Each year at the General Assembly, the EGU organizes a limited number of Union Symposia (US) and Great Debates (GDB). These union-wide events are intended to be cutting-edge, focusing on current topics, and of interest to a broad range of the Earth, Environmental, Planetary and Space sciences. They can bring forward unresolved and highly debated research topics with an important broad scientific impact.

US and GDB can focus on research and innovation topics as well as on outstanding issues that matter for research, such as education, outreach, promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion, interfacing science with society, practitioners and policy makers.

US and GDB sessions are open to registered participants (on-site and online) of the EGU General Assembly.

Organizing US and GDB sessions

Union Symposia (US):

  1. US sessions aim at bringing the scientific community together to discuss ideas with experts on a given subject at the forefront of research covered by the EGU or on issues that matter for research and are of interest for the communities (see above).
  2. A US consists of one or two oral time blocks separated by a 30-minute break. Each time block has 1 hour and 45 minutes. Conveners should specify in their proposal their preference for one or two time blocks.
  3. Typically, US sessions host up to 3 presentations of 25 to 30 minutes each, which leaves 15 to 30 minutes for introduction and open discussion with attendees at the end of the session. It is up to the conveners team to choose the exact timing of the session.
  4. Solicited speakers can submit an abstract for this session. This should be done before the abstract deadline of the General Assembly (see deadlines and milestones table).
  5. Financial support to solicited speakers for travel/accommodation and/or registration can be requested by conveners (see conditions below).
  6. Further guidelines below also apply to US sessions when submitting a proposal.

Great Debates (GDB)

  1. GDB sessions aim at providing room for a panel discussion with a moderator on a given subject at the forefront of research covered by the EGU or on issues that matter for research and of interest for the communities (see above). A debatable or a pending question/issue should be identified, so that solicited panellists and the audience can exchange contradictory viewpoints over it.
  2. A GDB session consists of one time block of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  3. Typically, a GDB panel has 3 to 5 members in addition to the moderator.
  4. Solicited panellists do not submit an abstract.
  5. Financial support to solicited panellists for travel/accommodation and/or registration can be requested by conveners (see conditions below).
  6. Further guidelines below also apply to GDB sessions when submitting a proposal.

US and GDB sessions are live-streamed and recorded for on-demand viewing by registered conference attendants during the conference viewing material period (i.e., during and in the weeks following the General Assembly). They will also be archived online after the General Assembly for general viewing, subject to agreement from all speakers/panellists and the conveners team.

Submitting a proposal for a US or GDB session

Submission of proposals for a US or GDB session is possible during the public call-for-session (see deadlines and milestones table).

The proposals are evaluated for acceptance by the EGU Programme Committee. The Programme Committee takes into account the content of the proposal, the complementarity of the proposed topic with regard to the ensemble of topics proposed, and the availability of dedicated on-site rooms for the US/GDB sessions. Preference is given to transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary topics which are of interest to several EGU Programme Groups. The results of the evaluation are communicated to conveners at the end of October.

When submitting a proposal for a US or GDB session, please consider these guidelines:

  1. Read carefully the general convener guidelines and rules.
  2. The EGU strongly encourages diversity in career stage, gender, geographical origin, and scientific approaches for US and GDB speakers/panellists and for the conveners team.
  3. One can submit a maximum of 1 US and 1 GDB as lead convener. (Co-)convenership for US and GDB counts as an additional one in the EGU general rule of a maximum of 3 (co-)convenerships in total within the entire General Assembly programme, with one as lead convener.
  4. Conveners should have their sessions ready to be included in the final programme (description, list of speakers/panellists, titles of talks, timing of the session, etc.) by end of February. Any further session modification can be done following the general guidelines for conveners.

Moreover, proposals of US and GBD need to include the following additional information in the proposal form (this information is confidential to the Programme Committee):

  1. A justification of the union-wide character of the proposed session, indicating which EGU Programme Group(s) is/are more closely related to the proposed topi.
  2. A contact person in the Programme Committee or EGU Council (already contacted or to be contacted).
  3. A preliminary list of speakers/panellists, where you can indicate if any have already been contacted and/or agreed in principle to participate in the session in case it is accepted.
  4. Any potential financial support requested for speakers (up to 2) and the estimated amount (see below).

Financial support for US and GDB sessions

  1. US and GDB speakers, panellists, conveners, and moderators do not automatically receive discounted abstract processing charges, registration fees, or travel reimbursement.
  2. However, limited financial support can be requested by the lead convener in specific cases and with justification.
  3. The EGU will consider financial support requests for up to 2 speakers per US session and up to 3 panellists per GDB session. This support is generally intended for speakers who are not geoscientists, who would otherwise not attend the EGU General Assembly, and/or who do not have funds to cover their expenses.
  4. Requests can include support for abstract processing charges (when relevant), registration fees, up to 2 nights of accommodation (up to €150 per night), and/or travel (up to €400).
  5. Financial support requests are subject to approval by the EGU Treasurer and the EGU Executive secretary, under recommendation of the Programme Committee.
  6. Conveners must identify the speakers/panellists to receive financial support as well as the conditions of said support via a designated form, to be circulated by the EGU office. Conveners are responsible to maintain the financial support budget, as established upon session acceptance.