In September 2022 I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the International Programme Committee (IPC) for the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Global Space Conference on Climate Change 2023 (GLOC 23) which is to be held in Norway this May. GLOC is the IAF's climate focussed conference where academic researchers, space agencies, and industry come together to discuss the use of space to aid in the fight against climate change. The theme for this year's conference is "Fire and Ice - Space for Climate Action" with papers and presentations covering a variety of topics from climate change impacts and challenges, to present and future collaboration on space missions related to climate change.
I was surprised to be invited to join the IPC since I'm at the start of my academic career, mid-way through a PhD programme in Aerospace Sciences. This feeling of surprise quickly evolved into apprehension as I joined the first call with a variety of world-leading experts from NASA, UK, European and International Space Agencies and various universities and industrial fields.
After the initial sessions used to plan out the broad themes of the conference, identify timelines for abstract and paper submission and selection of presentations I was then asked to join the technical committees of two sessions; Climate Change Impacts and Challenges and Weather, Climate and Environmental Intelligence. As co-chair of the two sessions, my responsibilities included reviewing the abstracts submitted, selecting oral and interactive presentations and recommending any potential topics that could be given a larger platform as a plenary talk.
While reviewing the abstracts, I realised the wealth of knowledge I'd built up over the past year working on the OirthirSAT programme, to the point where I could contribute to and lead discussions around the topics we wanted to hear presented at the conference. While my background is in control systems and not climate science, working with scientists at the University of Glasgow and the wider LaunchUK team has enabled the whole team to diversify our skillsets to cover the climate applications stemming from nanosatellite missions.
Post-conference the committees will meet again to produce reports on each technical session, describing the key themes that were discussed and what future conferences could focus on. A great deal of time is spent considering papers and the flow of each session to ensure that as much content is accessible in the limited duration of each symposium. A big shout-out to my colleagues on the technical committees, Bruce Chesley, Annamaria Nassisi and Charles Wooldridge for making the selection process smooth and enjoyable!
I've grown tremendously throughout the experience since joining the first IPC meeting in September and definitely feel comfortable in the role as a committee member! I can echo what many other mentors have said to me, that development requires that you put yourself out there which inevitably comes with a few nerves when it's to do with something new.
I would encourage everyone to look at attending the GLOC 23 conference if possible and to get in touch if you are going to be present in Oslo. The IAC abstract submission deadline is also approaching so consider submitting an abstract to present at the world's largest space conference!
Take a look at the programme for GLOC 23 at the following link!