The Outstanding Student Poster (OSP) Awards at EGU 2015

The Outstanding Student Poster (OSP) Awards at EGU 2015

Every year at the General Assembly hundreds of students present their research at the conference with a lot of time and effort going into preparing these presentations. With the aim to further improve the overall quality of poster presentations and more importantly, to encourage young scientists to present their work in the form of a poster, the OSP Awards were born. The OSP awards are presented at the level of the EGU Programme Groups with this year seeing an improved way of signing up for the award and also judging of the posters.

Submitting your abstract and applying taking part in the OSP

This year saw 1,374 participants of the General Assembly expressing an interest in taking part in the OSP contest upon submitting their abstract. Provided the applicant meet the criteria to take part in the contest and was allocated a poster presentation, a link to sign up to the contest was included in the Letter of Schedule. In case of more than one poster presentation as a first author, students are asked to decide which poster should participate in the OSP contest via a new online interface.

Recruiting of judges for the OSP started at this time too, with all abstract submitters to the conference being asked to indicate whether they wanted to serve as an OSP judge in their field of expertise.

Judging and selecting the winning posters

The most important thing to remember if you are participating in the contest is to attach your OSP label to your poster, which clearly indicates to the judges they should visit your poster!

Each Programme Group appoints an OSP Award co-ordinator. Through a new OSP online system, the co-ordinators can see the list of all OSP applicants, as well as how many judges have signed up. Co-ordinators may also approach session conveners and co-conveners to nominate more judges if not enough have signed up. To avoid conflicts of interest, judges should not be involved in the work or supervision of the student. The OSP coordinator checks before the meeting that enough judges have been assigned to each participating poster and may nominate additional judges if necessary.

Poster presentations at the 2014 General Assembly.

Poster presentations at the 2014 General Assembly.

All poster judges have access to the OSP judge dashboard in the OSP online system. Through this they are able to see all abstracts assigned to them and can access judging forms (which can be submitted electronically or printed out as PDFs).

The judges will evaluate the posters at the General Assembly. Each judge is expected to speak to the students during the poster session because this guarantees some extra attendance for the student, and because the student’s ability to describe and defend his/her work is part of the OSP evaluation criteria. The judges are asked to work confidentially. The judges then fill in the evaluation forms which focus on a number of criteria: from scientific quality of the poster presentation, the poster design and the student’s ability to answer questions with marks from 0 to 10.

After the General Assembly, the average marks are compiled automatically by the system: a ranking based on the ratings of the judges is made. The top posters of this ranking will get the award. The number of awards in each Programme Group should depend on the quality and the number of participating posters in that year. In general, the number of awards should be small to keep the contest competitive and the award a particular distinction. The Programme Group Chair / Division President finally decide on the awards based on the ranking, not later than two months after the General Assembly.

What happens if I win?

Each awardee is notified by the EGU OSP coordinator. Awardees are asked to submit a short statement on affiliation and research interests (2-3 sentences), a portrait and a pdf of their poster to the EGU Executive Office. The information is published in the EGU Newsletter and on the EGU OSP award web-site where the awardees also get the opportunity to publish their poster. The awardees receive a conference fee waiver for the next EGU General Assembly and are invited to submit a paper free of publication costs to one of the EGU journals. At the respective division meeting held at the next General Assembly, each awardee receives an award certificate.


The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 12 to 17 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website. 

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Laura Roberts Artal is the Outreach and Dissemination Manager at The Water Innovation Hub (University of Sheffield). Laura also volunteers as the Associate Director of Communications for Geology for Global Development. She has also held a role in industry as Marketing Manager for PDS Ava (part of PDS Group). Laura was the Communications Officer at the European Geosciences Union from the summer of 2014 to the end of 2017. Laura is a geologist by training and holds a PhD in palaeomagnetism from the University of Liverpool. She tweets at @LauRob85.


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