Getting the early career HEPEX initiative off the ground
On 7 May 2021, 32 early career scientists and young professionals from 17 different countries met online for the kick-off meeting of a new early-career initiative: EC-HEPEX! EC-HEPEX is part of the wider HEPEX community and aims to bring together people in the early stages of their careers related to hydrological prediction, working as a space for communication, collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Learn more about the initial vision in our first blog post. To be part of the EC-HEPEX (and HEPEX) community, you just need to have an interest in hydro-meteorological ensemble prediction and/or be working in a field that is related, be that studying, research, operations, or otherwise. The aim of the kick-off meeting was to get this initiative off the ground and frame together what we want EC-HEPEX to look like.
We started the meeting with an overview of HEPEX by co-chair Ilias Pechlivanidis, followed by a presentation of the motivations to put together EC-HEPEX by HEPEX blog editor and member Rebecca Emerton (see motivations in first blog post linked above). There was then an ice-breaker serious game, created and presented by HEPEX co-chair James Bennett (those familiar with HEPEX will know that while ensemble predictions are the bread and butter of HEPEX, serious games are its jam). This was followed by discussions in smaller groups on:
- What would you like to see / do / learn as part of a HEPEX early career community?
- What would you like future EC-HEPEX meetings to be about / look like?
What would you like to see / do / learn as part of a HEPEX early career community?
There is enthusiasm for an EC-HEPEX group as part of the wider HEPEX community, for early career scientists to connect, collaborate, share ideas and support each other. There is also an interest in having a tangible way for those who are new to the field to join HEPEX, and to learn more about hydro-meteorological ensemble forecasting, from the basics to the latest state-of-the-art research and forecasting techniques. EC-HEPEX could also be a great way for those in the early stages of their careers, including/especially students, to learn more about the different types of jobs related to the field and participate in career advice clinics. It could also provide a space for linking up with other early career networks and finding out about relevant opportunities such as training courses, PhD positions and job advertisements all related to HEPEX. EC-HEPEXers are also keen to get involved in other topics such as science communication, serious games, art, and more!
What would you like future EC-HEPEX meetings to be about / look like?
The general consensus was that it would be useful to have EC-HEPEX virtual meetings every 3 months, with side-meetings for special events or specific topics, alongside in-person meetings. Future meetings are likely to involve informal get-togethers to regularly meet new people, get to know other EC-HEPEXers and start new collaborations. Other meetings would be dedicated to sharing knowledge – including both ‘introduction to HEPEX science’ and opportunities to share the work being done by EC-HEPEXers around the globe, the latest research and forecasting techniques etc. EC-HEPEXers also loved the idea of having both ‘meet the expert’ events and ‘meet the expert flipped’, where EC-HEPEXers can present challenges and problems and experts can provide opinions and advice.
One of the first EC-HEPEX resources we’ve put together is a padlet as part of the Water Youth Network / Early Warning Systems Young Professional’s 12 months of Early Warning Systems. It provides a set of links and resources about the value of ensembles in hydro-meteorological forecasting and early warning systems. These are key resources that may be good for people just getting into the field or wanting to learn a bit about ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting and decision-making.
How to get involved and what’s next?
To get involved in EC-HEPEX, please sign up to our Slack Channel using this link [expires 10 July 2021]. This is a space to chat with other EC-HEPEXers, share ideas, ask questions and connect at any time, in between meetings. If this link expires, please email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and they will send you a new one.
The next HEPEX workshop is the Joint Virtual Workshop 2021 between ECMWF-CEMS-C3S-HEPEX-GFP on “Connecting global to local hydrological modelling and forecasting: scientific advances and challenges”. It will be held virtually from 29 June to 1 July 2021, and registration is free and open until 28 June 2021.
We plan to run another specific EC-HEPEX virtual meeting in early Autumn, so please stay in touch through Slack, follow us on Twitter @hepexorg, and sign up to the hepex mailing list to keep informed about all HEPEX related activities.
What are your thoughts and perspectives on the EC-HEPEX kick-off meeting and initiative? Let us know in the comments below!