Will Rifkin

Chair in Social Performance
Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland


Communicating about social impacts to scientists, engineers, and corporations who are changing our planet

Thursday 23 February



Will Rifkin, PhD, is a scientist/engineer-turned-sociologist with a focus on communication among experts and relative non-experts in relation to environmental challenges and energy resource development. Previously head of UNSW’s Science Communication Program, Rifkin is currently Chair in Social Performance with the University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas and Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. He leads development of the UQ Boomtown Indicators and Boomtown Toolkit – methods to foster shared understanding of social and economic changes accompanying significant resource or infrastructure development.

Connect with Will: (email)

Contribution to seeing science differently 

This line of research contributes to seeing science differently by recognising that the institutions and methods of science play a powerful role in natural resource development and in management of organisations and regions.  That means that information and insight that is useful to decision-making, but that comes from ‘non-scientific’ sources, might be more effective if it is tailored so as to be understood and appreciated by scientific audiences.  In this instance, we are taking insights into how peoples’ lives are changing in response to significant nearby resource development and presenting it in a way that an engineer, a scientist, or a technically astute corporate leader can understand.  So, we are seeing ‘science’ as characterising certain audiences.