Meet Marian Holness, EGU’s new Vice President

Meet Marian Holness, EGU’s new Vice President

Congratulations, Marian, on your new role as EGU’s Vice-President! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a petrologist, currently working on problems related to the physical and chemical processes that occur during the solidification of magma. I have been a member of the Department of Earth Sciences, and a fellow of Trinity College, at the University of Cambridge for most of my career.


As the new Vice-President of EGU, what is your vision for the Union’s future, and what specific goals do you hope to achieve during your tenure?

My experience as a member of the collegiate system in Cambridge has shown that many breakthroughs in understanding come from conversations with people outside one’s own field. The wonderful thing about EGU is the enormous range of different disciplines it encompasses, creating an extraordinary opportunity for interactions between scientists from the full range of Earth Sciences at the General Assembly. I would very much like to see us build on this potential for inter-disciplinary research during my tenure.


As Chair of the Awards and Medals Committee, what strategic initiatives do you plan to implement to enhance the prestige and inclusivity of EGU awards?

It is a pretty unusual position to be in, being both Vice-President and also the Awards and Medals Committee Chair! With my ‘Awards and Medals’ hat on, I would like to see a big increase in the number of people nominated. We are currently undergoing discussions with the various awards and medals committees to put in place an expectation that membership of the committee carries with it the duty to encourage colleagues to nominate worthy candidates, with a continued close monitoring of the gender balance of the nominee pool. I am also interested in exploring the idea of inviting awardees to write a short article (perhaps summarizing and putting into perspective the results presented in their medal and award lecture) for publication in an appropriate EGU journal. The profile of such an article could be enhanced by introducing it with a short biography and photograph of the author.


Diversity and inclusion are crucial for the advancement of science. As an EDI committee member, what initiatives or strategies do you envision implementing to ensure EGU is a welcoming and supportive environment for all geoscientists?

One thread of my research involves fieldwork in a remote and rather inhospitable area in East Greenland, where one’s life depends on every member of the team working together and looking after each other: everyone is equally important. This kind of non-hierarchical structure also turns out to be immensely productive in terms of research, giving the junior members the confidence to speak out in discussions, often triggering insights for the other team members. Such lack of hierarchy is the underpinning of a welcoming and supportive environment, and I would therefore build on the excellent work of our wonderful ECS community, encouraging them to undertake initiatives such as the groundbreaking campfire sessions that the GMPV ECSs began during the COVID pandemic.


Thank you so much, Marian, for taking the time to share your vision and goals for EGU. Congratulations once more on your new role, and we look forward to witnessing your tenure as Vice-President unfold!

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Asmae Ourkiya (They/Them) is the Media and Communications Officer at EGU. They manage press releases, coordinate press participation and the press centre at the EGU General Assembly, and write and manage the EGU blogs. Asmae holds a Ph.D. in queer intersectional ecofeminism from MIC, University of Limerick in Ireland. Their research revolves around climate justice, and promotes inclusion and equality in climate governance.

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