GeoPolicy: Your guide to science for policy at #vEGU21!

GeoPolicy: Your guide to science for policy at #vEGU21!

The EGU General Assembly is the largest geoscience meeting in Europe. It has a wide range of scientific sessions that you can attend to gain a greater understanding about specific topics both within and outside of your research area. Every year there are also numerous non-scientific sessions that can attend to expand your network, diversify your expertise, and develop new skills – including those relating to science for policy!

Even though this year’s General Assembly – #vEGU21 – will be hosted online, you will have all the same opportunities to learn about and engage with science for policy as you would in person… plus more! In fact, #vEGU21 is offering more policy-related sessions than any other EGU General Assembly before it! Even if you’re just a bit curious about science for policy, it’s definitely worth adding a couple of the policy-related sessions outlined below into your #vEGU21 personal programme!


Union-wide sessions

US3: A Climate and Ecological Emergency: Can a pandemic help save us…?

Tuesday 20 April, 15:00–17:00 CEST

In 2020, humanity faced an urgent and deadly challenge, COVID-19. Rapid and dramatic action was largely forthcoming from governments, businesses and individuals. This is a stark contrast to the Climate Emergency that we are also currently facing. It too is an urgent and deadly existential challenge but action against it is mostly too little and too slow. This session will address the lessons that we can learn from the current pandemic and how they can be applied to the ecological and climate crisis.


US1: Integrating geoscience into the European Green Deal

Friday, 23 April, 09:00–11:00 CEST

The European Green Deal, first announced in December 2019, sets ambitious targets, including reaching climate neutrality in Europe by 2050; addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss in Europe; restoring degraded ecosystems; and adopting a zero-pollution action plan for air, water and soils. Achieving these bold targets will require scientific expertise from many different geoscience areas.

This session will provide participants with an introduction to the European Green Deal, highlighting aspects that require geoscience expertise and discussing how scientists can engage with, and effectively support, the Deal’s ambitious targets.


Short Courses

SC3.4: Your Handbook to Science for Policy

Tuesday, 27 Apr, 10:00–11:00 CEST

Almost every policy decision has a scientific component to it. While science alone will never make policy, it can allow policymakers to more accurately assess the benefits and potential consequences of different policy pathways! This session will highlight some of the key messages from the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s recently published ‘Science for Policy Handbook’ including the different types of policy actors and their role in the policymaking process, how you can speak the language that policymakers understand, and finding windows of opportunity.


SC3.5: How to influence policy through engaging with Parliaments

Wednesday, 28 April, 16:00–17:00 CEST

Although researchers are increasingly keen to influence policy and policymaking, for many the mechanisms for engagement and impact seem unclear and inaccessible. This course will demystify policymaking and give researchers the tools to be able to engage with policy through their research. This session will be hosted by individuals who work at the interface of science and policy, drawing from real-life examples and providing plenty of opportunities for attendees to ask questions. 


Scientific sessions

CL3.2.18: Towards a net-zero world: remaining carbon budgets, climate response to different emission pathways, and implications for policy

Thursday, 29 Apr, 15:30–17:00 CEST

Climate change is a global challenge that not only requires greater research and technical solutions, but also people to implement them and facilitate nominative discussions. This session aims to further our understanding of the climate response under different emission scenarios, with particular interest in emission pathways towards net-zero targets.


NH9.11: Risk and Resilience at the Science-Policy-Practice Interface

Friday, 30 Apr, 15:30–17:00 CEST

Despite of advances in our scientific knowledge, disaster losses continue to rise globally, and are expected to further worsen under climate change. Several global frameworks call for greater attention to the interface between science, policy and action to achieve resilience and reduce disaster losses. This session explores these along with innovations in the area of applied sciences for assessing and communicating risk and resilience.


HS1.2.1: Role of hydrology in policy, society and interdisciplinary collaborations: across disciplines and beyond scientists

Monday, 26 Apr, 13:30–15:00 CEST

Liaising with stakeholders, policymakers and society is increasingly acknowledged as important for creating impact and promoting public engagement. This session integrates these aspects by focusing on the science-policy interface in hydrology, interdisciplinary collaborations, and hydrology as practiced within society.


Networking sessions

Science for Policy Meet and Greet

Monday, 26 Apr, 16:00–17:00 CEST

This networking event will introduce you to science-policy professionals and scientists with experience engaging with policy. After a short introduction, attendees will be split into small breakout rooms with the ‘science for policy experts’ to hear their personal experiences and get advice about how best to engage at the science-policy interface.


Science-policy pairing scheme: a panel discussion

Tuesday, 27 April, 16:00 – 16:45 CEST

Each year, the EGU hosts a science-policy pairing scheme to help promote a culture of evidence-informed policymaking and stronger science-policy partnerships. This session will feature presentations from those who have previously participated in the pairing scheme and allow attendees to ask own questions about it and the involvement of science in the policymaking process more generally.


Practice pitching your policy ask to a policymaker

Wednesday, 28 Apr, 17:00–18:00 CEST

Following on from the How to influence policy through engaging with Parliaments Short Course, this networking session will give attendees the opportunity to practice pitching their research findings or policy ask to a policymaker. It will begin with a brief overview of principles of effective communication with policymakers, then attendees will have the opportunity to do a quick pitch of their research findings and policy ask, before receiving constructive feedback from session conveners and other attendees.


Ask an expert: Science for policy meet-ups

As well as science for policy sessions, #vEGU21 is offering members the opportunity to have their questions answered by individuals who are working on the interface of science and policy through 15 minute 1-on-1 meetings throughout the period of the General Assembly (19-30 April). To set up an appointment, please submit your question(s) or topic that you would like to discuss here by April 14.


Please keep in mind, that this isn’t an exhaustive list! There are a lot of other sessions at the EGU that can be either directly or indirectly linked with science for policy. You can find these by using the search bar on the vEGU21 programme and on the special sessions page. This page tags sessions under the categories of policy, diversity, media, early career scientists and public engagement so that GA participants with an interest in these topics can find relevant sessions quickly.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding the EGU General Assembly’s policy activities, feel free to get in touch via or meet me virtually at one of the policy networking sessions listed!

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Chloe Hill is the EGU Policy Manager. In this role, she provides scientists with information and resources that enable them to actively engage in the European policy process. She coordinates several activities that provide policymakers with scientific information and connects them with researchers around Europe. Chloe previously worked for the African EU Energy Partnership, and as a research assistant for the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, the Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities, and Forestry Tasmania. Chloe tweets at @Chl0e_Hill

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