uni week 12

I continued to cut and edit the audio recordings of the CRCA Conference keynote speakers, as well seeking or confirming permission to upload the individual talks that made up the Showcasing CRC Early Career Scientists plenary session chaired by Professor Lyn Beazley, Chief Scientist of Western Australia.

Follow the link in the title of the talk to listen to the audio recording of the presentation.


Getting into The Guts of a Salty Problem
Ms Dianne Mayberry, CRC for Plant-based Management of Dryland Salinity, WA

Are You as Short-sighted as Your Brother?
Mr Mohamed Dirani, Vision CRC, NSW

A Convenient Solution to an Inconvenient Truth
Ms Julianna Franca, CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, ACT

Rapid Testing Now Available for Killer Viruses!
Ms Sheryl Maher, Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Diseases, QLD


Lightly Does it for Safe Aircraft
Mr Adrian Orifici, CRC for Advanced Composite Structures, VIC

Inhalation of Bushfire Smoke: A concern for Fire Fighters
Ms Annemarie de Vos, Bushfire CRC, VIC

Overturning 30 Years of Dogma in Poultry Disease
Mr Anthony Keyburn, Australian Poultry CRC, NSW

Combating the Seeds of Terror
Ms Rowena Long, Australian Weed Management CRC, SA

Say NO to Slime
Mr Nicolas Barraud, Environmental Biotechnology CRC, NSW

Friday’s lecture and tutorial session included a debriefing from the CRCA Conference, the topic of Risk Communication was introduced by Nancy Longnecker, our lecturer and course coordinator, and continued by Kim Harrison of Cutting Edge PR.

Nancy explained the types of risk; dread risk, personal risk, and societal risk. The perception of risk between lay people and experts was interesting, as was the discussion on risk psychology. Also, the idea that improved risk communication does not necessarily mean that you can lead all people to an expected conclusion or behaviour gave pause for thought.

Kim provided anecdotal evidence and real-world examples to complement Nancy’s introduction. Further, Kim explained that there is only a 0.2% correlation between the perception of risk by lay people and experts. That is, very little. Fortunately, 95% of issues (health & lifestyle, process, and risk management) are predictable, so Kim stated that you can prepare to address concerns such as:

  • trust
  • caring, listening, and empathy
  • competence and expenditure
  • dedication
  • honesty and openess

Kim concluded the session by inviting us to role play. The issue was the concerns of the staff at the ABC in Brisbane, Australia where nine women in 11 years developed breast cancer. As the Communications Officer, what would we have done?

References for the session included publications by Peter Sandman, Vincent Covello, and Kim’s own publication “Strategic Public Relations”, which is used as a set text at another university, Curtin University of Technology.


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