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Making the most of the EGU General Assembly 2018 as a Geodynamicist and Early Career Scientist

Making the most of the EGU General Assembly 2018 as a Geodynamicist and Early Career Scientist

Are you still deciding on how to best fill your EGU General Assembly program next week in Vienna? Wondering what is on offer specifically for the Geodynamics (GD) early career community? Our EGU GD Early Career Scientist representative, Adina Pusok (Scripps, UC San Diego), shares some planning tips and event highlights for the big week ahead. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

The EGU General Assembly 2018 (popularly known as EGU2018, or the official hashtag of #EGU18) in Vienna is about to kick off this coming Sunday, and I am sure many geoscientists worldwide are making the last preparations, or even getting the last results in (good luck!). Hopefully, some of you have already had a chance to look on the EGU2018 meeting organizer available (also with a great mobile app) and “star” some of your favourite sessions and events in your personal programme. And probably soon enough, you have also realized that it is not humanly possible to attend everything that you find interesting (unless you are in possession of a time machine to be in multiple places at the same time).

A meeting the size of EGU2018 can be intimidating to most attendees, especially first timers, and being selective becomes a valuable skill. It is a place where you can check out the latest research across a wide range of fields within the geosciences, and within your own area of science. And of course, it is a place to catch up or make new friends and collaborations from all over the world.

Assuming that you’ve already marked in your personal programme your own presentation(s) and scientific sessions of interest, I want to draw your attention to the other side of the conference. The EGU2018 is not just a conference where the latest science is reported, but also one of the best places where you can develop your personal and career skills in a short amount of time. As I’ve written before, Early Career Scientists (ECS) have different needs compared to established scientists. And for that, the EGU2018 schedule comes with a wide range of sessions, short courses, great debates, union wide events, and division social events that complement the scientific agenda of the meeting.

I write this blog post primarily for Geodynamics ECS and first time attendees at the EGU2018 to help them navigate through this “hidden” schedule and make the most out of EGU2018. As an ECS myself, I’ve always liked to explore what every meeting has to offer, and try to learn some new things. So, here are some of my tips and highlights for this year’s EGU2018 meeting schedule:

  1. Short courses – learn a new skill or two in no time

    Learn a scientific skill:
  • Geodynamics 101 (Figure 1) – First short course on numerical geodynamics at the EGU General Assembly! So it’s a must whether you are a geodynamicist, or you just want to understand why all those pretty pictures also make sense scientifically (Wed, afternoon)
  • GPlates – Try this hands-on tutorial with a popular open-source software for plate tectonic reconstructions (Thu, morning) 
  • Seismology for non-seismologists – Learning how to correctly interpret seismic data is an important skill for every solid-earth geodynamicist (Mon, afternoon)

For first time attendees:

  • How to navigate EGU: tips and tricks – Dedicated to first time attendees! If you fit the bill, make sure you wake up early on Monday morning for this introductory short course (Mon, morning) 

Learn to polish these professional skills:

  • Academic presentations – Having last minute nerves about your presentation? Get some tips and tricks to ace that talk! (Mon, afternoon)
  • How to convene a session at EGU’s General Assembly – Convening a session is regarded as an important duty in the scientific community that also gets you a free ticket to the conveners’ party on the Friday evening (Tue, afternoon)
  • How do you peer-review? – Something that nobody during your graduate studies will actually tell you, but you’re expected to know how to do.
  • Applying for Marie Sklodowska-Curie grants – Info session on the highly competitive individual fellowships that are definitely worth applying for, and are aimed at Early Career Scientists (Wed, lunch) 
  • ERC grants – More funding opportunities from the European Research Council (ERC) at all career levels (Thu, evening) 

Explore outside your bubble:

  • Academia is not the only route – Are you finishing your degree and not overly excited by an academic future? Try this short course on exploring career alternatives both inside and outside academia (Thu, afternoon) 
  • Unconscious bias – Become aware of the obstacles that some of your colleagues face every day, and that might prevent them from doing the best science (Tue, morning)

Learn how new technology can help your research:

  • Writing reproducible science – You know you’ve complained at least once that it’s difficult to reproduce the results of a certain paper. Now you can learn ways to improve the conduction and dissemination of your work! (Thu, afternoon)
  • Learning git – This is a life-saver skill that every scientist should have! No more n-versions of your theses, manuscripts or projects (Wed, morning)

Fun skills:

  1. Great debates – teams argue opposite views on a particular topic. Let’s see some science-worthy arguments there!

Don’t worry if you cannot (really) make it to the great debates. You can follow and join in the debates using the web-streaming service.

  1. Awards events – Come and celebrate the work of distinguished scientists! Tip: Medal lectures are particularly interesting across all geosciences fields! This year’s medal lectures specific to the GD division are:
  1. More events and sessions dedicated to professional and career development:
  • EarthArXiv – A general introduction to preprints and the new pre-print server for Earth Sciences, a concept that has been very successful across science disciplines (Mon, evening)
  • Industry career opportunities for early career scientists – The title is clear enough of what you can expect here: how to transition from academia to industry (Mon, evening) 
  • Promoting and supporting equality of opportunities in geosciences – If you care to promote an open, equal opportunities working environment (and you should!), this session promises some very interesting talks and posters on some common issues, solutions and initiatives (posters – Tue, morning, orals – Wed, afternoon) 
  • Meet the chief executive editor of Solid Earth – Thinking of submitting your next manuscript to an EGU journal, such as the Solid Earth? Learn tips and how the publishing process works by meeting the editor–in-chief of the journal (Mon, afternoon)
  • Games for Geoscience – Because it’s always more fun to work and play (orals and posters – Wed, afternoon) 
  1. Other ECS events – Get active and involved into the EGU ECS community with these events:
  • Meet the EGU ECS Representatives and EGU Communications Officer (Roelof Rietbroek, Stephanie Zihms, and Olivia Trani) – These are the people representing ECS at the union level and will be happy to chat with you about your EGU experience, or future plans for the ECS community! (Wed, afternoon)
  • EGU ECS Forum – Open-discussion session for all ECS. Lunch provided! (Thu, lunch)
  • Imaggeo photo competition – Announcing the winners of the photo competition. High-quality photos guaranteed! (Fri, lunch)
  1. Union wide events – Great events to network with medalists or other scientists over some food and drinks! Do not miss them!
  • Opening reception – Sun, 18:30–21:00
  • EGU Award Ceremony – Wed, 17:30–20:00
  • ECS Networking and Careers Reception – Mon, 19:00–20:30
  1. Geodynamics and ECS events
  • ECS GD informal lunch* – Meet in front of the conference center (look for “GD” stickers), to head to the food court in Kagran (2 subway stops away from the conference center). Looking forward to meeting many ECS and come up with more exciting projects for GD! (Note: this blog started taking shape at the ECS GD lunch last year) (Tue, 12:00-13:30)
  • ECS GD dinner* – Join us for a friendly dinner with fellow ECS Geodynamicists at Wieden Bräu – Waaggasse 5, 1040 Wien! (Wed, 19:30-22:00) If you would like to attend the ECS GD dinner on Wednesday, please fill out this form to keep track on the number of people: https://goo.gl/forms/v42iDyGHB0MvoBz13
  • GD/TS drinks* – No worries if you cannot make for the ECS GD dinner! We will continue with joint TS/GD drinks in Bermuda Bräu – Rabensteig 6, 1010 Wien! (Wed, after ECS GD dinner)
  • GD Division meeting – The division president, Paul Tackley, will show the latest updates regarding the GD division and will present the OSPP award winner from last year. Lunch provided! (Fri, lunch)

*All events are organized by the EGU GD ECS representative, and are open to GD division members and friends.

Just by writing this post, I’ve realized how many interesting events are going to happen next week! Hope you will be creative with your conference schedule and try some of these “hidden” events! Make sure you follow the EGU Blogs and social media, and the division specific events so that you make the most of your attendance at EGU General Assembly 2018. For GD division related news stay tuned for important updates on the EGU GD Facebook page and blog in the coming days. I wish you a great and productive EGU2018 week!

Grace is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED) at the University of Oslo, Norway. She works on linking plate tectonic reconstructions and mantle structure, especially in the Arctic and Pacific regions. Grace is part of the GD blog team as an Editor. You can reach Grace via email.

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