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Policy update

dfgThe Society has undertaken a wide range of policy activities, from reform of the curriculum to developing the UK’s science infrastructure, writes Florence Bullough.

The Society often works with other organisations when responding to inquiries and government consultations – we achieve more working together than we do alone. The most recent instance was the response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on Scientific Infrastructure. We took part in a discussion with other scientific societies convened by the Science Council, which then informed the Science Council’s response. The Society also provided a supplementary response supporting the Science Council’s more general one which addressed infrastructure needs specific to our community, and examples of successful collaboration nationally and internationally1. We also attended a recent stakeholder meeting at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to discuss the impact of EU membership on UK Research and Development2

Reform of the National Curriculum for England is still underway, but a major milestone has been reached with the publication of the final version of the curriculum for Key Stages 1-3 (students aged 5-14) in July. We were pleased to see that many of the comments which the Geological Society provided on the draft curriculum were taken on board by the Department of Education3.

The Society also responded to a recent call for evidence from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, which is reviewing the process for siting of a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste4. And we worked with the Royal Society to hold an event to mark the publication of a major report of the European Academies Science Advisory Council on carbon capture and storage.

From time to time we also attend parliamentary events in London and elsewhere to meet a wider group of decision-makers and promote appreciation of the many ways in which geoscience underpins society. The policy team participated in the ‘Science and the Assembly’ event in May, with the theme of ‘Innovation as a Driver of Growth in the Welsh Economy’, held at the Welsh Assembly buildings in Cardiff.

In July, the policy team, along with members of Council and other Fellows, attended the Parliamentary Links Day at Portcullis House, Westminster organised by the Society of Biology, and hosted a table at a lunch held afterwards in the House of Lords. This year’s session focused on Science and Diversity. Society staff also regularly meet the staff of key parliamentary committees to suggest topics for future inquiries and discuss how we can most effectively support their work.

Further reading

  3. For a document summarising the Society’s involvement in the National Curriculum review to date:

• Society responses and public statements can be found at