11 June 2020

AGU Fall Meeting is virtual (mostly) and remains global (always)

Posted by AGU Staff

By: Guy Brasseur, Fall Meeting Program Committee Chair; Sabine Stanley, Meetings Committee Chair; and Lauren Parr, Vice President, Meetings

We are excited to announce that #AGU20 will be mostly virtual. “Mostly” because if science and health professionals tell us it is safe for groups to convene, AGU would like to host a regional gathering in San Francisco. If we decide that is feasible, we will let you know by August. In addition, depending on where you’re located (and if it’s safe), you can create your own mini-#AGU20 watch party or hub. We’ll share guidance if you’re interested in being a convener of one of these mini-#AGU20 regional events.

No matter if we are 100% virtual or if regional gatherings are possible, #AGU20 will remain the global convening meeting for the Earth and space sciences community. And this year, we will be able to engage the wider global community.

#AGU20 will offer real-time sessions, networking and poster hall time that work for multiple time zones around the world. We will also offer recorded content so you can enjoy “on demand” or binge watch what others are sharing at any time.

We know that meeting fellow scientists and researchers are a major reason you attended Fall Meeting in the past and we’re going to make sure that remains a key feature this year. In fact, you may be able to meet even more people than you would have ever before by using some new tools that we’re testing out now.

This year’s theme is “Shaping the Future of Science.” We selected this theme in January 2020, but we couldn’t have imagined the events that have transpired over the last six months.

We have seen how the world’s trust and respect in science remains high. But we also know we have more work to do to be more inclusive and diverse.

Fall Meeting will offer sessions on:

  • COVID-19, from lessons learned in Earth and space sciences to ideas for what to do to advance research when one can’t be in the field or in the lab.
  • actions the Earth and space sciences should take to remove discrimination and eliminate racism to improve diversity and inclusion.
  • how to better communicate your science to policymakers, reporters, voters and other key audiences.

Of course, we’ll still have more than 1,000 sessions on everything ranging from Earth’s core to oceans to exoplanets. Convergent themes including global science policy, data, natural hazards and climate science will be prominently featured.

As you know, we’re also excited about our Presidential Forum speaker Leland Melvin, engineer, educator, former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver.

Since we’ll have all this content, plus networking and some fun surprises, we will have Fall Meeting concentrated 7-11 December. But we’ll also likely begin earlier in December to extend the time frame and organize programming around our scientific neighborhoods. This design will help reduce overlap while recognizing that you have other priorities that need your attention and can’t spend a full day attending Fall Meeting online.

We are still finalizing many details, but we wanted to let you know as soon as the decision was made. We will be adding additional FAQs to our website later today that will answer many of your questions too. But we ask for your continued support and patience so that we create a flexible, fun, interactive and engaging Fall Meeting 2020.

Starting the week of 22 June, abstracts will be accepted until Wednesday, 29 July. When you submit your abstract, your eLightning fee will be included so there will be no additional poster platform or printing fee. We can’t wait to see what you submit!

With these new and reimagined offerings at Fall Meeting, we will be charging a registration fee. It will be about 50% less than the in-person rate and lower for graduate students and other groups. We assure you that the value that you have always experienced at Fall Meeting in-person will remain in our virtual version.

We are testing a variety of technology now, which will also serve as the foundation for the future of AGU Fall Meetings. We will soon announce those different online tools that will best serve you to learn, share, network and engage. Over the next five months, we will be offering a number of opportunities to ensure you are comfortable with the new technology, including training sessions and open hours for “hands-on” demonstrations. As a reminder to students, if you’d be willing to volunteer, please email us. In return, you’ll receive free registration to #AGU20.

Finally, since we will be mostly virtual, we know our carbon footprint will be less than ever before. We will be placing a calculator to keep track of what we’ve used on our website. It also means we’re as mindful as ever about making sure we’re good stewards of our planet.

We know that Fall Meeting will be offered in a different way than we’ve experienced before, but our team is working to provide the best #AGU20. We are confident that with your continued support, we will make #AGU20 Fall Meeting the best one yet!