Astrobiology (general)

AbGradCon 2021: Lessons in Digital Meetings, International Collaboration, and Interdisciplinarity in Astrobiology

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 28, 2022
Filed under
AbGradCon 2021: Lessons in Digital Meetings, International Collaboration, and Interdisciplinarity in Astrobiology

The Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon) is an annual conference both organized for and by early career researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and students as a way to train the next generation of astrobiologists and develop a robust network of cohorts moving forward.

AbGradCon 2021 was held virtually on September 14-17, 2021, hosted by the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of Tokyo Institute of Technology after postponement of the in-person event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting consisted of presentations by 120 participants from a variety of fields, two keynote speakers, and other career building events and workshops. Here, we report on the organizational and executional aspects of AbGradCon 2021, including the meeting participant demographics, various digital aspects introduced specifically for a virtual edition of the meeting, and the abstract submission and evaluation process.

The abstract evaluation process of AbGradCon 2021 is unique in that all evaluations are done by the peers of the applicants, and as astrobiology is inherently a broad discipline, the abstract evaluation process revealed a number of trends related to multidisciplinarity of the astrobiology field. We believe that meetings like AbGradCon can provide a unique opportunity for students and early career researchers in astrobiology to experience community building, inter- and multidisciplinary collaboration, and career training and would be a welcome sight in other fields as well. We hope that this report provides inspiration and a basic roadmap for organizing future conferences in any field with similar goals.

Tony Z. Jia, Kristin N. Johnson-Finn, Osama M. Alian, Irene Bonati, Kosuke Fujishima, Natalie Grefenstette, Thilina Heenatigala, Yamei Li, Natsumi Noda, Petar I. Penev, Paula Prondzinsky, Harrison B. Smith

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:2202.12892 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2202.12892v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Tony Z Jia [view email]
[v1] Thu, 24 Feb 2022 23:52:11 UTC (3,347 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻