The advent of the unconventional natural gas industry in Australia, particularly coal seam gas (CSG) activities in regions and communities of southern Queensland, is throwing up a cloud of questions, concerns and challenges. National issues such as those around the social and environmental impacts of CSG developments are being addressed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. One vehicle by which CSIRO is conducting collaborative research in this contested natural gas domain is through the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) – of which Australia Pacific LNG is the other founding partner. GISERA undertakes public good research that will benefit the broader community and Australia‘s natural gas industries. All GISERA research and outcomes are publicly available. There are 16 research projects underway in six subject areas: terrestrial biodiversity, surface and groundwater, greenhouse gas footprint, agricultural land management, marine environment and social and economic impacts. The GISERA collaboration hub brings together scientists from a range of disciplines including hydrologists, social scientists and agronomists to enable this broad ranging research. Over the last two years a large volume of written, visual, aural and verbal communication material has been developed and tailored to meet the widest range of audience requirements: politicians, farmers, NGOs, journalist, industry, science community and general public. As a consequence of engaging in an actively contended public debate, GISERA and its messages have received considerable scrutiny. A clear and robust communication strategy is guiding GISERA through this challenging environment; in addition to proactive management, preparation and review of high quality communication material. GISERA’s governance framework has been designed to ensure that the highest standards of research independence, transparency and integrity are maintained. Together, GISERA’s strong governance and communication strategy has resulted in the establishment of public trust in GISERA and has positioned it and CSIRO as a knowledgeable provider in an area full of scientific and science communication challenges. The continued demand for information and advice from GISERA shows that GISERA is meeting the needs of a range of stakeholders and that it is seen as a source of trusted information and advice.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Public science communication in a contested space
A working case study

Sheau Cham   Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

Peter Stone   Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

The advent of the unconventional natural gas industry in Australia, particularly coal seam gas (CSG) activities in regions and communities of southern Queensland, is throwing up a cloud of questions, concerns and challenges. National issues such as those around the social and environmental impacts of CSG developments are being addressed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. One vehicle by which CSIRO is conducting collaborative research in this contested natural gas domain is through the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) – of which Australia Pacific LNG is the other founding partner. GISERA undertakes public good research that will benefit the broader community and Australia‘s natural gas industries. All GISERA research and outcomes are publicly available. There are 16 research projects underway in six subject areas: terrestrial biodiversity, surface and groundwater, greenhouse gas footprint, agricultural land management, marine environment and social and economic impacts. The GISERA collaboration hub brings together scientists from a range of disciplines including hydrologists, social scientists and agronomists to enable this broad ranging research. Over the last two years a large volume of written, visual, aural and verbal communication material has been developed and tailored to meet the widest range of audience requirements: politicians, farmers, NGOs, journalist, industry, science community and general public. As a consequence of engaging in an actively contended public debate, GISERA and its messages have received considerable scrutiny. A clear and robust communication strategy is guiding GISERA through this challenging environment; in addition to proactive management, preparation and review of high quality communication material. GISERA’s governance framework has been designed to ensure that the highest standards of research independence, transparency and integrity are maintained. Together, GISERA’s strong governance and communication strategy has resulted in the establishment of public trust in GISERA and has positioned it and CSIRO as a knowledgeable provider in an area full of scientific and science communication challenges. The continued demand for information and advice from GISERA shows that GISERA is meeting the needs of a range of stakeholders and that it is seen as a source of trusted information and advice.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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