What inspires you to be a scientist? For me, the motivation comes from a strong desire to make the world a better place, to use our skills and knowledge as scientists to help society and shape the future. Increasing our collaboration and involvement is an excellent way to expand our influence, but for early career scientists (ECS) like me, it can be a challenging task.
EGU has an incredible opportunity for ECS to overcome this challenge: the 2019 ECS Policy Competition. As the very fortunate winner of 2018, I received an invitation to an exclusive event in Brussels: a dinner debate, attended by an impressive guest list of EU Commission and Parliament members as well as influential scientists and industry leaders. This fantastic experience gave me a platform to voice my opinion, learn how to get more involved in policy, and directly network with policymakers and important stakeholders.
The format of the dinner debate was simple and effective. First, a high-level panel of speakers discussed the evening’s theme: how geoscientists can play a bigger role in tackling societal challenges. Afterwards, the discussions continued over dinner in a round-table activity, allowing each of us to give our thoughts and perspectives – these discussions were recorded and the summarised version can be seen here. I was able to have informal conversations with influential politicians: definitely a rare opportunity! The overwhelming consensus of the evening was that there is a strong need for researchers in geoscience fields to get more active and involved in interdisciplinary efforts in order to address societal issues. It was pointed out that we, as scientists, are uniquely qualified to provide highly informed advice in our fields of expertise. We are strongly encouraged to initiate a dialogue with scientists in multiple disciplines as well as policymakers and other stakeholders, and our input is extremely valuable. Activities like this dinner debate provide an excellent means for that communication to happen.
I consider the dinner debate to have been a very worthwhile experience for me. The opportunities didn’t end that evening, though; as a direct result of this event, my network of contacts has grown, and to my delight, I have since received job offers as well as invitations to other events and activities. Taking part in EGU’s policy competition has had a positive impact on my career, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any ECS with an interest in expanding their network outside of science and getting more involved in policy.
The EGU’s 2019 Policy event will take place on October 17 in Brussels. It will focus on the five upcoming Horizon Europe Missions (adapting to climate change, cancer, healthy oceans & inland waters, climate-neutral & smart cities, and soil health & food) and how the geosciences can help contribute to these. the ECS Policy Competition winner will receive an invitation to the event, support for travel expenses within Europe and one night accommodation. You can find more information about the competition and how to apply here.