By ESS team

The Earth System Services (ESS) group shared two days of inspiration, collaboration, and fun to strengthen linkages on a personal level and perform on a professional level.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 18-19 June 2024, the Earth System Services group from the Earth Sciences Department held a two-day retreat with the aim of strengthening the relationship between its members, determining the group's strategic objectives and identifying possible future research avenues involving the different teams.

The retreat was held at the Inout Hostel Barcelona, which is located in an incredibly beautiful natural space on Collserola Mountain. In addition, the hostel has the particularity of being a Special Employment Centre for hotel and catering services started in 2004 by Icaria Social Initiatives, a non-profit organisation. At the time, it was the first catering service in Europe in which 90% of its staff were disabled workers.

The retreat began on Tuesday, 18 June, at 10:00 a.m. with the reception and accommodation of the group members in the facilities, accompanied by a coffee break. An ice-breaker game prepared by group members served as a warming-up to prepare for the next session that worked to consolidate the group's identity, trying to align different visions and objectives. Lunch and swimming helped to recharge the batteries for the afternoon session, where new lines of research were explored and discussed. To this end, the group invited a number of experts in different areas, such as architects, urban planners, and public administrators, including Pablo Martínez from 300.000kms, Catalina Balseiro from Veolia, and Mar Jiménez from Eurocities, who presented their projects and organisations with the aim to find common ground and possible future collaborations. The first day ended with a walk around the hostel to breathe fresh air and let nature stimulate the group’s creativity, followed by a communal dinner… because great ideas are born in happy stomachs!

On the second day, Wednesday, 19 June, the results of a social network analysis of the group were presented to see who collaborates the most with whom and identify where connections between group members could be improved. 

After a well-deserved coffee break, the session continued with some talks aimed at working across disciplines and integrating diversity, equity and inclusion in the provision of climate and environmental services. In this session, Asun Lera St. Clair from BSC and DNV talked about the meaning of "strategy" and what implications it has in terms of group dynamics, taking strategy in the business sector as an example that can be extrapolated to academia and other sectors. Afterwards, Ada Pastor and Sílvia Poblador presented their inspirational work on the acknowledgement of gender bias in academia carried out in the Discourse, Gender, Science and Culture Research Group (DIGECIC) at the Universitat de Girona.

The conference ended with a delicious group lunch... and some free time to cool off in the swimming pool!

A memorable experience! 

When will we repeat it?