GeoLog

EGU conference 2016

Abstract deadline for EGU 2016 fast approaching: A first-timer’s guide to the 2015 General Assembly

Abstract deadline for EGU 2016 fast approaching: A first-timer’s guide to the 2015 General Assembly

Are you considering attending the upcoming EGU General Assembly in Vienna? The conference brings together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences.. This year, the meeting will be held from the 17 to 22 April at the Austria Centre Vienna. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is upon us, closing next Wednesday the 13th January at 13:00 CET.

With 12,000 participants in a massive venue, the conference can be a confusing and, at times, overwhelming place. In addition, working out how the conference presentation slots are structured, how to submit an abstract and what happens after you have done isn’t always straight forward, especially if you are a first time attendee.

To help you find your way, we have compiled an introductory handbook filled with history, tips for submitting your abstract, presentation pointers, travel tips and a few facts about Vienna and its surroundings. Download your copy of the EGU General Assembly guide here!

EGU 2016: Call-for-abstracts is now open!

EGU 2016: Call-for-abstracts is now open!

From now, up until 13 January 2016, you can submit your abstract for the upcoming EGU General Assembly (EGU 2016).

In addition to established scientists, PhD students and other early career researchers are welcome to submit abstracts to present their research at the conference. Further, the EGU encourages undergraduate and master students to submit abstracts on their dissertations or final-year projects.

The EGU recognises that there are many outstanding students who would benefit from attending and presenting at the General Assembly and, therefore, provides a discounted registration rate to this group. Interested undergraduates can apply to present a poster, talk or PICO presentation on research undertaken in a laboratory setting, on a mapping or field project they’ve been involved in during their degrees, or any other research project of relevance.

You can browse through the EGU 2016 sessions here. Clicking on ‘please select’ will allow you to search for sessions by Programme Group and submit your abstract to the relevant session either as plain text, LaTeX, or a MS Word document. Further guidelines on how to submit an abstract are available on the EGU 2016 website.

An innovative presentation format – Presenting Interactive Content, better known as PICO – has been implemented at the General Assembly since 2013. PICO sessions bring together the advantages of both oral and poster sessions, allowing authors to present the essence of their work and follow it up with interactive discussion. Please note that some sessions are ‘PICO only’ sessions, meaning you cannot select oral/poster preference.

The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 13 January 2016, 13:00 CET. If you would like to apply for financial support to attend the 2016 General Assembly, please submit an application no later than 01 December 2015. We’ll be providing further information about how to apply for travel grants and how they are awarded in a forthcoming post.

EGU 2016 will take place from 17 to 22 April 2016 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2016 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU16 is the conference hashtag) and Facebook.

A guide to convening a session at the General Assembly – Part II

A guide to convening a session at the General Assembly – Part II

Convening a session at a conference can seem daunting, especially if you are an early career research and a first-time convener. That’s why we’ve put together this two part series to outline the main steps of the process, with more detailed instructions to be published on the 2016 EGU General Assembly in due course. Remember, the call for sessions is open until 18 September 2015!

This post picks up where the first post of the series left off. We’ve tackled how to successfully propose a session; but what happens once your sessions is included in the programme? What does being a convener actually involve? Read on to find out!

My session proposal has been accepted, now what?

The first thing to know is that once you take on the role of being a session convener or co-convener, you aren’t on your own. Our conference organisers, Copernicus, provide full support to those who take on this exciting task. You’ll receive reminders about major deadlines and milestones, such as when you need to rate financial (travel) support applications, and help to meet them via dedicated, easy-to-use online tools.

At a glance, as a convener, you have the following duties (there is a little more detail on each one further down):

  • Advertise your sessions to attract abstracts
  • Rate financial support applications
  • Organise your session in terms of the schedule
  • Allocate presentation types on the basis of the abstract submissions
  • Select chair persons to run the session

Advertising is everything

Spreading the word about your sessions is crucial to attracting abstracts. (Image modified from: Social Media Communication, distributed via Wikimedia Commons).

Spreading the word about your sessions is crucial to attracting abstracts. (Image modified from: Social Media Communication, distributed via Wikimedia Commons).

This year, the call for abstracts will open in late October and close in January. During this period it is important that you advertise your session within your community to attract people to submit abstracts. You can do this by reaching out to colleagues, collaborators and the wider contacts within your community. And don’t forget the power of social media! Advertise your session on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to reach people outside of your tight network. It may also boost interest to invite a limited number of solicited presentations: you can find some best-practice guidelines here.

Allocating financial support

Early career scientists and established researchers from low and middle income countries who wish to present their work at the EGU General Assembly are able to apply for financial support at the time of abstract submission. This year’s deadline is December 1st. After then, it is the conveners’ job to rate the applications on the basis of the quality of the science being presented. The Programme Committee (PC) then uses this raking to allocate the funds amongst the applicants. For a detailed description of this process, see the financial support pages on the EGU website.

Organising your session

Once all abstracts are in – the deadline for submission of abstracts is 13 January 2016 – it’s time to organise your session! Depending on the number of abstracts your session received, it will be accepted with oral blocks, accepted as poster-only session, or you might be asked to merge with another session and transfer the submitted abstracts to this merged session. In this latter case, you may become a co-convener in the newly created session. You’ll also have to review all the abstracts submitted to your session and decide whether to accept them, reject them or direct them to another more suitable session

Once the content of your session is finalised, you’ll get the opportunity to make your scheduling request. This means thinking about the expected audience size, and back-to-back and no-overlap requests with other sessions. Keep in mind that the PC will do its best to meet requests, but that this is not always possible due to the complications associated with building a huge conference programme!

By mid-February the PC has finalised the conference programme and conveners have one final job left: organise the details of sessions in terms of presentation types. Using the abstracts, you’ll have to choose which are to be allocated an oral presentation slot vs. a poster presentation. You’ll also have to define the length of each talk and make sure that you’ve chosen at least two abstracts from early career scientists for oral presentations. Make sure you’ve highlighted any invited speakers as ‘solicited’ in the programme and order the presentations using the online tool. Finally, be sure to select two chairs per oral block and per poster block.

A Union-wide session at the 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

A Union-wide session at the 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

Final tips and pointers

Armed now with an outline of how to put together a winning session and details of your roles and responsibilities as a convener, why not give it a go? You’ve got until the 18th September to submit a session proposal!

As final encouragement, we spoke to some early career scientist who’d convened sessions previously. Here are some of their top tips and what they had to say about the experience:

“Don’t be afraid to give it a go! Get at least one person in your team who has convened before, even if it is someone who is not that active in all organising activities. It is good to have someone who can offer advice at all stages.” Anne Pluymakers (Tectonics and Structural Geology Division ECS Representative)

Sam Illingworth, Lecturer in Science Communication and former PC ECS Representative, shares some advice on actually running the session: “Remember to arrive to your session at least 20 minutes early, to check on the tech and upload all of the presentations. Also, if there is a no show then don’t panic. Either prepare a back-up presentation that you have, or host an extended Q&A where you discuss the talks that you have heard so far and/or a prominent issue in the field.”  Also, be prepared for the dreaded moment when the audience haven’t got any questions for the speaker: “always come up with a back-up question to ask the speaker, in case there are no other questions forthcoming in the Q&A,” says Sam.

Sam’s final top tip is one we couldn’t agree more with, after having invested a lot of time and effort in organising a session, make sure you enjoy it!

A guide to convening a session at the EGU General Assembly – Part I

A guide to convening a session at the EGU General Assembly – Part I

Convening a session at a conference can seem daunting, especially if you are an early career research and a first-time convener. That’s why we’ve put together this two part series to outline the main steps of the process. With the call for sessions for the 2016 EGU General Assembly open until 18 September 2015, now is the perfect time to give it a go! The key ingredients are an idea for a session, a couple of co-conveners and a good session description.

How does it all work?

The EGU General Assembly is organised around the session programme, which consists of sessions representing all Programme Groups. (The organisation of sessions and the submission of abstracts are built around the session programme.

Programme Group (PG) chairs create a skeleton programme, based on the programme for previous General Assemblies, so that each PG has a few sessions in it to kick things off.

Then, the call for sessions opens, usually over the summer preceding the conference. This is the time when the scientific community is invited to suggest new sessions or modify skeleton programme sessions (you can propose a new title for a session, put someone forward to co-convene the session and/or make suggestions to improve the session description).

Once the call closes, the PG chairs evaluate the proposed sessions and decided if they should be included in the programme. They might also suggest modifications to skeleton sessions.

I’ve got an idea for a session, what do I do next?

Before submitting your session, you’ll need to make sure you have:

  • At least one session convener. If you’ve got some co-conveners on board already, make sure you consider gender diversity and invite (other) early career scientists to help you too! Additionally, select co-conveners from different countries and/or institutions. Please check with all conveners that they agree to co-convene the session.
  • A session title.
  • A session description. This isn’t mandatory at this stage, but useful for when the PGs evaluate whether your session should be included in the final programme.

You are able to amend the title and the description of the session, so you’ve got time to refine those at a later date.

Proposing a session

A screenshot of the convening a session tool on the EGU website. Click the image to englarge.

A screenshot of the convening a session tool on the EGU website. Click the image to englarge.

Once you’ve got all this in place, you are ready to submit your idea for a session! Simply head over to the provisional programme and select the PG which is most closely aligned to the subject of your session. This will display all the skeleton sessions (which you are welcome to recommend modifications for too) or click ‘Suggest a session here’ tab to submit your session idea.

You’ll be presented with screen which looks like the one above. Enter all your details and wait to hear back from the PG chair on their decision as to whether your session will go ahead.

My session may be of interest to more than one Programme Group, is this catered for?

A screenshot of the session proposal tool. Propose co-convened sessions by adding the request in the comments section.

A screenshot of the session proposal tool. Propose co-convened sessions by adding the request in the comments section. Click the image to englarge.

Co-convened sessions across disciplines are encouraged.

You can indicate that you’d like your session to be co-organised with another PG in the comments section of the submission tool. Make sure you indicate what PG you’d like to co-organise the session with and remember that the session needn’t be submitted to both groups, only the lead PG..

Your request for a cross PG collaboration will be evaluated by all relevant PG chairs and either accepted or rejected. In the case of acceptance, this session will be organised by all cooperation partners, but the leading PG chair will take primary responsibility for room bookings and time of the session.

I’d like to propose a PICO session, can I do that?

Once the call for sessions closes, during late September, session conveners have the option to change their session from a traditional oral and poster presentation session to a PICO (Presenting Interactive Content) session.

You’ll be able to do this using the ‘Session Programme Finalization’ tool. Use the edit pen, and indicate the PICO character there. PICO sessions will be shown as PICO sessions in the abstract submission, and authors cannot select an oral/poster preference as they will receive a PICO presentation regardless.

To learn more about the benefits of organising a PICO session, you can read this blog post we prepared in advance of the 2015 General Assembly.

A PICO spot at the EGU 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

A PICO spot at the EGU 2015 General Assembly. (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

I’ve proposed a session, what is the next step?

From when the call for sessions closes in mid-September, to mid-October, the Programme Committee and our conference organisers, Copernicus Meetings, do a lot of work behind the scenes to iron out any issues and finalise the conference programme.

As the programme is finalised, you’ll be notified once your session has been published on-line. You can then sit back and relax, at least for a little while! From mid-October until January, the call for abstracts is open. To generate interest in your session, you are encouraged to advertise it amongst your colleagues/collaborators and any potentially interested researchers within the field. If you are on social media platforms, we’d encourage you to promote your session this way too.

With the first steps of proposing a session covered, part II of this series we’ll take a look at what happens once the abstracts star rolling in. It will cover everything from the role of conveners in the process to allocate funds for travel support, to organisation of a session, including accepting/rejecting abstracts and planning the logistics of requesting a room and what happens during the conference. The post will also include tops tips from early career scientists who have been involved in the convening sessions in the past.

For more information on proposing and convening a session, take a look at the Programme Committee guidelines on the 2016 General Assembly website. The Tectonics and Structural Geology Division also has a nice step-by-step guide for conveners which contains lots of useful information. If you’ve been inspired to propose a session, follow this link to the call-for-sessions. If you needed a final incentive, as a thank you, the EGU invites all conveners for a reception at the end of the conference.

The European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 17-22 April 2016 and will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences.