CreativeDrought in Vienna

By Sally Rangecroft

We have been very quiet on the blog front recently because of finishing fieldwork, the Easter holidays and then last week myself and Anne went to Europe’s largest geoscientist conference (EGU) in Vienna to showcase CreativeDrought. This year ~14,500 scientists descended upon Vienna for the conference, from 107 different countries.

EGU is held in the Austria Centre, which is a maze of a conference centre with four floors of seminar rooms and poster halls with simultaneous sessions (649 unique sessions throughout the week) resulting in busy days of running around between different talks and meeting. The poster sessions happen every evening straight after the day of presentations and are a great opportunity to see what current research scientists across the world are doing.

EGU, Vienna: A busy international conference with over 14,000 scientists attending

I presented a poster introducing the CreativeDrought project as an “interdisciplinary approach to building resilience to drought”. It was in the session “Hydrology & Society: Transdisciplinary approaches to hydrology and water resources management”. The session was organised by Stuart Lane and we had chance to look at the posters of other presenters at the start of the poster session before we then remained by our individual posters to talk to those interested. Also presenting in the poster session were some other very interesting topics – including research in the Peruvian Andes, Senegal, Nepal and Bangladesh. There was a lot of interest in the poster and I engaged in some interesting discussions about some of the challenges of communicating science to communities, measuring resilience, coping capacity and memories of natural hazards.


Poster: Presenting our poster in the “Hydrology & Society: Transdisciplinary approaches to hydrology and water resources management” session

I also met Conor Murphy from Maynooth University who has done fieldwork out in Malawi and Zambia on an interdisciplinary project looking into how belief systems influence communities coping capacity to challenges such as climate change (his paper related to this can be found here:

As well as the science, I should mention that Vienna is a very beautiful city and I very much enjoy walking around it in between conference sessions, as well as enjoying lunch breaks by the Danube River.

Vienna: Taking in the sights of the city – the Danube, the buildings and cathedrals and enjoying some Austrian food

It was an extremely successful conference, although somewhat busy, and it was really good to be able to introduce CreativeDrought to the scientific community and discuss some of the interesting aspects of interdisciplinary working, science communication in rural communities and ideas for future work.

It is also worth highlighting that our own project PI, Anne Van Loon, received a prestigious award at this years EGU, being presented with the Hydrological Sciences “Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award 2017” ( She gave an interesting and inspirational medal lecture on the Tuesday to a very full room. Well done Anne!


Anne’s medal lecture: Presenting the work from her scientific career to date


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