EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Diversity amongst Early Career Scientist attendees and their participation at the annual EGU General Assembly: from in-person to online meetings

Anouk Beniest1,2, Claudia Alves de Jesus-Rydin3, Lisa Wingate4, Elenora van Rijsingen5, Andrea Popp6, and Alberto Montanari7
Anouk Beniest et al.
  • 1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Science, Earth Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands (
  • 2GEOMAR, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
  • 3European Research Council (ERC), Scientific Department
  • 4INRAE, ISPA UMR1391 Villenave d'Ornon, France
  • 5École Normale Supérieure, Laboratoire de Géologie, Department of Geosciences France
  • 6University of Oslo, The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Geosciences Norway
  • 7University of Bologna, DICAM

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is the leading organisation for Earth, planetary and space science research in Europe. Each year the EGU holds its General Assembly (GA), which is the largest and most prominent geosciences event in Europe, attracting over 16,000 scientists from all over the world in the year 2019. In 2020 the General Assembly transitioned to a completely virtual format in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, with approximately 20,000 members participating. Using self-declared data provided by participants during the registration phase of the annual general assembly we were interested to learn how the attendance of Early Career Scientists (ECS) at the general assembly had evolved over recent years and especially during the transition to the fully online format. Within the EGU an ‘Early Career Scientist’ is defined as ‘a student, a PhD candidate or a practicing scientist who received their highest degree (e.g. BSc, MSc or PhD) within the past seven years’, with some exceptions to this time-frame that account for research career breaks. As ECS account for about half of the total EGU membership we tested whether there were any emerging trends in the database regarding the number of ECS attending the meeting between 2015 and 2020 and whether there were any shifts in the diversity of ECS with respect to gender and age during the same timeframe.

We observed a general increase (5-30%) in ECS participation from 2015 until 2020 irrespective of gender. In 2019, the total increase of all participants stalled, but the overall number of ECS participants still increased with 12%.

Around 55% of the ECS fall within the age-group ‘26-35 years' and a further 10% in the '18-25 years' group. These percentages have been very constant through the years, apart from the age-group ’36-45 years, which has seen a slight increase from 10-14% over the past years. All groups have seen an increase in the absolute number of ECS participants during the physical meetings. However, a continuation of this trend is less clear during the online GA, as about 60% of the ECS members refrained from sharing their age.

We also investigated to what extent ECS participate as conveners in scientific sessions. About 10-12% of the ECS members are active as conveners during the GA, with the majority self-declaring as male. Only during the virtual GA in 2020 did the number of women conveners equal the numbers for men. We observed an increase in the representation of ECS of the total convener’s pool from 30% to 43% during the physical GA’s. During the online GA in 2020 ECS representation was 31%.

One consideration with the ECS status of members, is that depending on someones career stage, privacy reasons, and the awareness of our members about the ECS definition, not all members who would qualify for the ECS status, are in our system as such, because it is a self-declared status. This data is extremely important as it allows the EGU to track the success and developments of initiatives that support ECS career and conference experiences.

How to cite: Beniest, A., Alves de Jesus-Rydin, C., Wingate, L., van Rijsingen, E., Popp, A., and Montanari, A.: Diversity amongst Early Career Scientist attendees and their participation at the annual EGU General Assembly: from in-person to online meetings, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12031,, 2021.

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