vPICO sessions

All scientific sessions at vEGU21 will be run in the new virtual PICO (vPICO) format, which is modelled after the popular interactive touchscreen presentations used at in-person EGU General Assemblies. Each 1.5-hour-long vPICO session will feature approximately 20 abstracts and be divided into two parts: an overview and chats.

1) Overview

  • 2-minute talks: an introductory round of live 2-minute talks (each based on a single slide) will be presented in a central video chat moderated by the session conveners. The slide (*.png, *.jpg, 150 dpi) should summarize the essence of the research in the meeting abstract and must be uploaded at least 24 hours prior to your session’s start.
  • While conveners, chairpersons, and presenting authors gather in the live video chat, the session attendees watch the stream from these live presentations and can comment in form of a text chat, all combined on the session page.
  • Conveners have the option of including one 10-minute solicited presentation per 1.5-hour session time block.

2) Chats

  • Breakout text chats: starting after all 2-minute talks of a time block have been finished, each presentation will have its own live text chat, where participants can post questions to the abstract authors to stimulate further discussion, just as PICO presenters assemble around touchscreens to continue their conversations in Vienna.
  • Central video chat: during the breakout text chats, the central video chat, formerly used only by conveners, chairpersons, and presenting authors, opens for all attendees for further group discussion hosted by the conveners. Attendees will be able to simultaneously participate in the central video chat and as many of the live text chats as they wish.

Session scheduling

All vPICO sessions will be scheduled during the week of 26–30 April. The daily programme will include four 1.5-hour time blocks separated by 30-minute breaks (1 hour during lunch).

The link for each video chat will become active 15 minutes prior to the session's scheduled start time (CEST). Because the same video chat channels will be used throughout the day, it will not be possible to extend any session's central video chat. Instead, live text chats will continue for up to an additional 30 minutes beyond the scheduled end time to accommodate further discussion. For those wishing to continue their discussions, there will be an option to organize pop-up networking sessions. More information about these will be available soon.

Key deadlines

  • 31 March – early bird registration ends at midnight CEST.
  • 31 March – upload of display materials and commenting begin.
  • 23 April at 13:00 CEST – deadline to upload pre-recorded 2-minute presentations (if you aren't able to present your research live). EGU encourages authors to incorporate closed captions in their recordings; more guidance will follow regarding how best to do this.
  • 24 hours prior to your session's start – last opportunity to upload a single slide (*.png, *.jpg, 150 dpi) for your live 2-minute talk.

Union-wide sessions

Most Union-wide sessions (i.e. Union Symposia, Great Debates, Medal Lectures, etc.) will be held during the first week of vEGU21, from 19-23 April:

  • The keynote Union Symposia and Great Debates will take place as webinars and will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Questions will be asked through a central chat, and speakers will answer orally.
  • Most Medal Lectures and Short Courses will be held as webinars. A few Short Courses will be pre-recorded for on-demand viewing following their scheduled release time.
  • Townhall events will also take place as webinars. Questions will be asked via the central chat, with speakers answering orally.
  • EGU Division meetings will be organised as Zoom meetings.
  • EGU will continue its tradition of offering the opportunity for participants to apply to organize splinter meetings: public meetings on non-commercial matters. These will be free of charge and listed in the programme with a link to the video chat. Splinter meeting applications are due by 9 April 2021.

More information about pre-scheduled networking sessions will be published in March.

Displays and commenting

  • All scientific sessions offer the possibility to upload display materials that will be accessible for registered conference attendees during a 2-month period from 31 March to 31 May. Whilst uploading of display materials should be done prior to the start of vEGU21, modifications are possible throughout this 2-month period.
  • In addition to display materials (*.pdf, *.ppt/pptx, *.pps/ppsx, *.png, *.html, or *.mp4 file), authors can provide a DOI or URL linking to a presentation they have pre-recorded and submitted to portals like YouTube. If *.mp4 files are uploaded, these will be submitted to the vEGU21 Vimeo channel accessible for registered attendees.
  • If authors opt for the open-access Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), their display materials become openly accessible to everyone through EGUsphere a month after vEGU21: Gather Online ends.
  • Registered conference attendees can comment on uploaded display materials through the conference platform during the 2-month period from 31 March to 31 May, except if authors opt out of the commenting option.

Background and concept

  • In an effort to make its General Assembly greener, the EGU has implemented several initiatives over the years. However, the main source of CO2 emissions has always been attendee travel to Vienna.
  • The EGU has worked to improve the accessibility and the inclusiveness of its General Assembly. EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online showed that a virtual conference can be both very accessible and very inclusive, therefore strengthening diversity, which is an essential ingredient for scientific progress. The virtual discussions, and in particular the live text chats, proved much more inclusive than more traditional formats of feedback with respect to gender, career stage, and native language.
  • The EGU strongly promotes the equal importance of all scientific presentations at its General Assemblies, independent of format; please see EGU's statement on scientific presentations at the EGU General Assembly. EGU makes no distinction regarding the standing, quality, or prestige of oral, poster, or PICO presentations. EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online had the great advantage that all presentations in scientific sessions had the same format and all authors had the same opportunities for spotlighting their research. The Sharing Geoscience Online format turned out to be a very successful way of presenting new results, and the community enjoyed outstanding virtual presentations. The virtual portions of future EGU General Assemblies must foster the advantages of equal presentation formats.
  • The in-person EGU General Assemblies have always had the strength of networking: the community met in person, discussions were fostered, dedicated networking breaks were implemented, and many receptions allowed casual exchanges between participants from all around the world. Personal contacts are reduced in virtual meetings and, from the feedback on EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online, this was the aspect that was missed the most. vEGU21: Gather Online aims to provide as many opportunities for contacts and networking as possible.
  • vEGU21: Gather Online will be a virtual conference that brings all components of an in-presence EGU General Assembly online and makes everyone feel welcome!

In the post-COVID era, we envision hybrid meetings as an ideal format to reconcile inclusiveness, greening, and in-person networking. We will develop the concept for future EGU General Assemblies based on feedback from vEGU21 and input from the broad Earth, planetary, and space science community.