Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Leading overseas academics join Science Communication Centre

Friday 11 July 2014

Leading overseas academics join Otago’s Science Communication Centre

The University of Otago has appointed an internationally leading science communicator as its new professor in the discipline.

Professor Nancy Longnecker joins Otago’s Centre for Science Communication at the start of next month. She was previously a Professor of Science Communication at the University of Western Australia (UWA) where she developed and led UWA’s science communication teaching and research programme between 2002 and 2014.

Two other international appointments have also recently been made to the Otago Centre; Jesse Bering, who came from the US this month to take up an Associate Professor role, and Dr Fabien Medvecky, formerly of the University of Queensland, joined as a Lecturer this month.

Associate Professor Bering was Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast from 2006 until 2011, after which he returned to the United States to become a fulltime author and science writer. He has written three books and contributed to a number of outlets including Scientific American, Slate, New York Magazine, The Guardian and The New Republic.

Dr Medvecky gained his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2012 and joined the University of Queensland’s Science Communication Programme as a Research Fellow. He has published in the areas of science communication ethics, ethics and technology, and economics and justice.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says she is delighted that Professor Longnecker and two further colleagues are joining the Centre for Science Communication.

“This leading Centre provides the largest science communication programme in the world and it’s exciting to see it attract new academic staff of such high calibre. This bodes well for Otago to continue to lead the way internationally in a discipline crucial to ensuring public understanding of, and support for, scientific endeavour,” says Professor Hayne.

Professor Longnecker’s research in science communication looks at factors that affect people’s attitudes towards science-related issues. She has authored 50 books, book chapters, research papers and websites and obtained funding of more than $2.5 million for 22 research, education and communication grants and supervised 26 student research projects and 16 staff.

“It is fascinating to find out what people really think about science and what they want. Our studies have involved a whole spectrum of groups – people who are or want to become scientists, people who volunteer to work with scientists, people who want to know more about science and people who have no apparent interest in science at all. Ultimately, the aim is to improve relevance and usability of scientific information as well as effectiveness of science outreach and engagement,” she says.

One of the areas that Professor Longnecker will focus on at Otago is citizen science. She and her research students have examined motivations and barriers to participation in citizen science programmes and whether participation changes attitudes, understanding and behaviour.

As she enjoys working collaboratively, she is looking forward to exploring research opportunities at Otago to work with museums and ecotourism operators to examine the impact of participation in activities.

Before her transition to science communication, Professor Longnecker gained her Bachelor’s in Biology at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and her Master’s and PhD in crop science and plant nutrition at Cornell University. She then moved to Australia and conducted agricultural research at the Waite Institute in Adelaide and at UWA.

“The early part of my career in agricultural research provided perspective that has been important to my development as a professional science communicator and as a science communication academic,” she says.

“Otago’s Centre for Science Communication is world renowned for its storytelling. I have studied the role of stories in learning science. With the combined expertise that is available, we’ll aim to improve our understanding of why stories have such impact.”

Professor Longnecker and the Centre for Science Communication’s Director, Professor Lloyd Davis, recently attended the 13th International Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference in Brazil.

“The buzz at the conference was palpable. The New Zealand bid to host the 2018 conference was compelling and beat out the Canadian and Japanese bids. I’m excited to be joining the Centre and contributing to science communication at Otago – a world leader in this field.”


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Air NZ Teams Up With All Blacks For Men In Black Video

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. More>>

ALSO:

World Champions: BRADAS Of Identity Company Take On The World And Win Gold

This is only the second time since NZ has qualified for the HHI world finals that NZ has taken home a GOLD medal in this division. REQUEST Dance Crew being the only other NZ crew to achieve this. New Zealands only other medal this year was Silver for the Royal Family in a very close final in the Megacrew division. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Contrary To Popular Belief - Lloyd Geering

Many older Dunediners like myself, and indeed older Presbyterians and others throughout the country, will remember the controversy aroused by the articles and speeches of Professor Geering, Principal of Knox College Theological Hall in the late 1960s... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news