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Hands on or hands off?
Convener: Caspar Hewett  | Co-Conveners: Jonathan Dick , Cristina García Fernández , Paul Quinn , Mark Wilkinson 
In recent years there has been a growing distrust of experts in the public imagination which has been expressed in numerous debates from Brexit to the US presidential election. This gives rise to serious questions about the role of scientists in policy making and the political sphere. As geoscientists, our disciplines can have a real impact on the way humanity organises itself, so what should our role in that be? There are serious tensions here between the desire for our knowledge to have real impact and make a difference, the need for scientific detachment and objectivity, and respect for broader perspectives and for democracy itself.

The key questions for this debate are:
· Should geoscientists restrict themselves to knowledge generation and stay out of the policy world?
· Or should we be getting involved and making change happen?
· Should our voices as experts be heard louder than others?
· Or does evidence-based policy undermine democracy?
· Should we be hands on or keep our hands off