EFG mentees and mentors have teamed up for the Geoscience for Society Challenge

Early in 2018, EFG has kicked-off the first season of its International Mentoring Programme which brings together early-career geoscientists with experienced professionals who support them in better defining and pursuing their career goals. Since the programme’s scope is international, most meetings between mentees and mentors take place virtually using different telecommunication methods.

EFG’s Geoscience for Society Challenge has offered one of this year’s mentoring teams to meet face-to-face in Brussels, at the occasion of the Horizon Geoscience Dinner Debate which was held on 26 September 2018 and brought together EU policymakers and geoscientists to discuss how the geosciences can support policymaking more efficiently, especially in the light of the forthcoming Horizon Europe framework programme for research and innovation.

For Antonio Polo and Christian Schaffalitzky, the winners of the Challenge, this was indeed the first time they could meet face-to-face and they appreciated this occasion offered by EFG to deepen their cooperation and network, at the same time, with other European geoscientists.

Antonio Polo and Christian Schaffalitzky, winners of the Geoscience for Society Challenge

The idea behind this initiative was to invite both mentees and mentors to reflect on how to promote the importance of geoscience towards society. The participants have submitted many innovative ideas, ranging from the organisation of an annual geology day with public outreach activities, to the representation of an area’s geology through cakes or other food, and an advertisement campaign on public screens which highlights the importance of geoscience to society. The mentoring programme’s steering group was pleased about the diversity and the creativity of the proposals made and the selection of the winners turned out to be tough.

The winners Antonio Polo and Christian Schaffalitzky proposed to “make a television programme modelled on the UK car programme “Top Gear”. This programme could be performed by three geologists that have to deal with different geological challenges where they would have to explain various aspects of different fields of geology. One example could be climbing a mountain, where during the climb, the performer would have to explain the structure of the mountain, when was it formed and which rocks are the best for safety and strength. Another one could be walking over a (cooled!) lava flow in Hawaii (USA) with the challenge for the geologist to explain the risks to life and property (very easy at the moment!).”

You can learn more about the EFG Mentoring Programme in the following short video: