GeoPolicy: Hazards, climate impacts, resources – Supporting science-based policy at EGU16

GeoPolicy: Hazards, climate impacts, resources – Supporting science-based policy at EGU16

As researchers, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to extend the limits of our scientific knowledge, but how much of our new findings can be translated into policies, and what are the best practices for doing this? A multitude of science-policy-related sessions are scheduled at this year’s general assembly (GA), spanning most of the EGU divisions. This month’s GeoPolicy post highlights a selection of #EGU16 policy-related sessions to help your understanding of the science-policy process. NB: A more comprehensive session list can be found here.


Union Wide Sessions

Union wide sessions are open to all conference participants and have general appeal. The Short Course (SC) entitled ‘Working at the science policy interface’  (SC52, Thursday, 12:15-13:15) is the only session at the GA to focus purely on how scientific research is used to assist the policy process. This session consists of three speakers who will discuss their experiences of science-policy: Katja Rosenbohm (Head of Communications at the European Environment Agency); Panos Panagos (Research Scientist in the Land Resource Management Unit at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre); and Valérie Masson-Delmotte (Head of the IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 / Laboratoire des sciences du climat et l’environnement).

Some Town Hall Meetings (TM – discussion sessions with a regular timeslot at 19:00-20:00) have particular policy-relevance this year. The first is ‘The Science of Climate Change Communication: Engaging the Public, Policymakers, and Journalists’ (TM6, Monday, Room G2), which aims to ‘introduce major insights, trends, and recommendations from social science research on effective climate change communication’ to the public and policymakers. The speakers are Alan Graubard (Oxford University Press), Matthew C. Nisbet (Northeastern University), and Mike Schäfer (University of Zurich). The other TM of policy-relevance is ‘Soil contributions to the UN-sustainable development goals (SDG)’  (TM3, Thursday, Room G2). This session, hosted by Johan Bouma (Wageningen University, the Netherlands), will discuss how the soil science community can collaboratively contribute to achieving the SDGs. This session is well worth attending to learn more about one of the UN’s premier initiatives between now and 2030.


The Austria Center Vienna by night during the EGU 2015 General Assembly (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

The Austria Center Vienna by night during the EGU 2015 General Assembly (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)


Division Sessions

It is often observed that policy-relevant research requires inter-collaborations between different scientific areas. As a result, some of the ‘division’ sessions listed below appear quite trans-disciplinary, and may appeal to participants from outside their traditional research backgrounds.

Energy Resources & the Environment (ERE)

Hydrological Sciences (HS)

Natural Hazards (NH)

Soil System Sciences (SSS)


In addition to this blog post there is a more comprehensive list of the policy-relevant sessions at EGU16 available here.

To find more sessions of interest search the online programme on the EGU website. If you’re a first-timer at EGU then this guide will tell you everything you need to know!

Edit: This post was edited to reflect a change in speakers in the ‘Working at the Science Policy Interface’ session.

Sarah Connors is Science Officer in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 Technical Support Unit (and former EGU Science Policy Officer). Her PhD thesis was in atmospheric chemistry where she researched into UK methane emissions. Sarah tweets at @connorsSL.

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