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At the Assembly 2019: Tuesday Highlights

At the Assembly 2019: Tuesday Highlights

Welcome back to the second day of the 2019 General Assembly! Today is packed full of excellent sessions, and this list of highlights is by no means comprehensive! Make sure you complement this information with EGU Today, the General Assembly newsletter, to get the most out of the conference, available online.

Union-wide sessions

Today’s Union-wide session celebrates 30 years of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (US5). This session will highlight the need for, and illustrate exciting advances in the translation of atmospheric composition research to support services. The event will also articulate the needs for advances in observing systems, models and a better understanding of fundamental processes. Join the discussions at 10:45–12:15 and at 14:00–15:30 in Room E1 or catch the conference live stream.

Great debates

Today’s Great Debate cover Plan S, an initiative organised by a coalition of research funders that demands for research supported by participating funders to published in Open Access journals by January 1, 2020. In this debate, Plan-S: Should scientific publishers be forced to go Open Access?, representatives from subscription-based and Open Access publishers, architects of Plan S, and researchers affected by it will address questions surrounding the implementation of the plan and its consequences. Join in the debate from 16:15–18:00 in Room E1. You can follow the session on Twitter with #EGU19GDB, and, if you’re not attending, tune in with the conference live stream.

Scientific sessions

The day is full of fantastic scientific sessions, from understanding ice-sheet and climate interactions to biogeomorphology and ecohydrology. Below are just some of the sessions worth checking out today:

The day also has many inter- and transdisciplinary sessions to choose from. The session Urban Ecohydrology: from building greening to future cities focuses on according urban ecohydrological problems and approaches to solve them spanning from technical to nature-based solutions in different time and spatial scales from the building to the whole city. The session The Third Pole Environment (TPE) under Global Changes is dedicated to research on the atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere of the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain regions, known as the Third Pole, and their interactions with global change.

Don’t forget to take a quick tea/coffee break while at the assembly (Credit: EGU/Foto Pfluegl)

Short courses

If you want to hone your transferable skills and dedicate a bit of time to developing your career, then today’s short courses are for you. Here’s just a sample of what’s on offer:

Medal lectures

Today is also a big day for Medal Lectures, there are 17 taking place throughout the day covering various areas of the geosciences. Make sure you check the programme so that you don’t miss them. The Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture by Jean Braun (MAL2/GD/GM/TS: 12:45–13:45 / Room E1) is being streamed live.

Townhall meetings

There is also a treat of Townhall Meetings on this evening. These meetings allow for a lot more open discussion than many of the Assembly’s other sessions and take place outside the usual time blocks. Here are some of the highlights:

Evening events

During time block 5 (18:00–19:00) today, be sure to stop by the EGU Booth for the Diversity & Equality Reception, hosted by the newly established EGU Working Group on Diversity and Equality

The Early Career Scientist (ECS) Networking & Careers Reception aims to bring together ECS, award-winning researchers, EGU Council members, and selected industry partners (Credit: EGU/Keri McNamara)

Additionally, geophysicist Xavier Le Pichon from the Collège de France will be giving a Stand-Alone Lecture titled ‘Pangea and lower mantle: Are we entering into a new paradigm? From Plate Tectonics to Global Tectonics‘ tonight from 19:00 to 20:00 in Room E1.

Also on offer today is a screening of the award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean (19:00-21:00 in Room E2). At the event you’ll have the chance to learn about the impacts of plastic pollution around the world, what action we can take to stop plastics entering our natural world and pose your questions to the film’s producer, Jo Ruxton, at the end of film.

Early career scientists

If you’re an early career scientist (ECS), this year’s conference has more than ever on offer for the ECS community, and today is a bumper day, packed full of ECS-related activities. Meet the EGU ECS Representatives and EGU Communications Officer (Stephanie Zihms, Raffaele Albano, and Olivia Trani) at the EGU Booth from 10:45–11:30, to find out more about the Union and how to get involved.

The Networking and ECS Zone will be holding a drop-in session on Pride@EGU and how to be an ally

Additionally, the EGU’s Early Career Scientists Networking & Careers Reception is a great chance to network and meet established scientists who can offer advice on anything from how to prepare a research grant to how to balance your research and personal life. The event runs from 19:00-20:30 in Room F2 with light snacks and drinks served when you arrive! The reception is now fully booked, but keep an eye on our social media channels for chances to take part in the reception.

Finally, remember to take the opportunity to meet your Division’s representatives at the EGU Booth in today’s Meet EGU sessions. Have a lovely day!

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

Accessibility at the General Assembly 2019

Accessibility at the General Assembly 2019

In just a couple of weeks, thousands of geoscience professionals from around the world will convene in Vienna, Austria to take part in the EGU General Assembly, the largest geoscience conference in Europe! It’s important to the EGU that scientists are able to attend and enjoy this annual meeting to the fullest. Here are a few of the ways EGU’s annual meeting strives to accommodate our diverse community of geoscientists:

Navigating the convention centre

The EGU General Assembly is held in the Austria Center Vienna, which is fully accessible by wheelchair. If you would like to learn more about attending the General Assembly in a wheelchair, Robin Wilson from the University of Southampton shared his experience at EGU 2016 in this blog post. While a few things have changed since then, the majority of Robin’s report still holds.

Poster halls have chairs available for people to sit down if needed and steps to help presenters hang up their posters. Additionally, each PICO Spot has a lower screen available for increased accessibility. Presentation rooms won’t be equipped with red laser pointers, as some people struggle to distinguish the laser dot from bright screens. Instead we encourage participants to highlight features from their slides using the screen’s cursor, which is more accommodating to everyone’s needs. On rooms with multiple screens, the screen’s cursor is also the only way to point to a feature on all screens simultaneously. In the 12 smaller rooms that have no lecterns, green laser pointers will be available for use instead.

Making room

The EGU child care facility at the General Assembly 2017. Childcare services at EGU 2019 will be for ages 3–11. (Photo credit: EGU / Kai Boggild)

This year a number of rooms will be available during the General Assembly to ensure that participants can enjoy the conference activities, while still being able to take care of their personal needs.

Assembly attendees with young children can take advantage of our free child care facilities, which expanded this year to accommodate more people, at the basement level of the centre (book in advance). EGU’s childcare service is now fully booked, but for children younger than 3 years or older than 11 years, you can get in touch with the Kinderbüro Universität Wien GmbH to make arrangements in Vienna. Please note that this may incur separate costs that are not borne by the conference.

This year a breastfeeding room located on the ground floor will also be available to participants.

EGU 2019 participants can find space for rest, relaxation or meditation in the four quiet rooms available at the basement level, as well as use the two multi-faith prayer rooms, separated by gender, on the ground floor.

Accessible Vienna

Vienna has been praised by many for being one of the most accessible cities in Europe. Over the last 20 years, the city has been working towards becoming “barrier-free,” implementing many initiatives with accessibility in mind. For example, the city has replaced much of their cobblestones with flat, smooth surfaces and ramped kerbs. Most trains, trams and buses also feature low floors and step-free boarding options. Additionally, almost all stations are accessible by ramp or elevator and have “guiding strips” for visually-impaired visitors. You can go to the Vienna Tourist Board website to find accommodating hotels, specialised tour guides, recommended sights and services, and other information on the city’s accessibility.

Most trains, trams and buses in Vienna feature low floors and step-free boarding options. Additionally, almost all stations are accessible by ramp or elevator and have guiding strips for visually-impaired visitors (Photo credit: AndyLeungHK via Pixabay

Participants are encouraged to give the EGU suggestions for how we can continue to improve the EGU meeting’s accessibility. You can give us general feedback when answering the 2019 General Assembly feedback survey and send more specific recommendations to the EGU Programme Committee chair.

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

Do’s and don’ts for attending your first General Assembly

Do’s and don’ts for attending your first General Assembly

The prospect of attending a large international conference during your PhD can be really daunting, especially if you’re only in your second year and in the early stages of data collection. That’s why I hadn’t planned on going to one until my third year. But thanks to winning some travel funds, this time last year I was preparing to attend the EGU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, a scary but exciting opportunity that I am so glad I took.

I received lots of great advice before I went, but also found out things when I was there that I wish I had known in advance. So here is my list of do’s and dont’s for attending your first General Assembly.

DO
Go on fieldtrips and events.

In 2018 the EGU Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology (GMPV) Division organised a pre-conference fieldtrip to the Bohemian Massif in Austria, specifically targeted towards early career researchers. Not being the type to pass up a chance to get into the field, I signed up right away. This was a great opportunity to get to meet new people, and not long after we bundled into minibuses and started driving into the Austrian countryside we were chatting away pleasantly.

Making friends before the conference means that you have a big group of friendly faces that you know when you’re at the conference, a vital crutch when giving presentations!

There was also a GMPV mid-conference social event, involving what else but tango lessons! Even though I didn’t get up and dance myself, it was a fun and interesting event and another good way to meet other researchers.

To find out about such events you can look for pre/post conference workshops in the session programme, keep an eye on the division social media accounts, and make use of the resources available for early career researchers both before and at the conference itself.

Excellent example of domino boudinage on show near Spitz, during the pre-conference fieldtrip on “Deformation in the lower crust”. (Credit: Stacy Phillips)

DON’T
Be scared to talk to people at their posters.

It still takes a little time for me to stop feeling anxious and go up to people at their posters, especially if they’re eminent researchers. One way to calm the nerves is to find a poster you are interested in that already has someone there and tag along in their discussion. This gives you a little time to read the poster and decide if you want to ask a question. You could also just ask a presenter standing by their poster to give you a run-through of their work. Build up your confidence and you’ll be talking to the big-shots in no time!

DO
Sign up for the mentoring programme.

The hardest people to meet at the General Assembly are the well-established researchers in your field, but the EGU Mentoring Programme is a great way to get to those people. You are typically assigned to a mid-career researcher in your area, and you are encouraged to meet up with them at least at the Sunday Ice Breaker event and Monday morning planning meeting, if not continually throughout the week. I signed up for this and found it very helpful. Through my mentor I was introduced to lots of other people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Although we saw each other a number of times during the week as we were attending the same talks, I didn’t take full advantage of my mentor and I wish I had. So, sign up and chat to your mentor often! The deadline to register for the programme is 31 January.

DO
Plan what you want to go see.

The General Assembly mobile app is an essential scheduling tool. It’s really easy to use and it allows you to create your own personal programme by ‘starring’ events of interest. I also found it very helpful to have the list of abstracts on hand and see what presentations are coming up next when sitting in on a session. I highly recommend downloading it and sorting out your plan of attack in advance! EGU will be releasing the General Assembly mobile app closer to the conference, so stay tuned!

DON’T
Try and be in multiple places at once.

One disadvantage of creating your own programme through the app is that you end up ‘starring’ several talks only to then find out that you can’t see them all! If you plan to chop and change rooms, leaving one session to see a different talk and then coming back, it’s very possible those two rooms will be at opposite ends of the venue. And the conference centre is HUGE! Travel time between rooms should not be underestimated (hence why venue staff can be seen zipping about on scooters!). Also, given that it’s likely one of those sessions will be running a little ahead of time or late, chances are you won’t make all the talks you want to attend. Keep it simple and try to stay in one room at a time, or at least sit near the door and give yourself a couple of talks leeway so you don’t miss out on the science!

That feeling when you realise you’ve missed the talk you ran across the conference centre for… (Part of a water fountain in central Vienna). (Credit: Stacy Phillips)

DO
Go to something you wouldn’t normally go to.

If you find yourself with some spare time, you can use the General Assembly app to see what sessions and talks are happening at that moment. Go listen to a talk in a completely separate field; you’ll learn something new and see how different people give presentations! Get involved in something that you haven’t tried before. You could wander from a talk on metamorphic petrology, to a poster on the strength of oil-bearing reservoir rocks, to a geoscience-themed games night! The General Assembly has it all!

DON’T
Spend all your time at the conference centre.

A consistent piece of advice I received was to not spend the entire week at the conference centre. There will be days or mornings where there will be nothing relevant to you. So, take the chance to explore the wonderful city of Vienna! Go on a walking tour, experience an authentic Viennese coffee house, or visit one of the many museums. Then when you return to the conference you will be refreshed and ready to absorb more of the latest science EGU has to offer. And you’ll have a handy conversation starter! If you really can’t tear yourself away from the science though, go grab some food from the small supermarket at the venue and at least have lunch in the park!

EGU attendees get reduced admission to Vienna Museum of Natural History, although we didn’t have time to make it out of the fossil and mineral section! Here’s a fabulous sample of kyanite, my favourite mineral! (Credit: Stacy Phillips)

DO
Make use of social media.

If social media is your thing, the #EGU19 conference hashtag is a great way to stay current with meeting updates as well as connect with people and find out about their work. There are lots of TV screens throughout the venue that have a live feed of the hashtag on Twitter, and seeing your tweet up there for a couple minutes of fame is pretty cool. It’s also really useful. My poster was on the Friday afternoon and I was worried that no one would be around to see it! So, I put up my poster early on the Friday morning, tweeted a photo of me next to it, and then stood by my poster whenever I had a free moment. Someone who I wanted to talk to but who wasn’t around for the poster session saw my tweet and found me. We had a really fruitful discussion, all because of one photo and 240 characters.

Presenting my poster was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to talk to people who could help guide my future work. (Credit: Stacy Phillips)

DO
Wear comfortable shoes.

I said above, I stood by my poster for most of the Friday. I was wearing comfortable shoes, but my feet were so sore the following day! (That may have also had something to do with the dancing at the conveners’ party…) You’ll be doing a lot of walking at the General Assembly and footwear is not something you should neglect!

DON’T
Bring big bulky bags.

You will be packing your bag each morning and convincing yourself that you need your laptop, your massive notebook and those papers you need to read. Sooner or later your bag will be bursting at the seams, and by the end of the day you’ll realise that you didn’t use any of the things you brought along. If you have and can make do with just your smartphone or a small tablet, then bring those (plus chargers!) and a small notebook (put in your name and details, in case you lose it).

DO
Bring a water bottle or reusable coffee cup.

Geoscientists should all be singing from a similar hymn sheet when it comes to saving the environment. So, it was great to see the abundant water fountains throughout the conference venue. Though I was surprised by the lack of re-usable coffee cups on show. There are regular coffee breaks to sustain everyone, and although there are recyclable bins where you can dispose of your cups, you could should just bring your own!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you should and shouldn’t do, and it doesn’t cover every aspect of what to expect at your first General Assembly, but hopefully it is a helpful guide. If you’re preparing for your first EGU meeting, you will probably be a little nervous, as I was this time last year. But I am confident that you’ll have a great week, talk about cutting-edge science, and make a wonderful array of connections, as I did in 2018. Good luck and feel free to ask questions or get in touch with me! You can find me on Twitter @Shtacy_Phillips. and do come say hi to me at EGU 2019!

EGU 2018 in numbers. See you in 2019! (Credit: Stacy Phillips)

by Stacy Phillips, PhD student at Open University, United Kingdom

Stacy Phillips is a 2nd year PhD student at the Open University. She is investigating the role of crustal melting in the Himalaya by looking at kyanite leucogranites from Bhutan, Eastern Himalaya. This involves a combination of petrology, geochemistry, geochronology and P-T modelling to understand how these melts formed. Her interests in science communication have led to the creation of the Fieldwork Diaries podcast and she is an avid user of Twitter (@Shtacy_Phillips) for science communication (and the odd rant about sports). When not busy doing or communicating science you can find her taking photos of Lego minifigures (on Instagram @ShtacyP).

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.