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A responsive Society


You can become involved in the Society’s work to provide Earth science advice to government and Parliament, says Nic Bilham*

Geoscientist 20.11 November 2010

The Earth sciences have an essential role to play in addressing some of the great societal and economic challenges of the 21st Century. A key element of the 10-year strategy on which Council embarked in 2007 is to be more proactive in engaging with non-geologists, including policy makers, school-age students and interested members of the public.

One of the ways in which we can best help government and other policy-oriented bodies (and thus promote an understanding of the vital role of Earth sciences) is to provide high quality responses to consultations. These might relate to white papers being developed by government departments, inquiries by Parliamentary committees, or delivery plans brought forward by bodies charged with implementing policy. The Society is selective about the consultations to which it responds, in order to make sure that the energies of both its staff and Fellows are directed towards delivering high quality contributions in cases where there is a prospect of making a real difference.

In developing our responses, we are always keen to have the input from as many Fellows as possible with a range of perspectives on the issue at hand. However, the timescales for consultations is often short, and it is not usually possible, for example, to give notice of them in Geoscientist. We are therefore establishing a list of Fellows who would like to be informed when the Society intends to respond to a consultation.

If you would like the opportunity to get involved in this important area of the Society’s work, please email [email protected]. We will notify you by email when a consultation opens, and it is up to you whether or not to respond, depending whether the issue in question is of interest to you. Brief comments, or observations which to you seem obvious, can be just as helpful as thorough analyses! We will not usually contact the group more than once or twice a month.

The rich and varied expertise of our Fellowship is a unique resource. The more Fellows who are involved in putting together our responses, the greater their legitimacy will be in the eyes of the outside world. I do hope you will consider taking part.

* Head of Strategy and External Relations

Society responds

The Society has responded (on 14 September) to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee: Inquiry into Scientific Advice and Evidence in Emergencies. You can inspect the response at