Dr Merryn McKinnon

B. Sc (Hons), Grad Dip Sci Comm, MJour, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Honours Convenor
College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Media Studies 200104
  • Communication Studies 200101
  • Sociology And Social Studies Of Science And Technology 160808
  • History And Philosophy Of Science (Incl. Non Historical Philosophy Of Science) 220206
  • Gender Specific Studies 169901

Research interests

  • The relationship between science, publics and the media;
  • Public engagement in science inlcuding influences on beliefs and perceptions of science;
  • Factors affecting interpretation and understanding of communication messages;
  • The impact of science communication training and activities with a particular focus on gender;
  • Diversity and inclusion in STEM disciplines


Dr Merryn McKinnon's original degree was in marine science where, after the novelty of moving intertidal snails with a paint scraper wore off, she discovered that talking about her research to other people brought her far closer to her conservation goals than her actual project ever could.

This led her to the field of science communication where she has stayed ever since, working in a range of roles and countries. Merryn enjoys the diverse issues science communication allows her to explore, applying her innovative thinking and problem solving skills.

Merryn has worked and conducted qualitative and quantitative research nationally and internationally, in both non-academic and academic roles. She regularly contributes to ABC Radio on ABC Sydney's Nightlife and Radio National's Research Filter, talking about interesting science from around the world. Merryn designs and delivers science communication workshops, as well as workshops specifically for women in STEM.

Merryn's research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between science, media and publics. She conducts research which explores why publics react and respond to scientific issues the way they do in a variety of different disciplines including public health and conservation science. She is developing a research program exploring the influence of gender in STEM, especially STEM communication, and collating evidence of how effective initiatives to support gender equity actually are – a largely undeveloped area of research in Australia and internationally. She was the lead researcher for the Decadal Plan for Women in STEM, published by the Academy of Science and the Academy of Technology and Engineering (Applied) and is actively involved in developing and researching effective mechanisms to enhance and support equity and diversity in STEM.



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:  20 October 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers