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Being a mentor at the General Assembly

Being a mentor at the General Assembly

With more than 15,000 participants, 4,700 oral presentations, 11,000 posters and 1,400 PICO presentations, the EGU General Assembly can be an overwhelming experience for any scientist, whether it’s your first time or 10th time attending. However, you can make conference networking a bit easier by signing up for the EGU 2019 Mentoring Programme!

This mentoring scheme aims to facilitate new connections that may lead to long-term professional relationships within the Earth, planetary and space science communities.

Mentees are matched with a scientist who has attended the General Assembly at least two times (mentor). Through this programme, mentees can receive insight on how to navigate the conference, network with conference attendees, and exchange feedback on professional activities and career development.

On the other hand, there are several benefits of being a mentor, including getting to expand your network, trade ideas and share your experience with novice conference attendees, students, and early career scientists.

We’ve asked a few former General Assembly mentors to talk about their experience with the programme and share their highlights. If these interviews inspire you to get involved with our mentoring programme, you can learn more about this initiative, and how to register, here. The deadline to sign up is 31 January 2019.


Stefan Haun, researcher at the Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Stefan Haun’s personal highlight of the programme was his mentee’s motivation to learn and discuss new things every time they met.

What motivated you to take part in this programme as be a mentor?

I remembered my first time in Vienna, with so many impressions, a tough schedule for the week in my pocket and finally I almost missed the important things, such as making new contacts and friends. So I wanted to take the opportunity to get in contact with young people, who are for the first time at the General Assembly and to talk with them about possibilities, not only regarding the conference but also regarding their career and share with them my experiences.

What were some of the highlights of your experience as a mentor?

I have to say right from the start my mentee, Prima, was for the first time at the General Assembly in Vienna. She told me also that this was her first large conference and that she was very excited about it. We met a couple of times during the General Assembly and discussed several topics regarding science, networking and of course also on how to navigate through the Assembly. But my personal highlight was her motivation to learn and discuss new things every time we met.

Did you learn something or benefit from being a mentor in this programme? If so, what?

It was nice to meet Prima, a young and very ambitious person. During the year, there is a lot of workload on our desks and sometimes we almost forget about how exciting research is. And suddenly you meet such a young researcher and this motivates you again and you are reminded what a great job we have.


Nilay Dogulu, PhD candidate at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

“It will be my third time as a mentor. I really enjoy this experience as it also helps widen my knowledge and insights personally,” says Nilay Dogulu.

What motivated you to take part in this programme as a mentor?

Encouragement and guidance are highly essential to academic learning and development of early career scientists (ECS). Even though the value of these is recognized, opportunities offered to ECS remain limited in many places. Being an ECS can be emotionally challenging due to lack of such opportunities on top of extreme pace of learning as well as high levels of uncertainty about the future. Conferences give ECS the opportunity to interact with their colleagues, including peers. However, it usually takes courage to go beyond our limits and explore new insights. Then a little push to make things easier becomes inevitable. Especially if it is the first time attending a very big conference.

The EGU Mentoring Programme at the General Assembly is a beautiful example of how simple actions can lead to yet effective results for many ECS. I decided to take part in it (first as a mentee, then as a mentor) because I was aware of the lack of opportunities in my university and wanted to help other ECS who can benefit from that little push in the best way. It is all about learning, regardless of age, position, experience, nationality, gender. Being open to learning is a wonderful trait, and the EGU Mentoring Programme gives just the perfect opportunity to support this.

What were some of the highlights of your experience as a mentor?

It is amazing how the algorithm that works behind for matching the mentors and mentees. The matches I was involved with so far were just to the point.

Sometimes mentees can feel unconfident and tend to maintain the distance that arise due to differences (age, position, etc.), eventually making them hesitant to actively participate in the mentor-mentee interaction. I see this as a great loss of opportunity. There is no point in choosing to be alone. A small conversation can spark unexpected yet fruitful ideas having the potential to shape our mindset and bringing in new perspectives!

Did you learn something or benefit from being a mentor in this programme? If so, what?

Learning is the most precious experience. Senior scientists, early career scientists… it doesn’t matter how big the difference between is. EGU attendees are all very friendly and happy to support ECS in their learning journey for one week every spring in Vienna.

I look forward to participating in EGU Mentoring Programme for EGU 2019! It will be my third time as a mentor. I really enjoy this experience as it also helps widen my knowledge and insights personally.

Interviews by Olivia Trani, EGU Communications Officer

What’s new for the 2019 General Assembly?

What’s new for the 2019 General Assembly?

Along with our conference organisers, Copernicus, we aim to improve the experience of General Assembly attendees with each passing year. Over the last few months we’ve introduced some changes that we hope will make the 2019 edition of our meeting even better! This post highlights the new rules for submitting an abstract and some changes that returning participants will notice at next year’s conference.

Abstract submission rules

An ever-growing number of participants means making sure that all participants at the EGU annual General Assembly are able to present their work in a comfortable manner in the years to come. One of the measures adopted to ensure all presentations (orals, posters and PICOs) find a place is the introduction of the one-abstract rule.

Authors are allowed as first author to submit either one regular abstract plus one abstract solicited by a convener, or two solicited abstracts. A second regular abstract can be submitted to the Educational and Outreach Sessions (EOS) programme group (maximum number of abstracts, including solicited abstracts, remains two). Possible submissions for first authors are: 1 regular + 1 solicited abstract; or 2 solicited abstracts; or 1 regular or solicited abstract + 1 EOSabstract (regular or solicited). Note that authors will need to provide a transaction number (TAN) when submitting their additional solicited abstract. This TAN has to be provided by the convener. Participants can be co-authors on additional abstracts in which they are not first author.

Another change for the EGU General Assembly 2019 is that only 2019 EGU members will be able to submit an abstract as first authors (co-authors are not required to have a membership). You can become a member or renew your membership online on the EGU website (www.egu.eu/membership/) or while registering for the General Assembly. Students receive a 50% discount in their EGU membership rates, and all EGU members benefit from substantially reduced registration rates to the meeting, amongst other benefits. More information on these new abstract submission rules are available on EGU’s call-for-abstracts announcement.

The new changes to the conference programme schedule will provide a more comfortable meeting experience for all! (Credit: EGU/Keri McNamara)

Conference programme schedule

The scheduling of the conference programme will also see some changes at the upcoming General Assembly. The new schedule features posters, orals and PICOs throughout the day, uses time blocks of 105 minutes, and includes a dedicated networking slot. Note that posters and orals of the same session will not be scheduled at the same time. This schedule change will allow us to fit more oral presentations in the meeting, give more viewing time for posters and PICOs, and provide a more comfortable meeting experience for all. A dedicated networking slot will give attendees additional time to discuss and interact with colleagues, to view posters and to visit the exhibition.

As in the past, each day of the EGU General Assembly in 2019 will begin at 08:30 and end at 20:00, will be organised in time blocks (TBs), and have a number of breaks. However, most TBs will now be 15 minutes longer and will feature all presentations types, as follows:

  • 08:30–10:15 TB1: Posters, orals, PICOs
  • 10:15–10:45 Coffee break
  • 10:45–12:30 TB2: Posters, orals, PICOs
  • 12:30–14:00 Lunch break
  • 14:00–15:45 TB3: Posters, orals, PICOs
  • 15:45–16:15 Coffee break
  • 16:15–18:00 TB4: Posters, orals, PICOs
  • 18:00–19:00 TB5: Networking, meet EGU, exhibition, and extra poster viewing
  • 19:00–20:00 TB6: Townhalls, some medal lectures, some short courses, special events

More information and a detailed time schedule are in the EGU news item.

Offset your travel carbon footprint when registering

Finally, we are taking steps to make the General Assembly greener. Last year we implemented a number of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the meeting, including giving participants the opportunity to offset the CO2 emissions resulting from their travel to and from Vienna. People who used this option while registering contributed to a project to reduce deforestation in Brazil. As a result of this initiative we raised nearly €17,000 for the carbon offsetting scheme!

In 2019, conference registrants will be able to donate to one of three different carbon-offset projects by choosing the carbon-offsetting option when registering to the meeting. The money collected from you will then be forwarded to carbonfootprint.com to be invested in your selected project:

1) Wayang Windu Phase 2 Geothermal Power Project
Type: Geothermal
Location: Indonesia, Asia

2) Borehole Rehabilitation Project in Uganda
Type: Clean Drinking Water
Location: Uganda, Africa

3) Efficient Cookstove Programme
Type: Household Cookstoves
Location: Kenya, Africa

We’re striving to add further measures for 2019, so stay tuned to the EGU blog and website for further details on new green initiatives. We look forward to seeing you in Vienna!

EGU 2019 will take place from 07 to 12 April 2019 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2019 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU19 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.

Mentoring programme at EGU 2019

Mentoring programme at EGU 2019

With more than 15,000 participants, 4,700 oral presentations, 11,000 posters and 1,400 PICO presentations, all under one roof, the EGU General Assembly can be an overwhelming experience. There is a network of corridors to navigate, as well as a wide range of workshops, splinter and townhall meetings to choose from. With that in mind, we’ve put in place some initiatives to make the experience of those joining us in Vienna for the 1st time a rewarding one.

Especially designed with novice conference attendees, students, and early career scientists in mind, our mentoring programme aims to facilitate new connections that may lead to long-term professional relationships within the Earth, planetary and space science communities. Mentees are matched with a senior scientist (mentor) to help them navigate the conference, network with conference attendees, and exchange feedback and ideas on professional activities and career development.

The EGU will match mentors and mentees prior to the conference, and is also organising meeting opportunities for those taking part in the mentoring programme.

In addition, mentoring pairs are encouraged to meet regularly throughout the week, and again at the end of the week, to make the most of the experience, as well as introduce each other to 3 to 5 fellow colleagues to facilitate the growth of each other’s network.

“Mentoring is an indispensable requirement for growth. Through the mentoring programme I was introduced to Dr Niels Hovius who was a generous mentor during EGU’17. His guidance during the conference enabled my interactions with prominent scientists and to navigate the conference to my maximum potential. I am grateful for this programme and hope it be fruitful for students in this coming year.”

Rheane da Silva (National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India), mentee

Mentoring an EGU novice student was the highlight of my 2017 General Assembly week. To see our elaborate and overwhelmingly large meeting through the eyes of a rookie makes you actively aware of many aspects that you have always taken for granted. To see the excitement in the eyes of a rookie when you take them deep into our organization and show them paths they had not expected to be open to them makes you appreciate all the General Assembly has to offer.

Niels Hovius (GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany), mentor

We anticipate the programme to be a rewarding experience for both mentees and mentors, so we encourage you to sign up by following the link to a short registration form. The details given in the questionnaire will enable us to match suitable pairs of mentors and mentees. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2019.

You’ll find more details about the mentoring programme (including the requirements of the scheme) over on our website.

EGU 2019 will take place from 7 to 12 April 2019 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2019 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU19 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.

Try something different at EGU 2019– choose a PICO session!

Try something different at EGU 2019– choose a PICO session!

Some of the sessions scheduled for the upcoming EGU General Assembly are PICO only sessions. This means that, rather than being oral or poster format, they involve Presenting Interactive COntent (PICO). The aim of these presentations is to highlight the essence of a particular research area – just enough to get the audience excited about a topic without overloading them with information.

What’s great about this format is that it combines the best of oral and poster presentations. It allows researchers to stand up and be recognised for great research while giving an oral contribution as well as discussing their work in detail and networking with other participants.

PICO sessions start with a series of 2-minute long presentations – one from each author. They can be a Power Point, a movie, an animation, or simply a PDF showing your research on a display. After the 2 minute talks, the audience can explore each presentation on touch screens, where authors are also available to answer questions and discuss their research in more detail.

Presenting a PICO for the first time can be daunting, so we’ve prepared a guide which talks you through the format step-by-step. It’s packed with practical tips on the best layout for your PICO, how to capture the audience’s attention in just two minutes and how to get the most out of the discussion at the interactive screen.

And don’t forget, as of the 2016 General Assembly, PICO presentations are part of the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards. To be considered for the OSPP award, you must be the first author and personally present the PICO at the conference:

  • being a current undergraduate (e.g., BSc) or postgraduate (e.g., MSc, PhD) student;
  • being a recent undergraduate or postgraduate student (conferral of degree after 1 January of the year preceding the conference) who are presenting their thesis work.

Entering couldn’t be easier! Make sure you nominate yourself when you submit your abstract on-line. You’ll receive a letter, known as ‘Letter of Schedule’, confirming your presentation has been accepted, which will also include a link by which to register for the award. Before the conference, make sure you include the OSPP label (which you can find here) to your PICO presentation header so that the judges of the OSPP award now to evaluate your presentation.

To learn more about PICO presentations see the General Assembly website or download the How to make a PICO guide. For a first-hand account of what it’s like to take part in a PICO session, take a look at this post by early career scientists in the Seismology Division too. Finally, you can also check out the short introductory video below:

EGU 2019 will take place from 7 to 12 April 2019 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2019 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU19 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.