6 April 2017
By Denis-Didier Rousseau, Fall Meeting Program Chair
Spring not only yields the potential for much nicer weather and longer days, it is also, perhaps more importantly, the classic time to submit session proposals for the Fall Meeting. This is a critical scientific season, as it will strongly impact the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting program.
During my two terms as chair of the Program Committee, I have had the opportunity to introduce a number of new and collaborative scientific sessions in an effort to make the meeting more responsive to your needs. This included cross-listed and the co-sponsored classical sessions, and the innovative co-organized sessions.
Co-organized sessions offer the opportunity to build sessions covering more than the single topic that the regular Sections and Focus Groups can hold. They aim at having colleagues from different fields, Sections, or Focus Groups work together on a common idea or common topic that alone they could not address properly. This allows them to address a topic viewed under different angles, built by conveners from different horizons, and voluntarily look for abstracts from various disciplines in order to propose a truly transdisciplinary program. If you think you have such an idea, or would like to submit such a session proposal, contact your Section or Focus Group representatives or even myself for help in developing such a proposal.
Among the various topics addressed at the Fall Meeting, I would like to draw your attention to two topics of particular interest this year, especially when considering the shifting political landscape in the US: GeoHealth and data and emerging technologies. The former addresses proposals linking Geosciences and Health, two domains highly impacted by the recent proposals to cut research funding, and of particular societal interest when considering climate change and human health, medical geology, natural hazards and health, atmospheric science, air pollution, the health effects of fire, and the interface between water quality and health.
The latter, data and emerging technologies, is also under serious threat, despite being critical to scientific advancement and improving our understanding of how natural systems and phenomena operate and change. Not only is the archiving of data critical to the present scientific generation, but even more for the upcoming ones. Moreover, data acquisition follows technological developments that require innovation, and also dedicated support, which cannot necessarily be scheduled on a short time span.
For me, the collaborative session format is an excellent forum to demonstrate what scientific research is about, and the GeoHealth and data and emerging technologies topics are very effective and efficient platforms to show how innovative and truly competitive our Earth and space sciences are, and the incredible impact they have on our society.
Also, keep in mind that this year we are moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, a vibrant and dynamic city that will provide new and exciting opportunities. The convention center also offers more space, and therefore will allow the Program Committee, myself, and the AGU staff, to create a very exciting scientific program and a terrific overall experience for you. I encourage you to take this unique opportunity to be part of this extraordinary event.
Editor’s Note: President Eric Davidson and Meetings Director Lauren Parr recently wrote about AGU is Fostering International Collaboration Amid Policy Challenges at the Fall Meeting.