involved in the delivery of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering) projects.

Sponsorship: We’re very pleased to be able to offer one student the opportunity to have the cost of their ticket covered as well as £30 to put towards travel/food. Send 100 words outlining why you would like this opportunity, together with your contact details and university/course by 5pm on Friday 18th April. The winning student will be contacted via email shortly afterwards, and will be expected to write a couple of articles for the GfGD blog about the conference sessions.

If you were inspired by the Guest Blog on Monday and would like to know more about working in water and sanitation – linking hydrogeology to development – this is a great opportunity to network and find out more.

**UCL IRDR Annual Conference**

When: Wednesday 18th June 2014
Where: University College London, London, UK
Cost: Free

Summary: A day of thought-provoking discussions, talks by experts and presentations of the latest research in risk and disaster reduction, aimed at researchers and practitioners, NGOs and City professionals, and the interested public.

**ODI Event – ‘Everybody wins – Bridging the Gap Between Scientific and Local Communities’**

When: Tuesday 6th May 2014 (3-5pm)
Where: Overseas Development Institute, London, UK
Cost: Free (also streamed online)

Summary: The world of science and technology has a lot to offer those affected by or responding to the risk of disasters. But producing and using knowledge about disaster risk is far from a straightforward process. At-risk people and communities, humanitarian and development agencies and those with formal scientific and technological training are all producers and users of disaster risk knowledge – but with different ideas about what is useful or important information. The challenge is in bringing together this wealth of local and scientific knowledge to enable communities to become more resilient in the face of disasters. One crucial way of promoting dialogue and supporting decision making processes are participatory games and exercises. This event will comprise debate, games and workshop demonstrations.

**Understanding Risk – Producing Actionable Information**

When: Monday 30th June 2014 – Friday 4th July
Where: Excel Centre, UK
Cost: Free


Understanding Risk (UR) is an open and global community of experts and practitioners in the field of disaster risk assessment. UR community members include representatives of government agencies, the private sector, multilateral organizations, nongovernmental organizations, community-based organizations, research institutions, and academiaEvery two years, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) convenes the UR Forum—a five-day event designed to showcase best practices and the latest technical advances in disaster risk assessment. The Forums provide organizations with the opportunity to highlight new activities and initiatives, build new partnerships, and foster advances in the field. Previous events have been held in Washington D.C and Cape Town, attended by 500 experts from more than 80 countries. The third biennial Forum will be held in London from June 30 – July 4, 2014, organized in partnership with UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy. It is expected that more than 800 people will attend the event. The current programme can be found online here.


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