In-person EGU after 4 years!

It has been four years since my last in-person attendance at the EGU (European Geosciences Union) conference. Stepping into the familiar surroundings felt both distant and comforting, reminding me of what I love most about science.

Undoubtedly, the presentations and posters are the highlights of EGU. The schedules were packed, requiring unwavering focus throughout the day. Among the myriad of topics, I noticed a particular emphasis on plants and ecosystems’ response to extreme climate events, such as drought-induced effects on hydraulics and mortality, the influence of CO2 fertilization, and thermal acclimation. Previously, my studies primarily focused on long-term adaptation and average climate conditions. However, in the face of global climate change, understanding how plants respond to these extreme events becomes crucial. It prompted me to reflect on how my research could contribute to the understanding of plants’ responses to sudden drought events.

Science thrives on communication and the exchange of ideas, and EGU provides the perfect platform for such interactions. It felt somewhat surreal to match faces with people I had only seen on Zoom. Nonetheless, engaging in conversations and discussions with people about their fascinating findings was truly invigorating. With presentations limited to just 10 minutes, it encouraged me to continue the conversations during coffee breaks. I took full advantage of this opportunity to connect with individuals I wished to speak to and gain deeper insights into their research. Everyone was kind and patient in answering my questions. As I approach my senior year and contemplate potential postdoctoral opportunities, EGU provided an ideal opportunity to explore various research groups and their interests.

Participating in the poster session for the first time proved to be a fruitful experience (see abstract: After setting up my poster in the morning and attending oral sessions, my friend texted me to inform me that several people had stopped by to browse my work. I wish I had a doppelganger to present my poster while I was engrossed in the oral presentations. During my poster session, I engaged with different individuals, ranging from experts in the field to those who were simply intrigued by my research. Understanding my audience before engaging in conversations was crucial in effectively conveying my ideas and promoting my work. I received valuable feedback and recognition, which significantly boosted my confidence to continue pushing my research forward.

Presented my poster to others

Beyond attending and presenting, I also had the opportunity to serve as a co-convener for the first time (Thanks Sandy for the invitation). This experience provided insights into the session organization process, from abstract submissions and session advertising to the nomination of judges and the presentations by PhD candidates who signed up for the OSPP contest. Although our session ultimately became a poster session due to insufficient submissions, I still learnt valuable lessons from this experience. It made me reflect on the numerous individuals working on optimality and highlighted the need to expand my network.

BG9.6 session “Exploring the use of optimality approaches in vegetation and land-surface models”

Since the pandemic, EGU has offered me a scientific feast, allowing me to learn about other researchers’ works. I believe even a concise 10-minute presentation is more effective in impressing the audience with important findings than a one-hour paper reading. As Katharine Sanderson wrote, “Scientists who have attended meetings are more likely to cite work discussed in talks they could see in person, compared with results described in sessions that they could not attend” (source:

Though it has only been a month since the conference ended, I am already eagerly anticipating the next EGU in 2024!


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