Rhian Salmon

Dr Rhian Salmon profile picture

Senior Lecturer Centre for Science in Society


Teaching in 2019


My research explores the context within which science communication and engagement operates both in New Zealand and internationally. My research career started with a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry, in Canada, followed by a post-doctoral researcher role with the British Antarctic Survey, which included 18 months ‘overwintering’ on a remote Antarctic base. After that, I switched fields and became the education, outreach, and communication coordinator for the International Polar Year 2007-08 before starting to explore theory and research in public engagement in more detail. I have expertise in catalysing conversations between scientists and different publics and have worked with a range of audiences on science festivals, public debates, global community events and expeditions.


My research seeks to inform the communication practice of scientists using knowledge taken from other disciplines – especially science communication, anthropology and science and technology studies – so that best practice and theories, which have been developed in the social sciences, can be integrated into science engagement efforts and that these experiences can further inform the field and practice as a whole.

Current research projects

  • Analysis of the Deep South National Science Challenge Engagement Programme
  • The Reflexive Scientist: research into new models for public engagement with science
  • Research into climate change communication, especially in New Zealand
  • Research into blended, flexible and resilient learning in tertiary education


I am interested in hearing from students seeking postgraduate supervision in any of my areas of research interest.

Current supervisions include:

  • Laura Kranz – ‘The role of emotion in science communication’, PhD.


I am a member of a number of panels, leadership teams and committees related to furthering and improving science communication including, for example, the Deep South National Science Challenge Engagement Team, the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand, and the engagement committee for Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre for Research Excellence.

I am also sometimes invited to give public speeches and talks, including being invited to speak outside Te Papa at the March for Science (April 2017) (see the Pantograph Punch) and at the Zonta Science Awards at Government House (June 2018), which was posted on the Governor General’s blog. This was the first time that words from a visiting speaker had been posted in this online space, which is usually reserved for the activities and speeches of the Governor General.

I also co-presented a seminar with Professor James Renwick: Climate change: What’s coming our way? part of Victoria University of Wellington’s free Spotlight Lecture Series in February 2018.

I have written, and been interviewed for, articles on science and science communication in New Zealand; including a commentary on how NZ must be global leaders in climate change with James Renwick, is our media covering climate change well, and TedX takes on new science focus.

Selected publications

  • Salmon, R. & Roop, H. (2019). Bridging the gap between science communication practice and theory: Reflecting on a decade of practitioner experience using polar outreach case studies to develop a new framework for public engagement design. Polar Record. doi:10.1017/S0032247418000608
  • Salmon, R. A., Priestley, R. K., & Goven, J. F. (2017). The reflexive scientist: an approach to transforming public engagement. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 7, 53-68. doi:10.1007/s13412-015-0274-4.
  • Salmon, R. A., Priestley, R. K., Milfont, T. L., & Fontana, M. (2017). Climate change communication in New Zealand. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.475
  • Cherrington, S., Macaskill, A., Salmon, R., Boniface, S. M., Shep, S., & Flutey, J. (2017). Developing a pan-university professional learning community. International Journal for Academic Development23, 298-311. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2017.1399271.
  • Salmon, R. (2016). Waiting for the Polar Sunrise. In R. Priestley (Ed.), Dispatches from Continent Seven: an anthology of Antarctic Science, Awa Press, Wellington, 313-327.
  • Salmon, R. A. & Jones, A. E (2014). From Ice to Space. In D. Liggett, B. Storey, V. Meduna & Y. Cook (Eds.), Exploring the Last Continent: An Introduction to Antarctica, Springer Science + Business Media, B.V., Dordrecht, Netherlands.
  • Salmon, R. A. (2014). Is climate science gendered? A reflection by a female "climate scientist." Women's Studies Journal27, 49-55.
  • Carlson, D.J., Salmon, R.A. (2010). The Past and Present of Polar Science. In B. Kaiser (Ed.), Polar Science and Global Climate - An International Resource for Education and Outreach, 5-24. London, UK: Pearson.

For a full publication list please see my Google Scholar profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ZOSKcOcAAAAJ&hl=en


Teaching in 2019