EGU leaders in 2018 (Credit: EGU)

EGU news EGU Governance Review: An Opportunity for Reflection

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European Geosciences Union

EGU Governance Review: An Opportunity for Reflection

12 August 2020

EGU has grown considerably since 2003, when the Union’s governance structures and processes were first established. The Union’s membership has nearly tripled, and the number of open access journals it publishes has expanded from 6 to 19. To strengthen the Union’s operational capabilities and ensure its long-term sustainability, last year EGU adopted a new set of strategic priorities to direct the work of the Union’s Council, committees and staff through 2025.

As part of this new strategy, EGU has implemented a review to determine whether all of the Union’s structures and governance practices are still fit for accomplishing its mission, and how those that aren’t effective should be adjusted to best serve the current and futures needs of the organization and its members. EGU’s mission includes fostering excellence in fundamental and applied research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences; advancing open research and promoting the highest standards of scientific integrity; and supporting the development of the current and future generations of geoscientists.

“This review offers an important opportunity to look at the organisation holistically to better align EGU’s governance systems with its new strategic priorities and members’ expectations,” says EGU President Alberto Montanari. “It will also help us improve equality of opportunity, diversity and representation on EGU committees and boards, and for Earth, planetary and space scientists in general,” he says.

Goals of the Governance Review
The review’s aims are to re-examine EGU’s statues and best practices; the nominations, elections and appointments process for the Union’s governing bodies; the effectiveness of these bodies and whether they contain appropriate member representation and diversity; and the organisational culture, behaviours and values to ensure they facilitate strategic decision-making. Ultimately, says EGU Executive Secretary Philippe Courtial, “the governance panel’s responsibility is to recommend changes that will enable the Union to more effectively deliver its vision to realise a sustainable and just future for humanity and for the planet.”

The EGU Council has appointed a panel of ten members with a broad understanding of EGU’s workings to complete these tasks. This Governance Review Panel will produce an interim report for the EGU Council in October 2020 and a final report with recommendations by April 2021. The panel will also report its progress and findings to EGU members at the EGU General Assembly 2021. If any Council-approved changes require a vote by the plenary, in-person or online voting will be scheduled accordingly.

Stakeholder feedback
As part of this process, the Governance Review Panel will seek opinions from key stakeholder groups, including EGU’s 22 scientific divisions, 8 committees, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusions Working Group, and Early Career Scientist representatives. The panel also invites comments and suggestions for improvement from individual members, especially with respect to the Union’s divisional structure and its representativeness; EGU committees and working groups; and the representation of under-represented groups in the current system. All comments emailed to by 30 September 2020 will be considered.

“It is good practice for member-led organisations to conduct governance reviews on a periodic basis to account for any changes in the makeup or functioning of the organisation,” says Toby Rhodes, the governance review panel’s Independent Chair. “This review is an opportunity for the EGU to reflect on its governance arrangements to determine whether the existing processes and structures are serving its members and consider changes that might better serve the current and potential future needs of the Union and its members.”

EGU Governance Review panel members:

  • Toby Rhodes, Independent Chair & Review Panel Moderator, Perform Green
  • Ulrich Pöschl, Publications Committee Member; Atmospheric Sciences Division
  • Raffaele Albano, former ECS Representative and Outreach Committee member; Natural Hazards Division
  • Claudia Jesus Rydin, Chair of the Equalities & Diversity Working Group and former Outreach Committee member; Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology Division
  • Katja Fennel, Chair of Publications Committee; Biogeosciences and Ocean Sciences divisions
  • Helen Glaves, former Division President and Outreach Committee member; elected EGU president in autumn 2019; Earth and Space Science Informatics Division
  • Dan Parsons, Division President; Geomorphology Division
  • Giuliana Panieri, former Division President and Outreach Committee member; elected EGU General Secretary in autumn 2019; Biogeosciences Division
  • Chris King, Chair of Education Committee
  • Philippe Courtial, EGU Executive Secretary


Philippe Courtial
EGU Executive Secretary
Munich, Germany

Terri Cook
EGU Head of Media, Communications and Outreach
Munich, Germany


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