Edinburgh City

Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds
International Meeting

Edinburgh, UK
07-13 November 2022
RAS approved with box.png

The Meeting

A Week of Exciting Talks and an Optional Inspiring Retreat

Opening for registration and abstract submission during February 2022.

Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds is a multi-discipline four to five day international scientific meeting taking place in Edinburgh, UK, in November 2022. This event is to accommodate up to 120 in-person delegates of all career stages based in a range of relevant employment sectors. A hybrid model is envisaged to be delivered so as to broaden participation by accommodating virtual attendance of additional delegates. The welcoming atmosphere of this modest-sized event will foster friendly scientific exchange and shall help to promote networking beneficial to early, mid, and senior career scientists, space lawyers, educators, and space technology / mission innovators.  Students and those in their early-careers are encouraged to attend and contribute their work in this friendly, relatively unintimidating, and specialist gathering.

The inaugural Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds event will provide a forum for the exchange of new interdisciplinary findings and ideas in relation to two principal themes:

The origins of habitable bodies in and beyond our home Solar System

This theme will accommodate the presentation of new findings arising from meteoritical, experimental / analogue / computational modelling, and space mission studies. Contributions that integrate chemical and other findings for meteorites with models of celestial mechanics are strongly encouraged. A session to allow for astronomical planet-hunting findings to be disseminated and discussed will be included. What are the priorities in our investigations / searches, what do we each need to know from one another, and what new efforts do we need to undertake together?

The motivation for and current status of priorities for space exploration and its governance

This portion of the proposed meeting will take place over the latter one and half or two days of the event and will bring the community together to facilitate discourse across a wide range of disciplines. The purpose of this theme is to highlight key observations that have implications for how we explore other worlds. What do space missions need to look for, and where? Do we have concerns about the future modes of space exploration and if so what are these? How can we make sure that our scientific understanding is widely known and used to help inform the regulation of international space exploration?

This meeting in Edinburgh follows the July 2022 Goldschmidt Conference in Hawaii and the August 2022 Geoanalysis Conference5th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry in Freiberg, Germany, while sandwiched between the earlier 53rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) and the 54th LPSC occurring in March 2023, Houston, USA, and meetings of the EuroPlanet Scince Congress series. The Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds event also complements and builds on the fully virtual Habitats Beyond workshop to be hosted soon by the University of St Andrews, and the now 2022 Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Glasgow.


The series of meetings in the region - along with the recent and well-received virtual event led by students of the Edinburgh Women in Space group, the SPERO initiative, and the Scottish Space Leadership Council’s Sustainable Space Challenges meeting - accelerates excitement for- and strategic growth of space and planetary science across Scotland, including within its education system. In addition, key aspects of this meeting relate to the interests and ongoing development of the UK Cosmochemical Analysis Network and the Distributed Planetary Laboratory Facilities of the Europlanet Society.

Additional Activities and Opportunities

Accompanying this meeting are projects that will provide for:

  • a competitive selection process supporting the publication of original high-quality research by attending delegates (+/- community members); 

  • significant community efforts in realising timely high-level reviews;

  • the sharing of science with the public, and;

  • opportunities for interested experienced researchers of good conduct and objectivity to gain guest editorial experience. 


At the conclusion of the main event, an optional retreat over two to three days at Gartmore House, Stirlingshire, is offered. This retreat is limited to approximately 45 people and includes a short-course on maintaining funding plus a half-day outing. A further half-day is provided for researchers to explore potential career pathways through informal discussions and presentations with diverse leaders in the planetary sciences.

Combined, the contributions arising from this event are intended to help summarise current knowledge, foster cross-pollination of understanding and ideas across traditional disciplines, and identify opportunities that shall shape future directions in research and space exploration at international levels.

See also:

This event is hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s  large and well-equipped School of Geosciences, and potential delegates should be aware that this institution is also home to a range of specialist cooperative clusters such as SPRINT, the UK Centre for Astrobiology, the Centre for Exoplanetary Science, the Bayes Centre, the Royal Observatory, and UK Astronomy Technology Centre that hosts the Higgs Centre for Innovation.

This international meeting aligns with the University of Edinburgh's
Interdisciplinary Building Worlds theme


Expressions of Interest

Submit an expression of interest. See you soon!

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Max. Intended
Topical Sessions
Presenting Authors

Featured Speakers

Proud to present inspirational speakers from across the globe

Invited Speakers for Topical Sessions

A diverse set of prominent contributors to the sessions of the main meeting. 
To be announced soon.



Potential sponsors are sought for this event, and /or key aspects thereof, can elect to support a range of defined packages or may discuss with the meeting's Chair, Amy Riches, if alternate provisions are offered.


Optional Retreat 

Diverse Leaders and Sustaining Funding.

The proposed and optional two to three night retreat / short-course at the conclusion of the meeting will be held at the charitable trust of Gartmore House, which is sited in the beautiful and peaceful countryside of Stirlingshire with its dark skies or those interested in stargazing. This retreat involves the transfer of delegates from Edinburgh to Gartmore House during Friday 11th November 2022, with departure for delegates including transfer of delegates to the rail station in Stirling on the morning of Monday 14th November 2022.

Approximately 30 people shall be accommodated in the main house, which includes broad corridors and a lift to support accessibility. Early career researchers and those on insecure contracts are strongly encouraged to attend and will be given priority.

This optional short-course will develop transferable skills, address approaches to raising and maintaining funding, and shall help to foster new professional partnerships. The retreat will also feature an exploration of potential career pathways via informal discussions and presentations with diverse leaders in the planetary sciences.


Those that may wish to attend this retreat shall travel together by train from Edinburgh Waverly. Return local shuttle bus from Stirling Station will be provided by the Gartmore Team who will also arrange a half-day outing to a local point of interest.

The maximum cost for participation in the two to three night short-course and retreat to Gartmore House is expected to be £500 per person (all inclusive). We are liaising with potential sponsors for this retreat that could help reduce costs for eligible participants. Further information will follow.

For those who live locally, a few people may be accommodated at the retreat on the basis of day attendance only.

Retreat's Featured Speaker

Kathy Laurini, Osare Space Consulting

A diverse set of leaders in space and planetary sciences shall provide for informal discussions of their careers.

Ethos and Conduct

Overall, this event and aligned activities serve two agendas:

  • to serve excellence with respect to the identified scholarly themes.
  • to proactively address inclusivity and matters of diversity.

The latter goal will not only be achieved by being mindful of accessibility and relatability during meeting planning and delivery, but also through a possible short-course / retreat (below). This friendly approach shall be furthered via a range of enjoyable networking formats intended to demonstrate cultural sensitivity while subtly helping to nucleate new professional friendships / partnerships and assuring the protection of dignities among all people. 


The approach of this event will incorporate some friendly breakfasts, an ice-breaker potentially taking the form of an inclusive curry night, no meeting-supported / free alcohol, and relaxed activities encompassing music and dancing with the main meal / banquet. 


To the greatest degree that is pragmatic, ways will be found to support those with dependents (e.g., sponsored childcare or dependent care funds / day care centre vouchers, a ‘play / tv room’ set-up for colouring in / board games or similar activities, and within / adjacent to any poster session). In addition, the organising team will seek to provide for scholars of current asylum seeking or refugee status, those with caring responsibilities or health challenges (including mental health), as well as those from lower-middle and low income countries (scroll down for list), and people receiving low incomes during 2022 / 2023.

Because rapid climate and ecological change is of present day concern, modest incentives will be offered to delegates who travel to the meeting via the proven use of public transport, other low-carbon transport, and / or who use a carbon offsetting compromise where alternative transport may be challenging to access.

Roles of prominence for early career professionals

In addition to opportunities provided for via the aligned publishing projects and networking among peers and senior professionals, the intention is to provide willing attending students and early-stage postdoctoral scholars / other sector staff with beneficial roles of responsibility and prominence. Such roles include serving as session conveners and judges of student talks / posters. This approach will support efforts to create a friendly atmosphere, encourages emerging researchers to responsibly manage prize assessments, speaker times, and scientific discussions at this modest-scale international scientific meeting.

Friendly exchange and other expectations

The event's organising team endorse and expect a professional and respectful atmosphere that values a diversity of views and opinions while promoting high scientific standards, and sharing best practices. All meetings and sponsored activities shall be conducted in a professional atmosphere in which every participant is treated with courtesy, respect, kindness and consideration. We promote a respectful environment where participants communicate openly, with civil attitudes that are considerate, collegial, and collaborative. Such good professional conduct is free of inappropriate behaviour and harassment by or toward any participant, including scientists, students, professional from a variety of private / public / third sector employers, guests, exhibitors, event staff, vendors, and other suppliers.

All involved in the meeting are expected to adhere to the respective codes of conduct of the sponsoring societies throughout the event, all associated activities, and during their time among the local community. For example, attendees behave in ways that are free of discrimination and will adhere to the codes of ethics of the European Association of Geochemistry, the Geochemical Society, and the Royal Astronomical Society.

All in-person and remotely attending delegates are reminded that when presentations are available for viewing, the materials must not be retained or used without the express and explicit permission of the authors. Copying, redistributing, or using data from presentations without permission are violations of the event's code of conduct. If you would like to use a presented materials for any purpose beyond your personal learning, please contact the author(s) to request permission.

In supporting the reasoning of GSA's position, no meeting-supported alcohol will be available.

The Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds Meeting is run on a break-even basis, and draws on the kindness and generosity of voluntary contributions from the organising team.

Be COVID aware

The global COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing for the world. In this context meeting participants should be mindful of others, apply caution, and follow all available COVID advice with respect to their home countries and the host (see Scottish government pages).


Only when each and every individual is respectful of others and adheres to safety guidelines will everyone be safe. Wherever possible participants should have received vaccinations for COVID-19, and where certified evidence of this is required it is the responsibility of attendees to have this available during their travel and stay. Any persons who for health reasons may not be vaccinated and could be considered vulnerable should, at this stage, plan for remote participation via online provisions. Any others who have not been vaccinated should strive to receive vaccinations prior to attending the meeting. The organisers shall adhere to all available government and medical advice with regard to COVID-19 guidance, and shall endeavour to provide for generous spacing, ventilation, and hand sanitising gel among meeting rooms.


The organisers reserve the right to require all participants to wear protective masks and/or to take lateral flow tests for COVID prior to entering the meeting premises; any and all obligations to protect the health and safety of all will be communicated among delegates and monitored during the event. Given these specific requests and possible additional rules being in place, any individual who fails to comply can be refused entry and participation in meeting activities.

What are the meeting's values and code of conduct?