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Early Career Scientists

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.

GeoPolicy: Science for Policy at the 2019 General Assembly!

GeoPolicy: Science for Policy at the 2019 General Assembly!

The EGU General Assembly is the largest geoscience meeting in Europe. Not only does it have a diverse array of sessions that you can attend within your own area of expertise but there are also thousands of sessions that will be outside of your research field, as well as sessions on topics that can be applied to a wide range of scientific divisions, jobs and industries – such as science for policy

The line-up for the 2019 EGU General Assembly includes Short Courses, Disciplinary Sessions, Townhall Meetings, Interdisciplinary Sessions and Union-wide Sessions that focus on various aspects of science-policy. 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 #EGU19 schedule!

Science and Society (SCS)

Science and Society is the new union-wide session format that provides a space to host scientific forums dedicated to connecting with high-level institutions and engaging the public and policymakers.

  • Plan-S: Should scientific publishers be forced to go Open Access: With support from the European Commission and European Research Council, plan S demands that research supported by participating funders must be published in Open Access journals by January 1, 2020. This session will debate the questions surrounding the implementation of the plan and its consequences.
  • Past and future tipping points and large climate transitions in Earth history: This session will discuss the advances in modeling forces triggering and amplifying Earth’s climate and carbon cycle. Given that Earth’s climate is currently experiencing an unprecedented transition under anthropogenic pressure, understanding the mechanisms behind the scene is vital and can help steer policy.

Short Courses (SC)

Disciplinary Sessions

Please keep in mind, that this isn’t an exhaustive list! There are a lot of other sessions at the EGU that can either be directly linked with science for policy or that include research relevant for policymakers. You can find more policy-related sessions on the EGU General Assembly Programme (which you can access online and via the EGU2019 mobile app) and through the General Assembly 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 think a session or event within one of these categories is missing, please email the EGU Media and Communications Manager at media@egu.eu with a link to the session, and the category where it should be listed and why.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding the EGU General Assembly’s policy activities, feel free to get in touch via email or come and meet me and the rest of the EGU office in person at the EGU Booth on Friday April 12, 10:15–10:45.

 

What’s on for early career scientists at the Assembly in 2019

What’s on for early career scientists at the Assembly in 2019

This year, there’s a great line-up of early career scientist (ECS) sessions at the General Assembly. Not only that, but there are opportunities to meet those that represent you in the Union, get to know other ECS in your field, and make the most of both the scientific and social sides of the conference…

Networking

First up for ECS is the icebreaker event during the opening reception on the Sunday before the meeting, while this is open to everyone attending the Assembly, there’ll be a spot especially for early career scientists – the “ECS Meeting Corner” (Foyer E). So, if you’re coming alone, or if it’s your first time, you’re sure to find a few like-minded fellows!

This year also be sure to take advantage of the Networking & Early Career Scientists’ Zone (formerly called the Early Career Scientists Lounge), located on the Red Level of the conference centre. The zone is the perfect place to grab a coffee, catch up with your peers and make new connections in a more relaxed setting.

This year there will be a series of pop-up style events held at the zone too. You can check out the notice boards to find out all the details; the image below also shows a few of the sessions already planned for this year. There will also the opportunity to provide feedback via suggestion boards.

 

The Early Career Scientists Networking and Careers Reception, with drinks and light snacks, aims to bring together early career scientists, award-winning researchers, members of EGU’s Council, and selected industry partners exhibiting at the General Assembly. The reception offers an opportunity for ECS to ask career-related questions and for established scientists, in and out of academia, to share their experience with young researchers in the early stages of their career. Places at the reception are limited, however, please stay tuned to the EGU’s social media channels, particularly Twitter, during the General Assembly, as we’ll be advertising any extra spaces that become available.

Job Centre

The Job Centre at the General Assembly offers the opportunity to connect employers/recruiters and highly-qualified candidates in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. The centre is located on the basement level of the conference venue.

The General Assembly offers several opportunities to advance your career in the geosciences, both in and outside of academia. (Photo credit: EGU/Kai Boggild)

If you are looking for a new position, the Job Centre offers many opportunities for scientists to get career advice, meet recruiters, and seek out jobs:

  • Ivo’s clinic: Ivo Grigorov, research coordinator at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at the Technical University of Denmark, offers daily clinics for scientists seeking advice and training for job applications.
  • Post your CV & find job listings: at the entrance of the Job Centre, close to room -2.32, there is a job-posting pillar offering space to put up your CV and browse job adverts from recruiters.
  • Present yourself: Take the chance to advertise your skills to potential employers with the Meet the talents session (JC1), scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, 18:00–19:00, on the gallery on the Green Level 1 (first floor).
  • Visit the job presentations in room -2.34: check the meeting programme to find days and times that employers of interest are presenting.
  • Use EGU’s online job platform: search for vacancies at: https://www.egu.eu/jobs/

You can find more information about the Job Centre and other opportunities for advancing your career at the General Assembly through this blog post.

Building a great CV

It’s not all about the social stuff though, there’s a veritable feast of courses where you can fine-tune your skills and grab those all-important nuggets of information to help you forge a career in academia. From Union-wide sessions to workshops and short courses, there’s a lot to choose from, including division-specific sessions like How to write (and publish) a scientific paper in Hydrology, Meet the Experts: Geomorphology, the Polar Science Career Panel, and Seismology 101. You can get advice on how to peer-review, gather tips on how to find funding and write a research grant, and learn how to get involved in the policy process – but this is just a snapshot! Take a look at our shortlist or the extended list of sessions of ECS interest to see what is on offer this year.

Also be sure to stop by the Early Career Scientists’ Great Debate, a session that aims to give a more prominent voice to ECS members on important research-related issues. This year’s debate will discuss how ECS can prioritise their mental wellbeing  in the current research environment and what support would ECS like to see from organisations like EGU or their employers. At the session, participants will be invited to join a round-table discussion where everyone will be given the opportunity to discuss the chosen topic with other conference attendees.

Have a say in how the EGU runs

Like last year, we’ll be hosting a lunchtime session, the ECS Forum, to let early career researchers know how they can get involved in the Union and gather feedback to make what we’re doing even better. ECS representation in the Union is growing leaps and bounds, with most divisions appointing ECS officers whose role is to feedback from the ECS community and make sure we do our best to act on your suggestions. What better way to tell us what you want than over a lovely lunch where you can meet your representatives?

Take the chance to meet the EGU early career scientist representatives at the Wednesday ECS Forum. Credit: EGU/Keri McNamara

The representatives will be making themselves available throughout the conference for informal chats at the EGU Booth. Take a look at the programme to find out when you can catch up with your division representative. Olivia Trani, the EGU’s Communication Officer and point of contact for the ECS members at the EGU Offices, can also be found in the zone during most coffee breaks. Feel free to approach her if you have any questions or suggestions about ECS related activities!

The Union Level Representatives (Stephanie Zihms and Raffaele Albano) and the Executive Office ECS Contact, Olivia Trani (EGU Communications Officer), will also be available from 10:45–11:30, on Tuesday the 9th, at the EGU Booth, to answer all your ECS related questions and to discuss any ideas you might like to bring forward.

You can also let us know what you think via the ECS survey which will become available during the General Assembly. You’ll find it included within the EGU 2019 feedback survey.

ECS recognition at EGU 2019

Keep your eyes peeled for posters that are part of the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP), and check out this recent blog post for some tips on how to make your presentation stand out from the crowd.

Finally, don’t forget to save space for a few talks from outstanding early career scientists. The winners of the Arne Richter and division awards will be giving talks throughout the week and are well worth a listen. Check the online programme to find out when and where they are taking place.

See you at the conference!

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 7 to 12 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website and follow the Assembly’s online conversation on Twitter (#EGU19 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.

GeoTalk: Making their mark: how humans and rivers impact each other

GeoTalk: Making their mark: how humans and rivers impact each other

Geotalk is a regular feature highlighting early career researchers and their work. In this interview we speak to Serena Ceola, a hydrologist and assistant professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, who studies interactions between humans and river systems. At the upcoming General Assembly she will be recognised for her research contributions as the recipient of the 2019 Hydrological Sciences Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award.

Thanks for talking to us today! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about your career path so far?

I was born in Padova, Italy, and studied environmental engineering at the University of Padova, from which I obtained a master’s degree in 2009. Since my bachelor’s studies, I was fascinated by hydrology: both my bachelor’s and master’s thesis dealt with the availability of river discharge, which is the amount of water flowing through a river channel.

Then, in 2009 I moved to Lausanne in Switzerland and I continued my studies with a PhD at the Laboratory of Ecohydrology of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). My PhD thesis focused on the implications of river discharge availability on river ecosystems (namely algae and macroinvertebrates). Since 2013, I have been based at the University of Bologna, Italy, currently as a junior assistant professor. Now my main research project focuses on the relationship between river discharge availability and human activities, both at local and global scales.

Serena Ceola collecting benthic macroinvertebrates used for a small-scale flume experiment in Lunz-Am-See, Austria. (Photo Credits: Serena Ceola)

What got you interested in environmental engineering and hydrology? What brought you to study this particular field?

Studying environmental engineering was the perfect trade-off between being an engineer and focusing on environment sustainability and protection. During my studies I have developed a forma mentis that allows me to quantitatively solve (or try, at least) any issue. Since I was always fascinated by water, hydrology was my ideal choice. I must also say that my professors played a key role: their enthusiasm and passion overwhelmed me, involving me in such a fascinating subject.

At this year’s General Assembly, you will receive the Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award in the Hydrological Sciences Division for your contributions to understanding of the relationship between river environments and human activities. Could you tell us more about your research in this field and its importance?

River discharge has always been my main research focus. During the last 10 years, I had the unique opportunity to focus on the possible implications of river discharge .

Human activities, such as dam development, deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, etc. are known to affect how much flowing water is available to river ecosystems. In particular, I realised that no one before had conducted a quantitative analysis of how human-derived modifications to the natural flow of a river could possibly affect its environment.

Flume experimental facilities. (Photo Credits: Serena Ceola)

During my PhD, I performed an experiment by building small artificial rivers aimed at quantitatively estimating how

stream algae and macroinvertebrates respond to two flow regimes, one influenced by human activity and one unaffected. The unaffected river regime was naturally variable while the other was constant, like downstream a dam.

The experimental results were promising, thus allowing me to develop an analytical model capable of reproducing observed biological data in a real river network, also proving its applicability in presence of anthropogenic influence.

Hydrologic controls on basin-scale distribution of benthic invertebrates: study area and average habitat suitability values for a mayfly species. Image redrawn from Ceola et al., 2014, WRR, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR015112

When focusing on human activities, it is extremely important to estimate the interrelations between humans and waters. Here, I was lucky enough to start working with satellite data measuring the distribution of human population in space and time across the globe. By using satellite nightlight images, I analysed the spatial and temporal evolution of human presence close to streams and river. When considering extreme events like floods, I also had the opportunity to identify the regions most at risk for flood deaths and damage to infrastructure.

At the General Assembly, you plan to give a talk about working with global high-resolution datasets, such as nightlight data, to better understand how human and water systems affect each other. What are some of the possibilities made available through this kind of analysis? What doors does this research open, so to speak?

Working with global high-resolution datasets, and in particular with datasets covering several years, allows one to analyse and inspect how human processes and hydrological processes have evolved and interacted in time. This kind of analysis offers the opportunity to study how human pressure on river flows has changed over time and examine urbanization processes influenced for instance by proximity to rivers. This method also allows researchers to analyze how people move as a consequence of climatic conditions, such as extreme floods or droughts.

Spatial evolution of human presence close to stream and rivers by using satellite nightlight images. Image taken from Ceola et al., 2015, WRR, https://doi.org/10.1002/2015WR017482

Before I let you go, what are some of the biggest lessons you have learned so far as a researcher? What advice would you impart to aspiring scientists?

Based on my experience so far my first recommendation is “Be passionate!” Since you will spend a lot of time (days and nights) on a research project, it is fundamental that you love what you are doing. Although sometimes it is difficult and you cannot see any positive outcome, be bold and keep working on your ideas. Then, search for data to support your ideas and scientific achievements (although sometimes it is quite challenging and time-consuming!), but this proves that your research ideas are correct. Interact with colleagues, ask them if your ideas are reasonable and create your research network. Finally, work and collaborate with inspiring colleagues, who guide and support your research activities (I had and still have the pleasure to work with fantastic mentoring people)!

Interview by Olivia Trani, EGU Communications Officer