Soil System Sciences

Feels like the first time at the EGU…

After a couple of years of online conferences, Early Career Scientists of the EGU’s Soils System Sciences division share their experiences of this year’s General Assembly which was held in a hybrid format. This week, we hear from Diana Vieira


Diana C. S. Vieira


So, this was it. Our first EGU after the COVID pandemic, and we missed it a lot!

I was fortunate to know how the EGU was before, so to me was quite easy to spot the differences. However, I do have to say that the word “easy“ cannot be used to classify our experiences during the General Assembly week. So, let’s start from the beginning.

Despite the little delay due to the construction work in progress in the VIC metro stop, going up these blue stairs felt the same way as ever. I was extremely satisfied by coming back, and full of enthusiasm to talk with many of you. I even dealt with the bracelet line very well saying to myself “be patient Diana is going to be like this the entire week”.

My small initial exploration corresponded to my expectations, the room space was reduced, the booths were moved or disappeared, and now there was a lot of space to hang out, especially outside. “That’s ok” I thought, less people, less space… or more space between us. Right?

The crucial moment came by attending to my first sessions, and the confirmation appeared after convening an entire day session. It was really hard for the conveners to manage the session with the current format. Struggling with a variable number of skills between presenters, technicians, and ourselves, drained all our energy away and prevented us from making a fruitful discussion too many times in my opinion.

But not all was so stressful. I had the opportunity to engage with many of our Early-Stage Carrer researchers, and it was great! Most of them were attending the EGU for the first time, and they were awesome. After talking with many of them I was really convicted that this new generation will ensure us with a great future. They are deeply motivated, they have strong convictions, and they want to save the world through Soil Sciences.

I still think EGU is one of the most interesting conferences to address multidisciplinary subjects in the Geosciences, and it seems I will only get better from here onward. However, I deeply wish that the next editions will bring us closer from each other and not the other way around.

I hold a 75th Anniversary Research Fellowship as a Soil Scientist at Cranfield University's Soil and Agrifood Institute. I lead both fundamental and applied research, principally focusing on soil formation, and the parent materials from which soil is formed. The basis of this work takes place at the interface between soil and weathered bedrock called saprolite. This zone represents a ‘final frontier’ at the bottom of many soil profiles, and one which is likely to become more critical as soils around the world continue to erode to bedrock. However, I also study soil formation across a wide variety of environmental domains including natural ‘pristine’ ecosystems, agricultural landscapes, and urban spaces.