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EGU2019! An iLEAPS early careers scientist perspective

Article written by Gemma Purser

University of Edinburgh, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Forest Research

3rd year PhD student

Gemma Purser and James Cash talking about iLEAPS at the Flux and Chemistry of Volatile Organic Compounds technical workshop, Vienna 2019

This year I attended the European Geoscience Union (EGU) conference in Vienna, Austria but not to give a science poster or presentation but to help bring together scientists who research the interactions between land, ecosystems and the atmosphere with a particular focus on early career scientists.

I took up the role of chair for the European and Mediterranean regional committee of the Early Career Scientist Network (ECSN) for iLEAPS at the beginning of 2018 and going into the role I had some clear ideas of how we could build an early careers community. I have also been keen to try to extend interactions of early career scientists with established scientists, leaders in our field, whom for many of us may just feel like names listed on our favourite or “go to” journal articles. This is something I want to change in the future!

I went to EGU with three main aims:

1. To set up global events for early careers scientists.

For many of us in Europe our science may be conducted in other areas such as the Amazon rainforest, Antarctica, Far East Asia or Africa. It’s important we connect with other scientists not just in the countries in which we live but also where we currently work or want to work in the future. As an early career scientist I know how important it is to build up professional relationships with other scientists as it’s these interactions which may lead to working partnerships on joint research projects in the future. Becoming involved in activities within a network such as iLEAPS is a good way to start establishing these connections.

During my time at EGU I got to meet for the first time in person (instead of just over skype!) Stefan Wolff (Chair of Global ECSN), Kerneels Jaars (Chair of Sub-Saharan African ECSN), Nora Zannoni, Siegfried Schobesberger and James Cash (all from the European Committee). Our discussions have lead us to start developing a much more connected iLEAPS outlook with a more global perspective and this year we will be bringing you some ways in which you can get involved with the network and start to develop your own connections, so keep reading to find out more!

2. To launch a twitter poster conference specifically for early career scientists

The word is out, so get yourself signed up for the first ever iLEAPS twitter poster conference taking place on the 29th May 2019 00:00 UTC until 23:30 UTC.

If you don’t have the budget to attend international conferences this year or you can’t commit a whole week out of your studies to travel then this poster conference is a perfect way of being able to see what the latest research projects are within the field of biosphere-atmosphere interactions without even having to leave your front door.

Did I mention that this event is also FREE and is more environmentally friendly than jetting all across the globe!

Firstly register your interest here:

Next step is to upload your poster onto twitter on the 29th May!

You can make a poster specifically for the event or maybe recycle a poster you have already presented at a previous conference! Remember this is a new audience, an opportunity to present what you’re going to be studying, in the middle of studying or even your findings to all those people who might not have had the chance to get out to scientific conferences yet!

The day is also about interactions and discussions so get looking at the other posters by searching using the hashtag #iLEAPSearlycareers and remember to comment on the posters that look interesting to you, just like you would if you were there in person in the poster hall.

This event is being ran for all early career scientists but this doesn’t mean that senior scientist shouldn’t get involved too. It’s a great way for all scientist regardless of career stage to see what science is out there! So get signed up to twitter and let’s make this event something special!

3. To record seminar sessions from the iLEAPS sponsored workshop

I was lucky enough to help with the iLEAPS sponsored technical workshop on Flux and Chemistry of Volatile Organic Compounds. This was an event organised by Pawel Misztal from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. It took place in Vienna during the Friday and Saturday after the main EGU conference.

It was a great two days of discussions about PTR-MS, different instruments, measuring techniques, data analysis and scientific findings. The room was full of scientists working at the cutting edge of the field. If you are interested on who gave presentations on the day then the event programme can still be seen here:

The days were well attended and early career scientists made up just under half of those numbers which was great to see. However, we thought we could do more to allow the community to benefit from such a well organised and interesting event.

We were lucky enough that some scientists during the meeting allowed us to record their seminars and these will form part of our summer seminar series that will launch this year. Keep checking back on the iLEAPS ECSN sites or main iLEAPS website for the dates or better still get signed up to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on these webinar sessions!

And so to conclude…….

EGU for me was a great way to establish new connections with scientists that I hope will benefit the members of the iLEAPS ECSN and lead to exciting new events in the future for us all.



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