News

On-site Conference at a glance

What a pleasure it was to have a number of participants on-site to reconvene the network after a long period. Thank you to those who took the time and effort to travel to Bratislava for the Annual Conference on Earth System Governance.

Stanislava Brnkalakova and Tatiana Kluvánková at the Closing Plenary
Conference dinner overlooking the Danube and Bratislava Castle
Conference Dinner
Local Wine Tasting
Hybrid in Action
End of Day One
Slovak Cheese Selection
Bratislava Team
Pre Conference Dinner
Exploring the Pečniansky forest

The 2021 Bratislava Conference closes

At the Closing Plenary Session, Conference Chair Tatiana Kluvánková provided three prominent themes that encapsulated this annual Earth System Governance conference: collaboration, social change, and the (virtual) community – all of which have been in focus throughout the week. Similarly, the Closing Plenary panel discussion created space for a range of reflections. For Stanislava Brnkalakova, a key member of the 2021 Bratislava organizing team, the conference theme strongly reflected dialogues around ecosystem services and digital innovation, in our personal research and practices, as well as civil society involvement. Susan Park spoke for many when she expressed gratitude for Opening Speaker Prof. Karen O’Brien, highlighting the importance of how we, as individuals, relate and connect to others in an entangled world. Jasper Montana, the winner of the 2021 Oran R. Young Prize, spoke of the challenge to understand deeply diverse contexts and relations within a broader global perspective at the same time. Finally, Prakash Kashwan queried how we as a community can engage in collective action to create policy-relevant and politically salient work. His quote later in the evening described Earth System Governance as the “cross-cutting interdisciplinary communities of colleagues & friends, who are working together to push the field beyond the scholarly comfort levels. Onward & upward!”

Our biggest thanks go to you, the Earth System Governance community, who have shown up and brought your energy, insights, and questions to each of the sessions. An event like this is the core of the Earth System Governance network’s activities and we hope that it will inspire and lead to more collaborative work to take place in the future.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all members of the Organizing Team who worked to put this hybrid event and mammoth programme together, especially Ivana Vybochova the conference manager, among the many others involved.

We are also deeply grateful for the support and engagement of our Co-Hosts: Utrecht University, The German Development Institute, SIMRA, Stockholm University; as well as the Supporting Organizations: African Research and Impact Network, The International Society for Ecological Economics, and The MIT Press (who kindly sponsored the Oran R. Young Prize). There is so much behind the scenes, but seeing everything come together makes the hard work worth the effort.

Session Recordings
Recorded videos from Plenary, Semi-Plenary, and Innovative Sessions will be made available in the coming weeks on the Earth System Governance youtube channel. Parallel Panel videos will not be available publicly but will be available per request. Re-live some of the conference and commentary or continue the conversation by checking out the #ESG2021 hashtag on Twitter.

Get involved with the Earth System Governance Community
If this has been your first experience with the Earth System Governance community, make sure to get involved. There are plenty of opportunities. As announced at the Closing Plenary, the next annual conference will take place in Toronto, Canada in November 2022. In the meantime, it is possible to connect and get engaged with Earth System Governance Taskforces, Working Groups, our series of publications including the Earth System Governance Journal, as well as early-career activities. Calls and opportunities will be regularly circulated from our newsletter which you can sign up for via our website. Information on how to submit an application to be a research fellow of the project can be found here.

On behalf of the Hosts Organizations and Organizing Team of the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance, we thank you warmly for participating, both virtually and on-site!
Tatiana Kluvánková, Conference Chair, CETIP, SlovakGlobe, Slovak Academy of Sciences and Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava.
Gustav Thungren, Managing Director of the Earth System Governance Project

Conference Program is released

The Organizing team is counting down the days until we can host the 2021 Bratislava Conference: Earth System Governance in Turbulent Times, Prospects for Political and Behavioural Responses.

The final Book of Abstracts is complete and the Conference Programme (Virtual and On-site) is now available for viewing, with scheduled timeslots for all panels and presenting authors. All-in-all, the 2021 Bratislava Conference will host 3 plenary sessions, 6 Semi-Plenary sessions, 10 Innovative sessions, 86 Parallel Panels with over 350 different papers, and 10 sessions at the Taskforce & Meeting Day.

The 2021 Bratislava Conference will provide space for discussions and debate on all facets of earth system governance at this turbulent and crucial moment in time. 

It is possible to attend the conference in person in Bratislava as well as virtually. If you have not yet considered making the trip to Slovakia this September, take a moment to explore the social and networking programme on offer. It is an overdue opportunity for us to meet members of the network after a long break.

If you are a speaker or a convener of a session at this year’s conference, there is an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the virtual platform in advance of the conference. The organizing team with host two convener training sessions.

New Possibility for On-Site Registration

We have a significant announcement: Based on the evolving circumstances around the Covid-19 vaccination, the Organizing Team has decided to offer the opportunity for a limited number of conference attendees to meet in person in Bratislava. Registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis and the link to do can be found below. This registration applies in the case where travel to the conference location is a favorable as well as a feasible destination for the attendee. (Under current regulations, this would mean a full vaccination to enter Slovakia without quarantine). The main conference continues to take place in a virtual format. 


The decision to offer on-site attendance was made based on feedback from the community which favored the possibility to meet and interact with the Earth System Governance network of colleagues, and to re-energize after a difficult 18 months. For onsite participants, the 2021 Bratislava Conference offers an opportunity to re-connect with colleagues and friends, new and old, in the beautiful capital of the Slovak Republic.

Please be mindful that on-site attendance is a social opportunity, but program elements will be based around the virtual event.

The conference programme design will still be based around a virtual format. At location, attendees will be able to follow Plenary and some Semi-Plenaries together in the venue locations. Parallel-panels and innovative sessions will be hosted and attended virtually in accordance with a single conference schedule. Attendees are expected to bring their own technical equipment (laptop, headphones) to engage in this manner. Space will be provided at the location. On-site attendance will include a social program, networking moments, as well as local cultural experiences.

Participating at any event in 2021 will come with accepting accompanying health risks. The Organizing Team will adhere to any public health guidelines of the Slovak Republic throughout hosting the event. Please note that because onsite participation carries extra costs to organize the event, attendance is accompanied by a separate registration fee of 220 euros. This registration fee includes a welcome drink, refreshments during the day, lunch at the venue, a conference dinner.

Keynote Announcement

The preliminary programme is currently in the making, and we are especially proud to announce the distinguished Keynote Speaker of 2021.

It has been in the making for a long time, but the annual Earth System Governance event is finally only 3 months away! We look forward to re-connect with the community across three full days – four days with the Taskforce & Meeting Day included – to meet friends and colleagues, share our work and discuss Earth System Governance in turbulent times! The preliminary programme is currently in the making, and we are especially proud to announce the distinguished Keynote Speaker of 2021.  

Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. She is also co-founder of cCHANGE, a company that supports transformation in a changing climate. Karen’s research emphasizes the social and human dimensions of climate change and implications for human security. Her current research focuses on the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability, with an emphasis on the role of creativity, collaboration, empowerment, and narratives. She is particularly interested in the role of beliefs, values, worldviews, and paradigms in generating conscious social change, and this includes an exploration of the potential for “quantum social change.” In 2019 she received a Research Excellence Award from the AAG Human Dimensions Specialty Group. In 2021 she was co-recipient of the BBVA Foundations Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Climate Change.

Karen was named by Web of Science as one of the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade in 2019 and 2020

Call for nominations for the Oran R. Young Prize

Rewarding and encouraging cutting-edge research on earth system governance by early-career scholars

The Oran R. Young Prize will be awarded for the eigth time at the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance. The Prize awarded by the Earth System Governance Project seeks to reward and encourage cutting-edge research on earth system governance by early-career scholars who could become the next generation of leading scholars in the field of environmental governance research – a field shaped and significantly influenced by the pioneering work of Prof. Oran R. Young.

The Oran R. Young Prize will be awarded for the best paper presented at the annual Earth System Governance Open Science Conference, authored by early-career scholars. The Prize Committee is chaired by Rakhyun E. Kim (Utrecht University). The committee will select the winning paper based on academic quality and novelty as well as relevance to the Earth System Governance Research Framework.

The eligibility criteria for papers to be nominated for the Prize are as follows:

  • The paper must be accepted for presentation at an Earth System Governance open science conference;
  • The paper must be led by an early-career researcher serving as the first or sole author, whereby early-career is defined as Master student, PhD-student, or researcher who has received their PhD within 5 years prior to the deadline.
  • Papers already published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal will not be eligible for the Oran R. Young Prize. Manuscripts published as working papers or similar informal format will remain eligible;
  • The paper must be submitted in its final or review-ready version by 1 August to bc2021@earthsystemgovernance.org. Only papers sent to this address will be considered. If you have received your PhD degree, please mention the year/month.

More information is available here.

For questions about the Prize please contact bc2021@earthsystemgovernance.org.

For information about the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance, please go to the conference website.

Registration is now open & Conference format updated

It has been long in the making, so we are delighted to announce that registration for the Annual Conference on Earth System Governance has finally opened.

We look forward to spending three full days – four days with the Taskforce & Meeting Day included – to meet friends and colleagues, share our work and discuss Earth System Governance in turbulent times!

 The 2021 Bratislava Conference will follow the successful and well-established format of previous Earth System Governance Conferences. Yet, given the uncertainties and risks related to public health and travel due to Covid-19, we have currently decided to proceed with registration and programme sessions as a virtual conference.

We remain open to the idea of convening the community for on-site attendance in Bratislava to complement the virtual experience, but cannot currently organize this in ways that are adequately safe. The Organizing Team is actively monitoring any developments, and a reassessment on possible onsite attendance will be made in late May. Read more about our Conference Format and possible on-site attendance here.

All participants including speakers and co-organizers are required to register to participate at the 2021 Bratislava Conference. Before starting your registration, please first carefully read the Registration information and see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Please note that coordinators of full panel proposals will be notified about the outcome of their full panel proposal by Monday 19th, April.

We are welcoming new submissions for the 2021 conference.

The theme of an annual Conference on Earth System Governance had seldom seemed more apt – in 2020 we found ourselves in truly turbulent times. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance was postponed until September 2021.

The 2021 Bratislava Conference builds upon the preparations for the 2020 Bratislava Conference. Moving forward, we recognize the importance of continued knowledge advancement in Earth System Governance research, and for additional opportunity to address the turbulent times of 2020. To this end, we are launching a second intake of abstracts to complement the initial Call for Papers. The second intake of Call for Papers for the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance will close 15 February 2021. 

As organizers, the Conference Team understands that on-site participation is desired by many within the Earth System Governance community, but possibilities for attendance may be limited by public health concerns or travel restrictions. Therefore, the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance will be planned as a hybrid conference, with both on-site attendance and virtual access.

We are hopeful to see you at the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance. Please note the following information: 

The review process of the second intake will start after the submission deadline and notifications of acceptance are scheduled to be completed by 31 March 2021. The review process is undertaken by an International Review Panel and managed by the Earth System Governance International Project Office. This office will invite the International Review Panel in collaboration with the conference chair. 

If you were an author of an accepted submission for 2020, you were given the opportunity to retain your paper as ‘accepted’ until 2021, to update your existing abstract and undergo a second round of review, or to withdraw your submission. We have received this information from the majority of submissions. If you have not yet done this, please do so via your Oxford Abstracts account before the 10th of December. Instructions and more information can be found here.

Key dates

Deadline for paper and full panels, second intake:

15 February 2021  

Deadline for Innovative Sessions and Taskforce & Meeting Day Sessions:

1 March, 2021  

Notification of acceptance, second intake:  

31 March 2021  

Full papers due:

22 August 2021 

For more information, visit the FAQ on this website, which will be updated regularly to address any arising issues. For any concerns or questions, you can reach us on bc2021@earthsystemgovernance.org

Information about Conference Postponement and Accepted Papers

As communicated previously, in light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance has been postponed until September 2021.

For the authors of the accepted abstract submissions, this means that paper presentations will not be held until September 2021, as the 2020 Virtual Forum on Earth System Governance will not host paper presentations.

We understand that this postponement affects the opportunities for authors of accepted submissions to present and receive feedback on their research and apologize for any inconvenience caused. Therefore, as an author of an accepted submission, we provide you with the following options:

  • to retain your paper submission as ‘accepted’ for presentation at the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance.
  • to update or amend your existing abstract submission but undergo a second round of review.
  • to withdraw your submission on the Oxford Abstract portal, in case you do not wish to attend the 2021 Bratislava Conference

In order to select any of these options, we kindly ask you to login with your Oxford Abstracts and select the 2020 Bratislava Conference to access the abstract(s) you submitted for the Conference.

Please note that all your submissions for the 2020 Bratislava Conference now show up as incomplete and are marked in red. Please click the abstract submission title, for which the details will be made visible, and proceed to click Amend on the top left menu.

From here, we kindly ask you to scroll down the page and answer the question marked in red Conference Postponement – Options for Abstract Submissions, which will include the options above.

We kindly ask authors to indicate their preferred option by August 31st 2020. For authors wanting to update or amend their existing abstracts, we will provide this opportunity at a later stage and will provide information about the procedure in due time.

If one of your submitted abstracts was rejected, this submission will show up in the list as well as incomplete, but you do not need to follow up with anything in this regard.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. For more information, visit the FAQ on this website, which will be updated regularly to address any arising issues. For any concerns or questions, you can reach us on ipo@earthsystemgovernance.org.

2020 Bratislava Conference Postponed until 2021

The theme of the annual Conference on Earth System Governance has seldom seemed more apt – we find ourselves in truly turbulent times. In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we are saddened to announce that the 2020 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance has been postponed until September 2021.

This decision, which was not taken lightly, was made following deliberations amongst the Conference hosts the CETIP, SLOVAKGLOBe, Slovak Academy of Sciences and Slovak University of Technology and the Scientific Steering Committee of the Earth System Governance Project.

In reaching our decision, the health and wellbeing of our participants, colleagues and the public has remained the primary concern and consideration of the Conference Team. Keeping our community in mind, we cannot proceed with planning this event in good conscience.

Instead, we are hopeful to see you at the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance. If you are an author of an accepted submission, we provide the opportunity to retain your paper as ‘accepted’ until next year, or alternatively, to update your existing abstract and undergo a second round of review. If you do not wish to attend, we ask you to please remove your submission. More information on how to proceed will follow shortly. For any questions relating to submissions of other formats, please read our FAQ.

In light of the pandemic, we are also mindful that as scholars on Earth System Governance, our work is more relevant than ever. The diagnosis, responses and recovery from the ongoing crisis need to be examined in tandem with broader challenges posed by Earth System Transformations.

To keep momentum for our Community’s scientific collaborative efforts and projects, the Earth System Governance Project will host a virtual event in place of the annual Conference – stay tuned for more information on our website and social media.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. For more information, visit the FAQ on our website, which will be updated regularly to address any arising issues. For any concerns or questions, you can reach us on ipo@earthsystemgovernance.org.

On behalf of the Conference Team, we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and stay safe.

Prof. Tatiana Kluvanakova, Conference Chair, 2020 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance

Gustav Thungren, Managing Director, International Office of the Earth System Governance Project, Utrecht University

Scientific Steering Committee, the Earth System Governance Project