European Geosciences Union

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Union Best Practices

EGU Council

The Council is the highest decision-making body in the Union. It consists of the president (chair), vice-president, general secretary, treasurer, division presidents and the executive secretary as an ex-officio member.

  • Nominations for the various positions in the Union are generally sought by an open call. Open call may include group emails to the membership, presentation at business meetings, and/or request to the division/union officers.
  • The Council can vote either by an open vote at its meetings, by a closed vote at its meetings (on request), or through email vote between Council meetings.
  • The membership votes are carried out through an electronic voting system.

The EGU Council meets during the General Assembly and at the Autumn Council Meeting held typically from Thursday to Saturday during the first full week of October. The agenda for these meetings is made available to Council members three weeks in advance. Key information about nominations and financial decisions is made available to Council members two weeks prior to the meeting.

EGU Executive Board

The EGU Executive Board consists of the president, vice-president, general secretary, treasurer, and executive secretary.

The term of the president is four years: one year as vice-president, then two years as president, and the final fourth year as vice-president again. The president is not eligible for immediate re-election.

  • Nominations for president are sought by an open call.
  • The Council evaluates the candidates and selects candidates for voting.
  • The EGU membership votes for the president.

The president shall be the chief elected officer of the Union, and as such shall:

  • Represent the Union as a whole in all internal and external matters;
  • Preside at all meetings of the Council, the executive board, the nominations committee and the presidential advisory committee;
  • Nominate all Union committee chairs to Council unless otherwise stated in the constitution and by-laws;
  • Oversee and provide strategic steering to all activities of the Union, in particular those of the committees and the EGU office.

The president may delegate responsibilities to other members of the union.

The term of the general secretary and the treasurer is two years and is renewable.

  • Nominations for general secretary and treasurer are sought by an open call.
  • The Council evaluates the candidates and selects candidates for voting.
  • The EGU membership votes for the general secretary and the treasurer.

The term of the executive secretary is five years and is renewable.

  • Applications for the executive secretary are sought by an open call.
  • The Council evaluates the candidates and selects the executive secretary by voting.

EGU Committees

The EGU has presently eight Union-wide committees that report to the Council. The Executive Board is member of all committees, with the exception of the Nomination Committee. The term of the chairs and the committee members appointed by Council is two years and renewable once. The exception is the Publications Committee, where the term of the chair is three years renewable once and the term of the members is defined by their editorial duties.

  • Programme Committee (coordinates the General Assembly programme).
  • Committee for Outreach Activities (coordinates outreach projects as stipulated by by-laws 1.5 and 1.6).
  • Committee for Topical Events (coordinates activities related to topical meetings, conference series, workshops and training schools).
  • Publications Committee (coordinates EGU journals and other publications).
  • Awards Committee (coordinates EGU medal committees and proposes medal recipients to the Council).
  • Finance Committee (coordinates EGU finances and propose budget to the Council).
  • Nominations Committee (coordinates the nomination process for elections to the Council).
  • Committee on Education (coordinates activities related to secondary and tertiary education)
Selection procedure for vacancies of members of committees, including chairs

The composition of the various committees is defined by-law 8.3. In the case of the Committee on Education, the Committee for Topical Events and the Committee for Outreach Activities, members are selected according to the procedure described below.

  • (A) EGU Committees open to EGU Council members only (such the Committee for Topical Events)
    When there is a vacancy in an EGU committee composed of only EGU Council members, either due to an early resignation of a committee member or his/her end of term, the committee chair informs the EGU executive secretary about this open position. The committee chair may also indicate possible successors for this position, and/or needed qualifications. The executive secretary then informs the EGU Council about this vacancy, and the needed qualifications, via the EGU forum. The committee chair then works with the executive secretary to collect/solicit applications and proposes nominations to the union president for Council appointment at the following EGU Council meeting. A similar approach is taken if the chair of a committee (including those whose composition is defined by the by-laws or best practices) resigns or reaches his/her end of term; in this case the union president nominates a candidate after following the above procedure.
  • (B) EGU committees composed of both Council and non-Council members (Committee for Outreach Activities and Committee on Education)
    When there is a vacancy in an EGU committee composed of both non-Council and Council members, a two-way approach should be taken to replace the outgoing member. If the member is part of the EGU Council, the approach described in (A) should be followed. If a non-Council member leaves, the vacancy should be publically announced on the EGU website, and EGU should actively solicit and review applications from the broader EGU community. The assumption is that the overall composition of this committee in terms of Council and non-Council members should be kept about constant. The committee chair and the executive secretary collaborate to collect the applications, and seek feedback from the respective committee members to evaluate the incoming applications, before the Union president nominates potential candidates to Council, which votes on the new composition of the committee. The outcome of this selection process should be publically announced on the EGU website.

It is recommended that the procedure should be completed within a time frame of six weeks.

EGU Divisions

EGU has divisions that represent a scientific area or discipline. Divisions can be created and terminated as needed. New activities typically start up as programme groups at the General Assembly. If the programme group is successful in attracting a sufficient number of abstracts to the General Assembly, it can become a division by making a proposal to the Council. The Council reviews the status of divisions and programme groups annually.

Division presidents are elected for a two-year term and can be re-elected once. Maximum duration of a term is thus four years, from General Assembly to General Assembly.

  • Nominations for division president are sought by an open call.
  • The Council evaluates the candidates and selects candidates for voting.
  • The EGU membership votes for the division president.

The internal structure of the divisions can be decided by each division, and need not be similar from division to division. However, each division should have a named contact person for (1) the General Assembly (the programme group chair), (2) EGU journals, (3) outreach activities and (4) division medals. In addition, divisions may have vice-presidents, scientific secretaries and other officers as they see fit. The division officers are publicised at the EGU website.

  • The internal organisation of each division is decided by the division at the annual business meeting during the General Assembly.
  • The division officers are selected for two years by voting at the business meeting and presented to the Council for final approval. The positions are renewable.

Division business meetings are organised annually during the General Assembly. The EGU Programme Committee takes care that the business meetings are adequately advertised in the General Assembly programme. Division presidents and/or division representatives in the Programme Committee should advertise the business meeting at relevant sessions during the meeting. Division meetings are open to all interested meeting participants. Young people are especially encouraged to attend. The agenda of the business meeting should consist of at least:

  • News from EGU: meeting highlights and Council current items, time and location of the next year’s General Assembly.
  • Division officers: list of present officers, vote for new ones and replacements.
  • Medals and awards: review medals relevant to division, advertise recipients and medal lectures, review medal proposal procedures, ask for nominations for medallists, ask for nominations for medal committee members, advertise Outstanding Early Career Scientists Awards and Outstanding Student Poster and PICO Awards and review the procedures.
  • Journals: review journals relevant to division, editors and status of the journal(s), new editor positions, planning for new journals.
  • Scientific programme for next General Assembly: call for proposals for sessions, discuss meeting format and so forth, advertise web interface for session proposal submission, review travel support procedure and the convenors’ role in the selection procedure.
  • Feedback from the division to EGU.
  • Division business meeting reports are submitted by the presidents to the General Secretary within two weeks of the General Assembly.

EGU Budget

The EGU budget distributes funding for activities that are in line with the EGU strategy as defined by the Council.

  • The Finance Committee consists of the treasurer as the chair, the president, vice-president, and general secretary.
  • All activities requiring funding from the EGU budget must submit a proposal for funding to the executive secretary and treasurer by 1 September.
  • Based on the proposals, the Finance Committee together with the executive secretary make a budget proposal to the Council (available to the Council members two weeks before the meeting).
  • The Council approves the budget at the Autumn Council Meeting.

Budget items include, but are not limited to:

  • General Assembly;
  • Publications;
  • Union activities (membership, executive offices and staff);
  • Outreach (newsletter, GIFT programme, press office, medals, topical conferences, general assembly support).

Topical conferences

In addition to the General Assembly, EGU can organise and/or support topical conferences. The topical conferences may receive support from the EGU, but the financial risk and responsibility lies with the main organiser of the conference.

  • Proposals for topical conferences are sought by an open call. The deadline for applications submitted to the executive secretary is 1 September.
  • The Topical Events Committee reviews the proposals and presents them to the Council at the Autumn Council Meeting.
  • The Topical Events Committee approves the conferences within its budget approved by the Council.

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