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One of thousands of scientific presentations at the EGU General Assembly 2017 (Credit: Kai Boggild)

EGU news Promoting accessibility and inclusivity at the EGU General Assembly 2020

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European Geosciences Union

Promoting accessibility and inclusivity at the EGU General Assembly 2020

4 February 2020

The EGU is committed to providing an accessible, safe and respectful environment so that every participant feels welcome at its annual General Assembly. To accomplish this, the Union has implemented extensive measures to foster inclusivity and increase accessibility at the meeting, which is held at the Austria Center Vienna each spring.

“EGU is undertaking comprehensive actions to promote physical, audio and visual accessibility and to foster an inclusive atmosphere at the conference,” says Susanne Buiter, Programme Committee Chair for the General Assembly. To accomplish this, the Union will debut a number of new measures at the 2020 meeting, including an audio accessibility system.

“New this year,” says Buiter, “we’ll stream the audio signal from all the conference rooms and PICO spots so that attendees with hearing aids can connect their devices to a smartphone and receive this signal.” The EGU will likewise run a pilot with using live- and/or auto- captioning for talks in some conference rooms and gather audience feedback for improvement towards rolling this out on a larger scale in 2021.

Also beginning this year, the conference programme app will be browser-based, a change that will allow attendees to view it using larger default font sizes. Where provided, laser pointers have a green, rather than a red, laser beam for improved visual contrast. To allow a good conference experience for all, EGU will also begin providing reserved seating in lecture rooms; participants are kindly asked to offer these seats to any attendee wearing a “Please offer me a seat” button, which can be obtained at the EGU information desk. EGU asks attendees to keep in mind that not all needs for reserved seating are visible.

EGU’s accessibility and inclusivity measures encompass all aspects of the General Assembly, says Buiter. These include the use of gender-neutral language, offering pronoun buttons, and encouraging diversity among conveners, presenters, organisers and attendees as well as cultivating participant well-being by providing quiet rooms, female and male multi-faith prayer rooms, family rooms, and free, on-site childcare for young children.

All participants are expected to follow the General Assembly rules of conduct and the EGU Code of Conduct, which was recently updated to uphold the highest standards of scientific integrity, open science and open access research. “The EGU is dedicated to making the General Assembly a model of unbiased, non-judgmental and inclusive participation,” says Buiter. “We hope these new measures facilitate this environment for all attendees.”


Susanne Buiter
EGU Programme Committee Chair

Terri Cook
Head of Media, Communications and Outreach
European Geosciences Union
Munich, Germany
Phone +49-89-2050-76340


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