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EGU news EGU turns 20!

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European Geosciences Union

EGU turns 20!

7 September 2022

Today EGU celebrates the 20th Anniversary of our formation, when two European geoscience organisations, the European Geophysical Society and the European Union of Geosciences merged into one Union! Formed on the 7th September 2002 with the goal of becoming a new “dynamic, innovative, and interdisciplinary learned association”, the statement signed by the founding members ratified EGU’s intention to advance the Earth, planetary and space sciences, and promote co-operation between scientists.

The need for open spaces to build community, share new ideas and discuss scientific advances has never been more critical, epitomised by our experiences in recent years, and EGU is proud to have continued on our first ambition of promoting scientific co-operation by supporting 22 scientific divisions covering a wide variety of aspects of research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences, as well as nurturing research and discovery across disciplinary boundaries.

Together with EGUsphere, the recently launched EGU interactive community platform, two of EGU’s brightest jewels are our publishing suite of 19 open access journals and the annual General Assembly held each year in the spring, both delivered with our partner Copernicus. Committing to open access as a dedicated publishing model right from our inception, EGU not only proved the viability of this new way of approaching scientific publishing in the early 2000s, but also introduced the revolutionary (at the time) public peer review model and interactive public discussions. Each year more and more publishers recognise the value of having the entire review process from submission, to review discussions, to publication, be open and accessible to all. We are delighted to see these publishers following in EGU’s footsteps – reinforcing the integrity of scientific excellence.

In a similar vein the annual General Assembly has evolved a lot from the early days of the first meeting in Nice, France in April of 2004 for 6,297 scientists. In 2019 we hosted 16,273 researchers from around the world in Vienna, Austria and were on track to exceed that number in 2020, when the global pandemic forced us to change our plans in only a few weeks. Opening the meeting for free to anyone who wanted to participate during those taxing early days of the global pandemic, our community welcomed 22,376 individuals from 134 countries and set the stage for our most ambitious General Assembly yet; our first fully hybrid meeting held this year in 2022, both in Vienna and online.

This ambition to always be improving the way we respond to our member’s needs is central to EGU’s values, as EGU’s current President Helen Glaves says, “EGU has always been a member-led organisation and our community is key to providing guidance on both EGU’s immediate and long term priorities. We often see the way that topics of interest, awareness and concern in the Earth, planetary and space science communities are reflected in the objectives and goals of the Union; with several of these areas of focus being the same as ones that challenge society at large, such as climate change, sustainable development, the accessibility of science, and diversity and inclusion of varied voices in scientific fields.”

In order to meet these needs from our membership EGU relies on the passion and enthusiasm of a phenomenal group of volunteers, who work together to direct every aspect of the Union’s business, from annually bestowing awards and medals, organising a number of meetings, outreach and education activities and even contributing to the General Assembly and Union’s publishing interests.

“It would not be possible for EGU to be the bottom-up organisation that we pride ourselves on being, without our volunteers,” commented EGU’s Executive Secretary Philippe Courtial. “Their enthusiasm, creativity and commitment are what keep EGU focused on how we can best support Earth, planetary and space scientists of any specialism in Europe. This 20th Anniversary, we want to again thank our volunteers, as well as our partner Copernicus, for 20 amazing years of growth and change – and we are very excited to see what the next 20 years bring!”