First time at an EGU General Assembly? We got you covered!

First time at an EGU General Assembly? We got you covered!

Europe’s biggest geoscience conference, EGU24, is only one month away! Each year, the EGU General Assembly brings together over 17,000 researchers, scientists, academics and journalists to discuss and share the latest developments in planetary exploration, Earth observation, polar science, climate change, natural hazards, and much more. And it is held at the Austria Centre Vienna (ACV) which is big enough to confuse even the most directionally gifted of us!

If this is your first time attending the EGU General Assembly, we would like to make your experience less overwhelming and more fulfilling, so you can make the most of our exciting science. So read on for a quick first timers guide on how to plan for your conference week.


Choose the best registration for you.

There are many kinds of registration you can pick – including virtual and on-site options. The full list is available here on the EGU24 website. If you are attending on-site and you book your registration before the close of the Early Bird cut-off on 18 March, your name badge will also be mailed out to you ahead of the meeting – saving you time (and queues) when you arrive!


Set up your profile to help you make connections at the meeting

Your personal profile on the EGU24 website is like your digital business card at the meeting. It makes it easier for people to connect with you before, during and after the General Assembly! This is also the place that you can choose your stickers that will be displayed on your name badge (remember to check this before 18 March if you want your name badge mailed out to you). You can highlight that you are a first time attendee, or if you are looking for work, as well as your Division and EGU journal affiliations! Your pronouns will be added to your name badge automatically, but adding your pronouns to your profile is also a good idea.


Book your travel and stay NOW

Vienna is a hub for conferences and tourism alike, and EGU24 alone is expected to bring in up to 18,000 participants to the city! This means fierce competition for accommodation and travel, so we recommend booking right away if you haven’t already done so.

If you are able to, EGU always recommends travelling by train to the conference. The international rail network across Europe is fast and regular, and a beautiful journey, especially the closer you get to Vienna. Check the ÖBB website for information (or use third party websites like to discover information about connecting travel across countries). Our favourite way to travel is to use the NightJet lines and the EuroNight lines, which are a series of sleeper trains that allow you to travel overnight. The network is constantly expanding, but places book up fast, so check now to see if there is still any availability on your route.

For those travelling by plane to the conference, a top tip is to look for flights to Bratislava. The Slovakian capital is only 80 km away from Vienna and well connected via bus, train and even boat! Bratislava airport is served by a good selection of low-cost airlines and it’s often cheaper to fly there than directly to Vienna. A bus ticket between the two cities can cost as little as five euro (if booked well in advance) with the average for a return train trip being around 14 euro. If that’s not enough to persuade you, it’s worth factoring in a little time to discover the city. It’s a warren of quaint little streets, an imposing castle and good, affordable beer and food.


Last chance to sign up to EGU’s mentoring programme!

Don’t just limit your conference experience to attending presentations and mingling within your own circle. EGU24 offers the perfect opportunity to broaden your professional network – whether on-site or virtually. If social media is your thing, the #EGU24 conference hashtag is a great way to stay current with the meeting as well as connect with others to find out about their work.

We also strongly recommend signing up to be a mentee with EGU’s Mentoring Program. This unique program supports first-time conference attendees (mentees) by pairing them with experienced mentors. Register here before 18 March.


Download the EGU24 app

The EGU24 General Assembly mobile app will be available two weeks prior to the General Assembly. Check the EGU24 website for release information. For first time attendees, the app can be a great pocket guide to browse and search the meeting programme, select presentations to add to your own personal programme, and find out more about the General Assembly on Twitter.

Another good source of information at the General Assembly is the daily digital newsletter EGU Today, which highlights sessions and events at the meeting each day of the week. Issues are available online on the General Assembly website and through the conference app during the meeting, so keep an eye out and subscribe now to not miss a thing!


Check the schedule, but don’t overload yourself

Each day of the EGU General Assembly begins at 08:30 and ends at 20:00 and is organised in time blocks (TBs) with a number of breaks. Here’s an overview of what each day will look like:

Time block (TB) Time (CEST)
TB1 08:30–10:15
AM Coffee break 10:15–10:45
TB2 10:45–12:30
Lunch 12:30–14:00
TB3 14:00–15:45
PM Coffee break 15:45–16:15
TB4 16:15–18:00
Networking 18:00–19:00
Medal & Award lectures, evening events 19:00 & onward


Each time block further comprises a number of presentations, which – needless to say – can be quite tiring to sit through an entire day. It would be wise to shortlist sessions of your interest and plan to attend them accordingly through the week. More information about the meeting format is available here.Don’t forget to take regular breaks to keep stress levels at bay – whether attending on-site or virtually. Try a 5 minute coffee meditation or 5 min yoga stretch at your desk, and feel free to recommend to a friend!


Explore beautiful Vienna

The city’s public transport is exceptionally well planned and connected, so do your best to explore some of Vienna during the conference week. Staying along the U1 underground (U-bahn) line ensures quick and easy access to all the main tourist spots and the conference centre, but don’t fret if your accommodation is already booked elsewhere – you’ll be able to get around the city fairly easily either way. Vienna has plenty to offer, from picturesque parks and gardens, through to impressive architecture and a plethora of museums. A good starting point is Wien Info where you’ll find tips on how to enjoy the city to the full, without breaking the bank. The site has information about arts and culture events, free wifi spots, the best places to go for a bite to eat or a drink, as well as a selection of affordable sport options too. And here you’ll find information on the Vienna City Card to get around during the week.


So there you have it! A beginners guide to help you make the most of your first General Assembly experience. Stay tuned for further conference updates which will be shared regularly via the EGU blog and on social media (Twitter (X), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Mastodon).

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Hazel Gibson is Head of Communications at the European Geosciences Union. She is responsible for the management of the Union's social media presence and the EGU blogs, where she writes regularly for the EGU's official blog, GeoLog. She has a PhD in Geoscience Communication and Cognition from the University of Plymouth in the UK. Hazel tweets @iamhazelgibson.

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