Dr Merryn McKinnon

BSc Hons (Marine Science), Grad Dip (Sci Comm), Masters Journalism, PhD (Sci Comm)
Honours Convener

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.

Her experience outside of academia informs her teaching, embedding her courses in 'real world' scenarios with an emphasis on engaging students in practical application of theory wherever possible.

She was one of 76 women selected to participate in the inaugural journey of Homeward Bound - a state of the art leadership and strategy initiative for women in science. She was the science communication coordinator for the 2018 Homeward Bound (HB2) intake, facilitating the further science communication skill development of those current and emerging leaders to help shape the future.

Merryn believes that communication is an essential part of the scientific process, and can create change which benefits us all.

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; informal education; health communication; and the impact of science communication skill development and activities with a particular focus on gender.

Peer-reviewed journal papers

Peer-reviewed encyclopaedia entries/book reviews/book chapters

  • O’Connell, C. & McKinnon, M. (in press) Communication: The bridge between knowledge and implementation. In Catarina C. Ferreira & Cornelya F.C. Klütsch (Eds), Closing the Knowledge-Implementation Gap in Conservation Science - Evidence Transfer across Spatiotemporal Scales and Different Stakeholders, Wildlife Research Monographs. Springer Publications
  • McKinnon, M. & Vos, J. (2016) Crossing a Threshold. In Maarten C.A. van der Sanden & Marc J. de Vries (Eds), Science and Technology Education and Communication: Seeking Synergy, (pp 27 - 46). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers
  • McKinnon, M. (2014) Layperson's guide to pandemics, Review of Pandemics, by Prof Peter Doherty, Medical Journal of Australia, 200:5, 297. DOI: 10.5694/mja13.00232
  • McKinnon, M. (2010) David Attenborough. In Susanna Hornig Priest (Ed), Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication, (pp 71 - 72). California: Sage Publications. 
  • McKinnon, M. (2010) Thomas Kuhn. In Susanna Hornig Priest (Ed), Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication, (pp 435 - 437). California: Sage Publications. 
  • McKinnon, M. (2010) Edward Teller. In Susanna Hornig Priest (Ed), Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication, (pp 884 - 885). California: Sage Publications. 

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

  • Sarvary, M., Gifford, K., Grant, W.J., McKinnon, M., Medvecky, F., & Lewenstein, B. (2018, April). Turning undergraduates into science storytellers. What are the best practices? Conference Proceedings, panel discussion presented at Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) 2018 biannual meeting, Dunedin, New Zealand, 3 – 6 April 2018.
  • McKinnon, M. Hawe, P., Hoepner, J., Grant, W.J., Beck, A. & O'Connell, C. (2018, April). Building Public Understanding of Population Health Science: Insights from a unique new collaboration. Roundtable discussion presented at Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), Biannual Conference, "Science, Stories and Society", Dunedin New Zealand, 3 - 6 April.
  • McKinnon, M. & O'Connell, C. (2018, April). Science communication and gender: challenges, opportunities and stereotypes. Workshop presented at Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), Biannual Conference, "Science, Stories and Society", Dunedin New Zealand, 3 - 6 April.
  • Durant, G. & McKinnon, M. (2016, September). Developing science communicators in Australia through a university-science centre-industry partnership: The Shell Questacon Science Circus. Paper presented at the Public Communication of Science and Technology Symposium - “Science communication as a profession: formal training, responsibilities and roles”, San Jose, Costa Rica, 28 - 30 September.
  • Moussa-Inaty, J., Barza, L. & McKinnon, M. (2014, April). A Closer Look at Science Education in Abu Dhabi Primary Schools Through Teacher Self-Efficacy. Paper 184, Conference Proceedings, presented at American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2014 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, United States of America, 3 – 7 April 2014.
  • McKinnon, M. (2010, December). Motivator, Supporter, Trainer: Science Centres and their Role with Primary School Teachers. Conference Proceedings, Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), 11th Annual Conference, New Delhi, India.

Popular writing/opinion pieces

Merryn is the lecturer for Science in the Media, Health Promotion and Protection, and convenes the Honours program.

She is also a regular presenter of some of CPAS's short courses.