Science in the Crosshairs

Science in the Crosshairs: Communicating science during mediatised environmental conflict

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Science communication is concerned with the relationships and flows of information between producers of new knowledge and various audiences and stakeholders, such as the public, policy makers and industry. While science is typically associated with objectivity and impartiality, its translation and application by a journalists and other communicators, and their sources, is often less than impartial, especially during debates about environment and sustainability. During these times, activists, industry, government and civic institutions often communicate science in alignment with the logics of a media and communication landscape.

Tasmania (lutruwita) has a well-documented history of high-profile debates about sustainability that have shaped the island's political landscape for more than half a century. As such, our island state offers an excellent setting to analyse and compare a range of historic and contemporary communication strategies at the nexus of science, industry and environment.

This project harnesses the multidisciplinary strengths of the University of Tasmania to explore the communication strategies and information flows during debates about sustainability in order to understand the role of science and science communication at these times. It seeks to identify the contexts and practices of all actors in the conflict with a particular interest in the use, or absence of, expert scientific knowledge and opinion. The successful application will indicate an interest in developing a project designed to provide findings and recommendations that better equip scientists and other science communicators to meet the challenge of communicating science in the context of controversy and politicised debates about sustainability.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Claire Konkes


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or a Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Claire Konkes to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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