GWECS Charter

GWECS is not about creating a GW community of early career scientists today.

It is not even about creating the GW community of tomorrow.

It is about creating a mechanism by which subsequent generations of early career scientists can deal with the needs and challenges of their own times, and by which they are confronted with the responsibility of designing the future of GW research over the effort of the past.

GWECS is nothing but guaranteeing dynamical, ever-changing continuity to a multi-generational endeavour called GW astronomy.


The discovery of gravitational waves (GWs) in 2015 inaugurated the field of gravitational-wave astronomy, which is growing at an increasing pace worldwide. The promise of important discoveries in astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental physics attracts students, researchers, and entire university departments from various backgrounds to this newly established field. Early-career scientists (ECSs) working in this field today must thus build their research curricula by learning and combining knowledge, tools and methodologies from different disciplines. They represent the future generation that will have the responsibility to complete and improve the ongoing, multi-generational, large-scale GW experiments, and to push forward the related theoretical and data analysis efforts needed to maximise the science return and drive future endeavours. ECSs therefore are in a unique position to: contribute to the current decisions on the road map for the field; shape data and publication policies; build a diverse and inclusive community; and preempt important issues inherent to ECSs themselves and the future of the field. ECSs of today will be the leaders of the endeavours of tomorrow: now is the right time to start building the GW community of the future.

The gravitational wave early career scientists (GWECS) organisation is designed to unite and coordinate different communities of ECSs working on GWs, with the scope of

  1. Becoming a strong and constructive voice for the future GW community,
  2. Addressing the needs of ECSs and foster a healthy professional environment,
  3. Sharing career opportunities and learn valuable professional soft skills,
  4. Ensuring that the international and interdisciplinary GW community shares a common scientific language, builds long-lasting communication channels and exchanges relevant research knowledge and tools for the benefit of its own future.

The GWECS mission consists in organising different actions aimed at advancing towards the goals listed here above, and in representing the GW community of ECSs at large. All GWECS initiatives are organised, managed and coordinated by ECSs on a voluntary basis.


All GWECS members belong to at least one GWECS community defined as a group of ECSs united by common research interests and objectives. Examples of GWECS communities are LECS, VECS and LAAC, which unite ECSs working on LISA, Virgo and LIGO respectively. The elected representatives (or chairs) of all GWECS communities constitute the GWECS council, which is the governing body of GWECS and within which lie all final judgment on all affairs of GWECS competence. The GWECS council nominates all GWECS officers, defined as the members of the GWECS offices, including the Coordinator General (CG) and the Secretary General (SG) which solely compose the Coordination Office. The coordination office has the mandate to coordinate the work of the GWECS offices, to reunite the GWECS council and preside its session and to act as first point of contact and effective representative of GWECS to the external world. GWECS offices are designed to organise and implement GWECS activities. Each GWECS office has a mandate defined by the GWECS council and can be composed by as many GWECS members as the GWECS council considers necessary. The overall organisation structure of GWECS is summarized by the following diagram. More details about the mandates and description of each GWECS office, as well as of the functioning of the GWECS council are provided below.



The GWECS council is the governing body of the whole GWECS organisation and it is composed of the elected representatives of all GWECS communities. The GWECS council deliberates on any issue that is considered critical for GWECS and it is the body delivering final judgment on all affairs of GWECS competence. The GWECS council is tasked with steering the overall course of the GWECS organisation and with nominating GWECS officers directly. Any change to the GWECS chart must be approved by the GWECS council. The Coordination Office presides and takes care of all administration and bureaucracy of the GWECS council.


The GWECS council is tasked with the following actions: Define the overall scope and way forward of the GWECS organisation; Take all final decisions and arbitrate on all major issues concerning GWECS; Regularly review the progress of GWECS activities and its organization; Designate the number of GWECS offices, the scope of each of them, the guidelines for all officers and the number of officers for each office; Nominate GWECS officers; Approve changes to the GWECS chart, including creating or dissolving a GWECS community associated to GWECS; Ensure fluid communication between GWECS and the GWECS communities.


The GWECS council is composed of elected ECS representatives of the GWECS communities. Each GWECS community independently decides how many ECSs represent it to the GWECS council. The GWECS council is always presided by the CG with the help of the SG.


The GWECS council deliberates on any critical issue concerning GWECS. All decisions of the GWECS council are preferably taken by reaching unanimous consensus. If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, all deliberations, except for the nomination/removal of a GWECS officer or the approval of changes to the GWECS chart (see below), can be solved by a vote called and presided by the CG. Each member of the council is allowed to cast a vote weighted on the total number of GWECS officers belonging to the GWECS community they represents divided by the number of representatives (chairs) of their community. Note that an officer belonging to more than one GWECS community will count in the weight of the vote of all representatives of the communities the officer belongs to. Each council member can delegate their own voting rights to another council member by communicating this to the Coordination Office. The vote of council members who received one or more delegations from other counselors will be weighted with the added weights of their and the delegating counselor weights. It is the responsibility of the Coordination Office to call and organise a vote of the GWECS council, including defining the different voting options and computing the weights assigned to each counselor.


Council sessions are called and presided by the Coordination Office with a frequency appropriate to conducting regular reviews of the GWECS progress. A council session can be called by members of the council itself if at least three counselors agree and communicate their decision to both the Coordination Office and to the rest of the council. Council sessions must be attended by all council members, or their delegates, by the GC and the GS, and are open to all GWECS officers. In case a formal vote is called by the GC, a restricted council session where only the counselors, the GC and the GS can attend, will be organised.


GWECS officers are nominated or removed by the GWECS council via unanimous deliberations. If unanimity cannot be reached, then each officer can be nominated or removed by a vote of majority of the council, called by the GC. Officer positions must be advertised broadly within all GWECS communities before a member is nominated by the council.


Changes to the GWECS chart can be approved by the GWECS council with a vote collecting at least the ⅔ of the total weighted votes casted by all council members, plus any change must be approved by a vote of majority (referendum) among all GWECS officers. Any change to the GWECS chart must be first thoroughly discussed within all the GWECS communities and in a general GWECS-wide discussion organised by the Coordination Office.


The GWECS offices represent the ultimate mechanism through which GWECS activities are designed, organised and implemented. The number, scope and composition of each GWECS office is defined by the GWECS council. Each GWECS office works as an independent body tasked with a specific mandate by the GWECS council, to which they respond directly. The activities of all the GWECS offices are coordinated by the Coordination Office, which guarantees the overall flow of communication between different offices and with the GWECS council. GWECS offices are composed of GWECS officers who are nominated by the GWECS council and charged with renewable mandates of one year. A GWECS officer can serve for an unlimited number of GWECS office mandates and even be charged with several mandates over the same period.


Each GWECS office is charged with a precise mandate assigned by the GWECS council. The GWECS office is tasked with designing, organising and implementing activities aimed at fulfilling the objective delineated in its mandate. In particular:

  • Draw a roadmap of all office activities to be organised over one year;
  • Design and plan actions and initiatives to concretely advance towards the office’s mandate;
  • Organise and implement such activities;
  • Report progress to the Coordination Office and to the GWECS council;
  • Advise the GWECS council on any matter related to the office’s mandate.

GWECS offices work independently, but are coordinated by and report on their progress to the Coordination Office. The GWECS council has the responsibility to periodically assess the work of each office. Although the GWECS offices work independently, the GWECS council may delineate some guidelines that GWECS offices are expected to follow.


Any GWECS member can be nominated as a member of any GWECS office. GWECS office members are called GWECS officers. Each GWECS office can be composed of any number of GWECS officers suitable to its efficient functioning, as judged by the GWECS council. An exception applies to the Coordination Office which is composed solely of two officers (see below).


The coordination office is a special office comprising two well-defined roles: the Coordinator General (CG) and the Secretary General (SG). The office is tasked with

  • The overall coordination of all other offices;
  • Calling and presiding session of the GWECS council;
  • Acting as the first point of contact of the GWECS organization to the outside world;
  • Organising and chairing regular GWECS telecons;
  • Overviewing the organisation of any GWECS activity and meeting;
  • Collecting and safeguarding all relevant documentation, including minutes of the GWECS council sessions;
  • Ensuring transparency in all processes within GWECS.

In particular the tasks of the two coordination officers are the following:

  • Coordinator General:

    • Call and preside the GWECS council sessions;
    • Call and preside votes of the GWECS council, including defining all options of the vote (e.g. how many choices to vote over);
    • Chair regular GWECS telecons;
    • Manage relations between GWECS and the external world;
    • Check and overview progress of the other GWECS offices;
  • Secretary General (possibly with help from a tech support or similar office):

    • Collect and safeguard all relevant documentation of GWECS;
    • Coordinate and manage the technical aspects of GWECS organisation (e.g. website, memberships, …);
    • Ensure that standard data privacy policy are respected;
    • Ensure that minutes are taken during GWECS council sessions;
    • Record or ensure that minutes are taken during GWECS telecons;
    • Act as an effective deputy Coordinator General whenever requiredt;


The following list presents the offices and their mandates as emerged from the dedicated discussion at the GWECS online meeting in September 2021. It is by no means exhaustive and must be reviewed, updated and approved by the current GWECS council.


Tasked with improving the accessibility to information relevant for the advancement of ECSs careers. In particular:

  • Share with all GWECS members relevant informations regarding career opportunities;
  • Plan, organise and implement events to inform ECSs about possible career opportunities, in particular research grants/fellowships, academic and non-academic jobs (examples of such events are the “funding opportunity workshop” and the “job fair” already organised in the last years);
  • Maintain an online list of relevant research fellowship and grants (similar to current LECS list);
  • Maintain an online list of research groups relevant to ECSs working on GWs (similar to the current LECS list of LISA Consortium groups).


Tasked with improving the accessibility to information relevant to maintaining and improving the well-being and mental-health of ECSs. In particular:

  • Share with all GWECS members relevant informations regarding the well-being and mental-health of ECSs;
  • Plan, organise and implement events to inform ECSs about good practices to maintain and improve their well-being and mental-health (examples of such events are the “ECSs mental-health workshops” already organised by LECS);


Tasked with raising awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in academia and the research environment, as well as with promoting activities aimed at improving the social cohesion of ECSs. In particular:

  • Share with all GWECS members relevant informations regarding DEI;
  • Plan, organise and implement social events for ECSs, especially in connection with larger events (e.g. big conferences);
  • Draft or update the GWECS code of conduct;
  • Ensure that standard DEI guidelines are respected within GWECS;
  • Advise the GWECS Council on DEI issues, and in particular ensure that DEI guidelines are respected in appropriate measure in decisions taken by the GWECS Council (for example for the nomination of GWECS officers).


Tasked with organising and promoting activities aimed at improving the basic scientific education of ECSs and at training ECSs in transferable and soft skills. In particular:

  • Promoting events and opportunities to learn basic scientific practices and useful transferable or soft skills (e.g. programming, how to write research proposal, how to build/write your CV, etc…);
  • Plan, organise and implement events aimed at teaching basic scientific concept relevant to ECSs working on GWs, as well as useful transferable and soft skills (for example events similar to the “Skill development workshop” already organised by LECS);


Tasked with improving the exchanges of research and scientific results among GWECS members. In particular:

  • Organise events and (online) talks/seminars to promote and disseminate the work of ECSs within GWECS (e.g. the ``cross-disciplinary'' talks organised by GWECS);
  • Promote and advertise relevant research results and news within GWECS;
  • Collect and maintain informations on the research interests of GWECS members;
  • Help GWECS members identify possible research collaborators.


Tasked with managing GWECS relations with all kinds of media, including in particular social media platforms, as well as disseminating GWECS activities and products, including research or scientific results of GWECS members, to the wider public. In particular:

  • Maintaining all GWECS social media accounts (possibly together with tech support office);
  • Producing content for all GWECS social media platforms/accounts, as well as for the GWECS website;
  • Promoting relevant GWECS activities through social medias;
  • Promoting the work of GWECS members through social media;
  • Assist the Coordination Office and the GWECS council in any kind of interaction with media and news outlets (journals, TVs, web, …);
  • Organise outreach events and activities to promote the work of GWECS members as well as relevant GWECS activities.


Tasked with exploring and pursuing all possibilities to finance GWECS meetings and activities. In particular:

  • Identify funding opportunities to finance GWECS meeting and activities;
  • Coordinate the writing of proposals to apply for funding schemes;
  • Help the GWECS Council, the Coordination Office and all the people directly involved, in managing obtained fundings;
  • Bookkeep all fundings and resources related to GWECS (together with the Coordination Office and possibly with the Tech Support Office or similar).


Tasked with supporting and advising the GWECS Council, the Coordination Office and all other offices in all technical aspects, as well as with managing the membership status of all GWECS members in coordination with the membership of their respective GWECS community. In particular:

  • Maintaining and updating the GWECS website;
  • Maintaining and updating the GWECS social media accounts (in coordination with Media Office or similar);
  • Collect all minutes, summaries and recording of GWECS meetings into a suitable repository accessible by all GWECS members;
  • Advise the GWECS Council, the Coordination office and any GWECS office on technical matters;
  • Updating the membership status of all GWECS members regularly (in coordination with GWECS communities);
  • Maintaining a GWECS mailing-list able to reach all GWECS members;
  • Help the SG to ensure that standard data privacy policy are respected.