What to expect from vEGU21: virtual General Assembly

What to expect from vEGU21: virtual General Assembly

This year, once again, the EGU General Assembly (GA) will be completely online. The 2021 GA will include all components of an in-presence EGU GA, such as sharing scientific content, connecting with your peers, making new contacts, attending short courses, etc. With the virtual GA looming in one week, it’s time for all attendees to finish (or start..) their scientific contributions and figure out how to make the most out of the event. In today’s blog post, GD Early Career Scientists (ECS) representative Anna Gülcher will guide you through the most important concepts of #vEGU21: Gather Online, including relevant events for the GD division and for early-career scientists in particular.


Concept of vEGU21: Gather Online

vEGU21 is a completely virtual alternative to the physical GA, which has several advantages. Online conferences can not only contribute to reducing science’s carbon footprint, but they also increase accessibility and inclusion by removing barriers, e.g. for participants who do not have the financial security of booking a week’s travel to Vienna. While the in-person EGU General Assemblies have always had the strength of networking (through coffee breaks, icebreaker events, dinners with colleagues, karaoke nights, etc.), personal contacts are unfortunately reduced in the digital alternative. Yet, vEGU21: Gather Online aims to provide as many opportunities for connecting as possible. Upon entry into the virtual conference hall (see Figure), there are multiple types of events you may come across; a summary is given below.


Entrance into the virtual conference centre. From the #vEGU21 Youtube video “Welcome to the Virtual Conference Centre”


  • Scientific sessions:  all scientific sessions at vEGU21 will be run in the virtual PICO (vPICO) format. Each 1.5-hour-long vPICO session can be divided into two parts: (1) an overview of all contributions via live 2-minute promotion talks, followed by (2) breakout chats where each presentation will have its own live text chat for questions and discussions. During this second part, the central video channel will remain open for further group discussion hosted by the conveners. Attendees will be able to simultaneously participate in the central video chat and as many of the live text chats as they wish. For details, check the webpage “All you need to know about the vEGU21 scientific sessions” or the Youtube video “Welcome to the Virtual Conference Centre”.
  • Union symposia (USs) and Great Debates (GDBs) are union-wide events intended to be cutting-edge, current, and of interest to a broad range of space and geosciences. USs and GDBs will take place as webinars and will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Questions will be asked through a central chat, and speakers will answer orally. Check for US and GDB (“browse by session”) on EGU’s programme website!
  • Short courses (SC) focus on skills/abilities that are related to science and research, or aim to provide training in skills needed by people working in the sciences. Please browse the programme for SCs.
  • Townhall meetings (TM) allow participants to take part in a lot of open discussions. This year’s meeting covers a huge variety of topics, have a look for TM on the programme.
  • Medal and Award Lectures (MAL): each year, a number of scientists receive EGU awards for their scientific contributions and will give keynote lectures about their awarded work.
  • The Jobs and Careers and Exhibition corners provide various means for you to learn more about career opportunities (inside and outside academia) and to even get in touch with potential employers. You can find more information here.
  • Division meetings: Each scientific division of the EGU will organise an official meeting. Make sure not to miss the latest updates from the division(s) you are affiliated with!
  • Networking events (NET) are perhaps one of the most important events of the GA. There will be the opportunity to network with peers in various forms. For example, “Pop-up” stands will allow for spontaneous meet-ups. Moreover, each division of EGU will organize at least one networking event, have a look below:


Geodynamics networking events

The Geodynamics (GD) division will host two networking events throughout the virtual GA. These events will give participants the opportunity to learn more about the division, and to meet and connect with colleagues from all over the world! Mark the following times in your calendar:


This event is particularly aimed at early-career scientists (see definition) in the Geodynamics division to connect with each other. The idea is to provide an informal platform to meet new people in your field and to learn more about the Geodynamics division and its activities. As the event is scheduled very early on in the conference, it is also the perfect opportunity to gather tips and tricks on how to make the most of the virtual GA. You can join simply by the Zoom link that will be provided in the programme 15 minutes before the start of the event. Grab yourself a coffee/lunch, and we hope to see you there!


Scientists from all career stages are encouraged to join this apero hour in a virtual “Vienna café” to chat with colleagues and make new connections. It is also the perfect opportunity to promote any upcoming session you are involved with! This networking event will be organized via a different online platform a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations (just as in real life) with your own “avatar”. You do not need any prior experience with (but for those eager: check out online resources such as gather101 and gather102). The best tip we found: You can make your Avatar dance by pressing “Z” on your keyboard (oh, and use a Google Chrome or Firefox browser). Upon entry into the virtual space, head over to the “Lounge” and join your peers for a fun time! Grab yourself a drink, and we hope to see you there!


This year, instead of meeting in the Bermuda Bräu in Vienna, we have prepared our own digital alternative. Join us on April 26th for our own “Vienna café”. All you need is a computer, a drink, and a good mood. Need some inspiration for your drink? Check our the beer cafe’s menu for local specialities!


Conference highlights

Below you will find a list of interesting and GD-specific events of the vEGU21. Note that this is just a small list of possible activities, so keep your eyes and ears open for additional events and spread the word if you know anything of particular interest. Also make sure you follow the GD Blog and our social media (GD Facebook page and GD Twitter), to stay updated during the conference!

The official GD hashtag for vEGU21 is #vEGU21_GD. If you tag the GD twitter (@EGU_GD) in your tweet, your content will be shared!

Week 1 (19-23 April) 

During the first week of the GA, most Union-wide sessions and short courses will be held. Highlights include (times are displayed in CEST time):

Week 2 (26-30 April) 

The second week of the GA contains all the scientific sessions. There are too many interesting sessions to mention here (so make sure to check out the programme), but other highlights include (times are displayed in CEST time):


Various forms of networking and connecting with other attendees will be possible during the virtual General Assembly. From the #vEGU21 Youtube video “Welcome to the Virtual Conference Centre”


Your participation is needed!

Much like any physical conference, the online GA will be as successful as its participants are willing to make it! Only active participation of attendees will increase the impact of the virtual GA. The more people that participate in the virtual events, the better the scientific and/or social outcome, the more can be learned for future events, and thus the better for our scientific community as a whole.


Useful links

video: How to upload vPICO display materials and comment!
video: Welcome to the Virtual Conference Centre
What’s on at vEGU21 – Jobs and Careers
How to vEGU – Networking (part 2): the pop-up networking scheduler!
How to vEGU – Networking (part 1): your vEGU21 Profile and the conference Networker
How to vEGU – Top 10 tips for promoting good online engagement for conveners
How to vEGU – the EGU Code of Conduct
How to vEGU – uploading display materials, comments and the live presentation slide!
All you need to know about the vEGU scientific sessions
All you need to know about the vEGU21 schedule
All you need to know about displays, commenting & licensing 
Presenter guidelines
EGU Code of conduct
Convener guidelines and rules
First-time convening an EGU session? Some advice from the Early Career Scientists
The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

Anna is a Postdoctoral researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, US. Her research is focused on, but not restricted to, the interior and tectonic processes that shape rocky planets such as Venus and Earth. Anna uses numerical modelling tools to study these processes and strives to integrate her results with observations across the Earth and planetary sciences disciplines. She tweets under @PlanetaryAnna.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Anna,
    This is an excellent introduction to the upcoming vEGU, not only for those who attend EGU for the first time, but anyone attending EGU. This overview saves a lot of time spent on searching around for the right information: it is all here in one document!
    Many thanks!


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