Counter-Intuitive Science Communications Strategies to Reach Public Audiences

Link to seminar recording


29 August 2019

Time and Venues


Local Time

Adelaide Waite Campus – B101-FG-R00-BoardWICWest

12:00 pm

Armidale – B55-FG-R00-Small

12:30 pm

Bribie Island – B01-FG-Small

12:30 pm

Brisbane St Lucia QBP – Room 5.281

12:30 pm

Canberra Black Mountain – Discovery Lecture Theatre

12:30 pm

Irymple (See Natalie Strickland)

12:30 pm

Narrabri – Conference Room

12:30 pm

Perth Floreat B40-F1-R46-Rossiter Room

10:30 am

Sandy Bay (Hobart) – B2 F1 R24 River View Room

12:30 pm

Toowoomba – Media Lab Room

12:30 pm

Townsville – Meeting Room 145-231 (see Liz Do)

12:30 pm

Werribee (Melbourne) – B02 FG RG53

12:30 pm



Kevin M. Folta, Professor Horticultural Sciences Department & Graduate Program in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Florida



The public loves farmers and scientists, so why do they not trust farming and science?  The problem is a disconnect between those that raise and research food, and those that consume it.  Scientists and farmers consistently fail to step into public discussions, and when we do we do it incorrectly, frequently conjuring more mistrust. This unfortunate reality leaves an open stage for disinformation, as many grab the public’s attention to further ideological movements or maximize profit. The effects are many, but come from hindered deployment of safe technologies that could help farmers, the food insecure and the environment. To correct this discrepancy scientists and farmers need to engage the public using a counter-intuitive strategy grounded on listening rather than lecturing, understanding that concerns are real even if not scientific, and then building trust by leading with our values and ethics.  Scientists need to be agile in social media, as this is where the conversations are taking place. To ensure access to the best agricultural innovations scientists and farmers need to be meeting the public and communicating with them using a revised and effective strategy.


About the speaker

Kevin M. Folta is a professor in Horticultural Sciences, with active research in small fruit genomics, controlled environment agriculture, and novel small molecule discovery.  He also has been recognized for his efforts in teaching scientists and ag professionals how to communicate topics in genetics and agricultural technology. He was recognized with the prestigious CAST Borlaug Award in Agricultural Communications in 2016 and hosts the weekly Talking Biotech Podcast.



Kevin’s visit to Australia is supported by CropLife Australia


*Catering will be provided by CropLife Australia.

This is a public seminar.

Open-access to The CSIRO Discovery Theatre @ Black Mountain