Dr Rebecca Colvin

BEnvMan (Hons 1) 2012, PhD 2017, The University of Queensland
Lecturer; Resources, Environment & Development, Crawford School of Public Policy
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and ANU College of Health and Medicine
T: +61 2 6125 2662

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental Management 050205
  • Environmental Politics 160605
  • Environmental Sociology 160802
  • Social And Community Psychology 170113
  • Human Geography 1604
  • Environment Policy 160507

Research interests

  • Interactions between values, identity, ideology, and framings in shaping attitudes toward climate and environmental issues.
  • Social & political conflict about climate and environmental issues. 
  • Governance and social dimensions of negative emissions technologies.
  • Social impacts of energy development, with a focus on wind and unconventional gas.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement process dynamics.


Bec Colvin is a social scientist and lecturer with the Resources, Environment & Development (RE&D) Group at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Bec’s research interest is in how groups of people interact with each other - especially in settings of social and political conflict - with regard to climate and environmental issues. Much of this work has a focus on the dynamics of formalised processes for including citizens and stakeholders in decision-making, and leverages on perspectives from social psychology, especially social identity, to understand the complexities of people and process. Recent research projects have included the study of conflict about wind energy development, the psychological underpinnings of a constructive governance regime for negative emissions, the role of trust between climate researchers and policy-makers, and the relationship between aggregate public opinion and conflict in environmental messaging. Before joining the RE&D Group in 2019, Bec worked with the ANU Climate Change Institute, and prior to that undertook a PhD and lectured with The University of Queensland.

Researcher's projects

Community conflict about wind energy in King Island, Australia:

This qualitative exploration of community conflict about a wind energy development in the Tasmanian island community of King Island is analysed in the following publications:

  • How wind became a four-letter word: Lessons for community engagement from a wind energy conflict in King Island, Australia Energy Policy, 2016: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516304888 
  • The community cost of consultation: Characterising the qualitative social impacts of a wind energy development that failed to proceed in Tasmania, Australia Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 2019: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925518302701
  • Using a Community Vote for Wind Energy Development Decision-Making in King Island, Tasmania Case Studies in the Environment, 2018: https://cse.ucpress.edu/content/early/2018/04/24/cse.2017.000927 *Honorable Mention in the 2018 Case Studies in the Environment prize competition: https://www.ucpress.edu/blog/42910/case-studies-in-the-environment-announces-winners-of-2018-prize-competition/
  • Lessons from the TasWind proposal in King Island: A descriptive report The University of Queensland, 2016: https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:404281 

The research is discussed in the following multimedia sources:  

  • 'Wind farms and a community divided' on ABC Radio National, Ockham's Razor, November 2017: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/wind-farms-and-a-community-divided/9143468
  • A webinar delivered on this topic by the author can be viewed online, via the Energy Impacts (EnergyImpacts.org) YouTube channel. The relevant content runs from approximately 4 min 30 sec to 15 min 30 sec: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgTDSfSX99s

Available student projects

Please get in touch if you are interested in undertaking a PhD exploring the intersection of some or all of:

  • Environment & climate change 
  • Identity, values & ideology
  • Social & political conflict 
  • Communication & participation 

Current student projects

Nic Badullovich, 'Towards effective climate communication: understanding the framing of climate change in an Australian context', ANU Centre for the Public Acceptance of Science: https://cpas.anu.edu.au/people/students/nic-badullovich

Inez Harker-Schuch, 'Using 3D serious gaming interventions to promote climate science literacy in the 12-13-year age group', ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society:https://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/people/students/ms-inez-harker-schuch

Phaothai Sin-Ampol, 'Community-based Adaptation of Repeated Flooding Communities in the Yom River Basin', ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society: https://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/people/students/mr-phaothai-sin-ampol

Aaron Tang, 'The Politics and Governance of Geoengineering', ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society: https://climate.anu.edu.au/aaron-tang 

Bronwyn Wilkes, 'Cultivating support for a biosensitive food system', ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society: https://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/people/students/ms-bronwyn-wilkes


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  26 February 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers