Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 – 23 September 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 September – 23 September 2022
Diversity and Inclusiveness in Planetary Sciences


Diversity and Inclusiveness in Planetary Sciences
Convener: Arianna Piccialli | Co-conveners: Victoria K Pearson, Andrea Opitz
| Mon, 19 Sep, 17:30–18:30 (CEST)|Room Andalucia 1
| Attendance Mon, 19 Sep, 18:45–20:15 (CEST) | Display Mon, 19 Sep, 08:30–Wed, 21 Sep, 11:00|Poster area Level 2

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Orals: Mon, 19 Sep | Room Andalucia 1

Chairpersons: Arianna Piccialli, Andrea Opitz
María Passas-Varo

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) is the largest Astronomy Institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). The creation of the Institute's Gender Equality Commission and the annual elaboration and approval of the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) of the IAA-CSIC since 2017 confirm the IAA support for inclusive initiatives in gender equality. In this presentation, I will show the effectiveness of the different GEPs over time, by analyzing the statistics segregated by gender of the main activities of the last years at IAA.

How to cite: Passas-Varo, M.: The effectiveness of Gender Equality Plans in public research centers: the example of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1238,, 2022.

Lenka Zychova, Karolien Lefever, Norma Crosby, Mark Dierckxsens, Stijn Calders, Pieter Bogaert, and Kris Passchyn

'A Touch of Space Weather' is a project that brings space weather science into the hands of blind and visually impaired high-school students. This project was awarded an EGU Public Engagement Grant in 2021.


We address three challenges: 

  • There is a high demand for educational material addressing STEM topics for blind and visually impaired students (B&VI).
  • During the covid pandemic, teachers and supporters of B&VI students required audio educational material.
  • Tactile images that translate visual content for B&VI students are needed. The challenge is to create them so that everyone can easily reproduce them.


Why space weather?

This project wants to highlight the importance of space weather, as it influences nearly every aspect of our modern life ranging from banking, navigation, and telecommunications to the power supply. It is an interdisciplinary subject and, therefore, ideal for explaining complex scientific topics. 

All topics addressed in this project are main points in science high-school education, such as the Sun, Earth's atmosphere, Earth's magnetic field, Radiation dose, and others. The explanation of these topics is done through the 'space weather lenses' to assure that the students understand the effects of cosmic radiation, solar wind and other phenomena on the human body, technology and infrastructure.


What do we develop?

  • Audio booklets that address specific topics related to space weather while being relevant to high school education 
  • Tactile images that help blind and visually impaired students to feel visual content relevant to the audio booklets

1) Audio booklets

The audio booklets will cover 12 topics:

  • Sun
  • Solar storm
  • Earth's atmosphere
  • Earth's magnetic field
  • Radiation dose
  • Aurora
  • Moon exploration
  • Space flight
  • Mars
  • Animal's magnetoreception

After receiving feedback from a group of six educators and teaching supporters for B&VI students, we have found out high priority topics that will be prepared first.

The audio booklets will be provided in three languages:

  • Dutch
  • French
  • English.

2) Tactile images and 3D models

Transformation of visual content into tactile content is not easy and needs plenty of tryouts. We developed nine tactile images that help to envision content from the audio booklets:

  • The Sun
  • Earth's atmosphere
  • Earth's magnetic field
  • Formation of aurora
  • Aurora
  • Radio communication
  • Geomagnetically induced electrical currents
  • Space weather effects
  • Radiation belts

All tactile images are made from easy-to-get materials from hobby shops. This way, everyone can reproduce the tactile images, not only the teacher but also family members & friends of B&VI students.

We have selected 11 models for 3D printing relevant to the project's topics. These models are public, and anyone with a 3D printer can print them out.

How do we share the content?

We will share the content physically with Belgian schools for B&VI students and publicly online.

1) 'A Touch of Space Weather' boxes

Several 'A Touch of Space Weather' boxes will be distributed to the schools and organisations providing education to B&VI people in Belgium. Each box will include one USB stick with all audio booklets, several 3D printed models and a set of tactile images. 

Non-B&VI students will prepare the tactile images during several workshops at regular high schools. In the first part of the workshop, non B&VI students will learn about space weather, and in the second part, they will create a set of tactile images based on our instructions. This way, students that are not blind will learn about space weather and inclusiveness. All images prepared by these students will be given to B&VI students through our boxes.

2) Website

To make the materials accessible online, we will provide them publicly on our website in three languages. In addition, tutorials and downloadable templates for tactile images will help teachers and parents to create tactile images; audio booklets will be streamable and downloadable.


Additional engagement

To engage B&VI students from the beginning, we organised a contest searching for a jingle that will be used as an introduction to each of the audio booklets. The winning jingles will be included in all our audio booklets.

In May 2022; we visited De Kade and provided two workshops for blind students. We have received their feedback on the materials we develop.

How to cite: Zychova, L., Lefever, K., Crosby, N., Dierckxsens, M., Calders, S., Bogaert, P., and Passchyn, K.: A Touch of Space Weather - Outreach project for visually impaired students, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1086,, 2022.

Rosa Doran

Diversity and Inclusion in science are big words. Inclusiveness means paving the way to facilitate the participation of all audiences, regardless of their social background, expertise, race and other hundred characteristics. Diversity is embracing our uniqueness. Many research and education projects claim that diversity and inclusion are an integral part of their actions. But are they really? This presentation intends to open the discussion on how to ensure the path towards a career in science is accessible to all, how to start paving the way from ground up. The journey starts in school and success stories of an inclusive and diverse path are not often told. What is your experience?

How to cite: Doran, R.: Diversity and Inclusion from Ground Up, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-536,, 2022.

András Illyés, Andrea Opitz, and Anita Heward

The EU-funded Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, together with the Europlanet Society, aims to build a diverse and inclusive European – and global – network of planetary scientists and space industry participants. It focuses on raising awareness of the existing prejudices and convinces decision-makers that the European planetary community can be more effective if we include people from the under-represented states better. This inclusion leads to more effective collaborations, a higher level of motivation and a wider range of viewpoints.

However, the global difficulties of the last few years are also strongly reflected in this area. The issue for the entire Europlanet community is that many conferences have been cancelled, the resources have dwindled and the opportunities seem to be shrinking – the under-represented states and their institutes are even more affected. The Widening Participation Task of Europlanet 2024 RI aims to proactively raise awareness and facilitate cooperation with individuals and institutions from under-represented states through workshops and meetings. But without workshops and meetings the options are very limited, new solutions need to be found.

Trends in participation data amid the aforementioned challenges have been analyzed. Data of geoscience (EGU, IUGG), planetary (EPSC) and solar-terrestrial science conferences (ESWW, ESPM) are investigated. The aim of this study is to better understand the situation and find the most appropriate response. Particular attention is paid to early career researchers, whose position seems to have improved in recent years.

Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 871149.

How to cite: Illyés, A., Opitz, A., and Heward, A.: Participation Trends and Geographical Diversity in Earth and Space Science, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1168,, 2022.

Edita Stonkute

The planetary sciences and related fields are built on the foundation of sharing knowledge and making it accessible to all. In August 2020, Europlanet launched the Mentorship platform with the aim to support early career researchers. The platform is built to help early career scientists to develop expertise, ask questions and discuss career plans with the support of more established members of the planetary community. The success of the mentorship programme highlights the need for this programme and the potential role it can play in developing the individuals within our community who will advance planetary sciences over the coming years. On behalf of mentoring team, I will present the Europlanet mentorship platform and the current status of the programme. Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

How to cite: Stonkute, E.: Mentorship opportunities, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-780,, 2022.

Mamta Pandey-Pommier and Arianna Piccialli and the IAU WiA WG members

The gender imbalance and diversity dimension of science and technology has become one of the most important and debated issues worldwide, impacting society at every level. The International Astronomical Union, through its Executive Committee Working Group on Women in Astronomy, has been a strong advocate for discussing these themes openly and for supporting initiatives that can improve a more balanced representation of diversity in our community.  The IAU Women in Astronomy (WiA) Working Group (WG)'s mandate is to collect information, propose measures, and initiate actions in support of, or to advance equality of opportunity for achievement between women and men in astronomy, in the IAU, and the world at large. It has 198 members as of now from all continents and we look forward to welcoming many more members from all over the world. In this talk, we provide an overview of IAU WiA WG activities as well as results of the recent survey on 'Working Conditions of Women in Astronomy' and the efforts being carried out by the WiA WG Organizing committee and regular members to improve the working conditions of women in Astronomy.

How to cite: Pandey-Pommier, M. and Piccialli, A. and the IAU WiA WG members: IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group activities and survey results, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1175,, 2022.

Display time: Mon, 19 Sep 08:30–Wed, 21 Sep 11:00

Posters: Mon, 19 Sep, 18:45–20:15 | Poster area Level 2

Chairpersons: Arianna Piccialli, Andrea Opitz
Ruth-Sophie Taubner, Christiane Helling, and Astrid Veronig

In 2022, the Space Research Institute in Graz (Austria) together with the Graz University of Technology and the University of Graz launches the Young Researcher Program in interdisciplinary space science and planetary research (YRP@Graz). This program aims to provide a network within which the PhD candidates will benefit from the infrastructure and the international standing of the scientific landscape of Graz. The various topics offered in the frame of this program range from the atmospheres of exoplanets via solar and heliospheric physics through to space instrumentation. The candidates have the opportunity to apply for two to five different projects.

For this newly established program, one major aim is to establish an inclusive application process that is open to everybody having a fitting academic and scientific background. The initiators of the program are aware of the challenges and limits that (unconscious) biases in application processes poses for organisations (e.g., gender bias as reported in Moss-Racusin et al., 2012) leading eventually to underperforming organisation because of an over-homogeneity of their staff. One first step to improve the current situation is implementing an anonymous questionary for the first stage of the application process. This is already a common procedure in the private sector (e.g., Rinne, 2018).

In the anonymous questionary, the candidates are asked to only give general information like the title of their master project or the expected date of finishing their master's degree. The only personal information given is the email address. The email address is needed for further communication with the candidates and, however, will not be forwarded to the appointments committee. All submissions are screened for personal information to remove them before handing over to the appointments committee. Besides information about the candidates' academic background, the applicants are invited to write a short statement about how their expertise would fit the chosen project(s) and a short proposal about what they would like to focus on during their PhD within the frame of the project(s). Further, we ask the candidates to reflect on their ethical behaviour in their research in order to assure research integrity.

From the applications submitted via the questionary, a substantial list of candidates will be compiled. These students will proceed to stage 2 and will be invited for an interview. Only at that stage, we will ask for personal information including reference letters, diploma certificate(s), etc.

We will present the questionary, statistics about and feedback from the applicants regarding the application process, and our conclusions and suggestions for improvements. With that we hope to motivate further institutions to perform open application processes to minimize biases and to raise the accessibility and inclusive atmosphere within science.



Young Researcher Program in interdisciplinary space science and planetary research (2022), Overview. Available at: (accessed: 5 May 2022).

Moss-Racusin, C.A.,  Dovidio, J.F. Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., and Handelsman, J. Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students (2012). PNAS, 109 (41), 16474 —16479, doi:10.1073/pnas.1211286109

Rinne, U. Anonymous job applications and hiring discrimination (2018). IZA World of Labor, 48 doi: 10.15185/izawol.48.v2

How to cite: Taubner, R.-S., Helling, C., and Veronig, A.: Anonymous Questionary to Minimize Biases in the Application Process of PhD Candidates for the Young Researcher Program in Graz, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-52,, 2022.

Erica Luzzi, Ines Belgacem, and Melissa Mirino and the EPEC committee

The EPEC (Europlanet Early Career) network was launched at EPSC in 2017, and since that day our community has grown exponentially. The idea was to create a friendly environment where early careers could meet, confront the complex dynamics of the academic career, and be involved in activities with the support of the Europlanet Society. In fact, the Europlanet Society itself felt the need of having a space where early-career researchers could gather and grow, and senior scientists played a fundamental role in supporting the new generations.

Today, EPEC reached that goal and is committed to building a strong network among young professionals by nurturing a supportive environment to develop various ideas within each themed working group (WG) and developing leadership skills. The EPEC community is open to all early-career planetary scientists and space professionals who obtained their last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) less than 7 years ago. 

Supervisors (and future supervisors) are of great help to spread the word about our community. By doing this, part of networking and understanding of the field will be complemented by the supervisor's perspective.

EPEC is structurally organized around 7 WGs (Fig.1): Communications, Diversity, EPEC@EPSC, Outreach, Annual Week, Early Career Support, and Future Research. Each WG, usually led by two Co-Chairs, works within its purview to best address the needs of early-career researchers and reflects on actions that can be implemented. This includes interviews, contests, and campaigns, continuously evolving thanks to new members and new ideas. We are working hard for every voice to be heard and this makes EPEC a very diverse and inclusive community.

Figure 1: EPEC is divided into 7 Working Groups (black outlined circles), each of them working on different topics (rimless circles).


The WGs are always looking for and welcoming other space enthusiasts who would like to contribute to the EPEC activities. Joining EPEC can be a great opportunity for early-career scientists. 

In fact, EPEC offers occasions to meet peers from all across Europe and beyond as well as interact with the broader Europlanet Society committees and members. It is also a great chance to develop new skills of collaboration, leadership, project and team management - all of which will be of great value in their career, academic or not. 

Every year, members of EPEC get together for two major events: the EPEC Annual Week (Fig. 2A) and the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) (Fig. 2B). 

Fig. 2: A) Social event at the 2nd Annual Week, Lisbon, Portugal; B) Early career short courses at EPSC.


The Annual Week is an event that gathers early careers from everywhere in the world, where different seminars and workshops foster a healthy, collaborative, and interactive reflection on topics related to academia and the challenges that early careers face. For the last two years, it has been organized virtually, which reduced our interaction but gave us the unique chance to expand the event in an unprecedented way. 

EPSC, on the other hand, is where EPEC members get a chance to present their scientific work to the entire community (including senior scientists) while connecting with other early careers through the EPEC@EPSC program. 

Being involved in EPEC means also contributing to making the best of these two events and perhaps creating additional occasions to meet and work together. 

Furthermore, EPEC supports early careers with open discussions about mental health (e.g. during the Annual Week), mentoring programs at EPSC, and the Motivational Journeys (Diversity WG) where scientists with different backgrounds share their stories and the obstacles they overcame. We are also going to launch our podcast soon, where we will invite guest speakers to highlight the relevance of a healthy routine during Ph.D. life and provide additional tips for young professionals to learn how to balance working hours and personal space.

This aspect is crucial, we can never stress enough the scientific community's need to be healthy, supportive, and let early careers express their difficulties in such a challenging career.

A few highlights of our current activities include:

  • Our Profile Of The Month initiative, to highlight early-career scientists' journeys;
  • Our Outreach Stories, that aim to inspire all researchers to share their science with the general public;
  • Stairway to Space - EPEC’s brand new podcast;
  • Video Contest PlanetaryScience4all, where the participants send a 4-minutes video about their PhD projects, and the winner gets free registration for the next EPSC;
  • The early-career program at EPSC - look out for the sessions!


To contact EPEC, message us by email (

Europlanet society members (of all career stages) and senior scientists in general are invited to follow EPEC on Twitter (@epec_epn) in order to help EPEC gain visibility among the early careers. More info on EPEC’s activities and how to keep up to date or get involved can be found on our website. 

To join EPEC on Slack, scan the QR code:

(for early careers only)

How to cite: Luzzi, E., Belgacem, I., and Mirino, M. and the EPEC committee: The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network: Building a Community to Support Junior Researchers, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-586,, 2022.

Marina Molla, Panagiotis Amperiadis, and Georgia Nonna Kyriazopoulou

Astronomy workshops were implemented in the 9th Primary School of Komotini which is an urban school located in the north-eastern part of Greece. The challenge that the school has to tackle is irregular attendance and school dropout. About half of the students come from families that face socioeconomic hardship, live in marginalised settlements in the city and belong to the Muslim minority of Thrace. Their school attendance is characterized by absenteeism that negatively affects the continuity of learning and the development of cognitive and social skills. These are followed by the loss of their self confidence, their alienation in the classroom and the school community. Thus the aim of the school is to be inclusive by accepting and attending to student diversity. Hence, the School administration and teacher staff has decided to implement interdisciplinary various workshops during the whole school year that include Storytelling, Drama, STEAM, Arts, Athletics, Pottery and Gardening. The Astronomy workshops were implemented collaboratively by a teacher, the Arts Teacher and the Music Teacher and in specifically included:     

1. Planetarium workshop:

The School has a Planetarium which is a Geodesic Dome made out of white plastic film and a wooden skeleton. It consists of six pentagons, five hexagons and five half hexagons and has a diameter of 5m and height of 3m.  It was made in 2018 by children to inspire other children about astronomy. Presentations were given to the whole school, six grades, eight classes, (132 students). The presentations which were focused on the solar system and famous missions were adjusted to their age. Free online videos, Stellarium and NASA’s Eyes were used for the presentations.

2. Music and movement workshop:

Next to the Planetarium is the School’s dance room. After the planetarium presentations the students participated in a music and movement workshop. They listened to sounds of the planets in our solar system and were enhanced by the teacher to kinetically express themselves and guided tο recreate in teams the orbits and rotations of the planets.   

3. 3D Printing workshop:

In the ICT Lab students were introduced to 3D printing using Tinkercad a free web app. The School is an eTwinning STEM 3.0 School and was granted a 3D Printer in March. In teams students designed and 3D printed rockets, robotic spacecrafts and space suits.

4. Art workshop:

In the Art room and under the guidance of the Art teacher the students created a collective artwork inspired by the solar system and what they had learnt. Each class contributed by working on a specific part of the synthesis. The artwork is a 3D installation in the space of the corridor of the school that leads to the Planetarium. Polystyrene spheres balls were used for the 3D models of the Sun and planets and were painted with Fluorescent paints that can shine under UV black light. For the scale of the solar system of the artwork the sizes of the planets were taken in consideration in comparison with the Sun.


I would like to acknowledge the teachers and students of the 9th Primary School of Komotini.

How to cite: Molla, M., Amperiadis, P., and Kyriazopoulou, G. N.: Astronomy Workshops: Implementation in Greek Primary School, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1212,, 2022.

Arianna Piccialli, Christine Bingen, Lê Binh San Pham, Lucie Lamort, Karolien Lefever, and Marie Yseboodt

On 25 June 2022, the third edition of Soapbox Science takes place in Brussels. Soapbox Science is a public outreach platform that was initiated in London, UK in 2011 to promote women in science, and that was spread worldwide since then. Between 2011 and 2018, 40 cities hosted the initiative in not less than 8 countries over 4 continents, and in 2020, despite the pandemic, 56 events were organized in 14 countries around the world.

While the start of Soapbox Science Brussels was challenged by the COVID pandemic, a first virtual event was organised in the fall of 2020 via the YouTube and Facebook platforms [1]. Despite the difficulties related to the sanitary conditions, the first real-life edition of Soapbox Science Brussels finally took place in the heart of the Belgian capital in June 2021, following the standard format prescribed by the international Soapbox Science initiative. This event was a success, both with respect to the response of the scientific community and with regard to the interest of the public during the event. The third edition of Soapbox Science Brussels is currently in preparation, the list of selected speakers is already available and we just launched the campaign for the recruitment of volunteers.

In this communication, we present the development of the Soapbox Science initiative in Belgium. We describe the motivations, challenges, issues and opportunities encountered throughout the process, and how Soapbox Science is gradually taking its place in the Belgian context for the promotion of women in sciences.



Twitter account: @SoapboxscienceB


[1] Pham, L. B. S., et al., Soapbox Brussels, une première en Belgique, Science connection nr. 65, August-september 2021;

in French:;

in Dutch:

How to cite: Piccialli, A., Bingen, C., Pham, L. B. S., Lamort, L., Lefever, K., and Yseboodt, M.: Soapbox Science Brussels: an outreach platform for the promotion of Women in Sciences in Belgium, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1224,, 2022.