Next week the European Geoscience Union (EGU) will be hosting their General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. This annual gathering draws over 10,000 people from across the world with presentations and posters on a broad range of geoscience subjects.
Alongside a presentation on my PhD research into ‘Multi-Hazard Risk Analysis’ I will be giving a short presentation about the work of GfGD in training and equipping young geoscientists to communicate and do effective disaster risk reduction in the developing world. The talk will outline two gaps that I believe hinder the engagement of young geologists with this important area of work: (i) the lack of teaching and discussion opportunities on undergraduate and postgraduate geoscience courses regarding vulnerability and disaster risk reduction, and (ii) the lack of opportunities for students/recent graduates to gain experience in this sector.
GfGD is working to address these barriers through (i) the development of ‘soft skills’ – in particular communication skills and learning to share information to a wide range of groups, (ii) opportunities to engage with issues such as community vulnerability and education – through university seminars, and (iii) opportunities to gain experience in the sector. It is hoped that the opportunity to give this presentation will generate some interesting discussion amongst academics about their teaching schedules and course content, as well as raise the profile of GfGD to a wider audience.
For an excellent paper outlining the challenges and suggested solutions of science communication within disaster risk reduction, see D. Liverman (2010) Communicating Geological Hazards: Educating, Training, and Assisting Geoscientists in Communication Skills in T. Beer (ed.) Geophysical Hazards, International Year of Planet Earth.