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Patterns in the void (Credit: Christian Klepp via Imaggeo)

EGU news Vision 2021: EGU’s leaders focus on the Union’s future

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European Geosciences Union

Vision 2021: EGU’s leaders focus on the Union’s future

12 February 2021

2021 promises to be an important year for EGU! Within the next couple of months, the Union will be launching a new virtual conference platform for vEGU21, this year’s spring General Assembly, which will offer participants a complete conference experience, including skills-building Short Courses, one-on-one and group networking areas, a Jobs & Careers Centre, and other interactive events in addition to hundreds of scientific sessions.

But EGU is much more than the annual meeting, and so we wanted to hear from the trendsetters at the top, EGU’s President and President-elect, to learn more about their visions for what EGU can achieve during the next few years.

Alberto Montanari, EGU President 2019–2021

During his tenure as EGU President, Alberto Montanari has focused his efforts on three main initiatives:

  • Launching EGUsphere, the Union’s new open-access online repository for the Earth, planetary, and space science community
  • Completing a Governance Review to strengthen EGU’s operational capabilities and ensure its long-term sustainability by better aligning the Union’s governance systems with its 2019-2025 strategic priorities and members’ expectations
  • Improving engagement with institutions and policymakers to highlight how the geosciences can help contribute to a green post-COVID recovery

“It is clear that COVID marked an historical milestone, a big societal change, and has shown that a different model for development is possible”, says Montanari. He adds that this is particularly clear for science, which in just a few weeks developed a different working framework that dramatically reduced scientists’ carbon footprint. “Ultimately”, he says, “the pandemic has taught us that an environmentally friendly—and therefore sustainable—development is possible”.

To improve engagement with policymakers, Montanari has worked with the EGU staff and Council to promote innovative ideas for smart and environmentally friendly resource management, including soil, water, and climate. Montanari has also helped to promote discussion within EGU to mark what he hopes will be a paradigm change in the development of these ideas, especially within the context of Horizon Europe, the EU’s current research and innovation framework programme, as well as the European Green Deal.

Helen Glaves, EGU President 2021–2023

During her upcoming term as the Union’s president, which will begin in April, Helen Glaves plans to concentrate on several priorities:

  • Improving the equality, accessibility, and inclusivity of opportunities within EGU as well as the wider Earth and planetary science community
  • Promoting multi-disciplinary research by better integrating the various EGU divisions to put EGU in a position that leads the way in supporting cross-disciplinary research
  • Implementing the recommendations from the comprehensive governance review that will ensure EGU continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of EGU members

“During my tenure as President, I hope that I can promote EGU as an organisation that is open and accessible to everyone who is either working within the geosciences or has an interest in this area of research”, Glaves says. “In turn”, she adds, “I would like to see more members from underrepresented minorities become part of EGU and benefit from everything this organisation has to offer”.

“The remarkable thing about EGU”, says Glaves, “is that it is truly a community-led organisation. The bottom-up structure ensures that every member has a sense of ownership and a vested interest in maintaining EGU for the future”. Because of this, she says, “our members are close to the latest developments in the geosciences, which allows the organisation to benefit from a wide pool of knowledge and expertise that can help inform the Union’s strategy going forward”.

(Read more about the many new initiatives EGU has implemented in 2020 here!)


Terri Cook
EGU Head of Media, Communications, and Outreach


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