Our Work

Recent Work

Social Research Evaluation for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre

In 2017, Wendy worked with Nicki Mazur, ENVision Environmental Consulting, to evaluate several social research projects within the Plant Biosecurity CRC, focusing on assessing the impacts of the research, including potential impacts, in improving the plant biosecurity system.


In 2017, Wendy worked with an Advanced Biotechnology group at QUT to develop a communication and engagement strategy to reach out about their work. At a workshop at their beautiful campus in Brisbane, they considered how to shift from a one-way, ‘deficit’ approach to communication, to a two-way approach to dialogue and engagement that can inform their research.

Wendy worked with the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis in 2016 on a research-policy workshop to consider evolutionary biology research and its use in policy and management, particularly in relation to biodiversity conservation. The workshop was held at the Australian National University in Canberra in September. More information and the workshop report is available here

Wendy also assisted Jacinta Cubis in facilitating a research-policy workshop in October 2015 on data communication for policy in relation to infectious diseases.


Wendy received funding from the newDemocracy Foundation in 2015 to work on a research project entitled Decisiveness, impact and influence of deliberative democracy processes: is there a simple relationship?, drawing on nDF work in deliberative democracy around the country. The issue of impact is timely given the recent shift in political rhetoric around consultation and engagement. A research report was published in April 2017.

Teaching & Training
Wendy designed and delivered a course on Science Dialogue. Practice and Theory through the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Australian National University in January 2016. The course was run again in December, 2016 and will run again in December this year. Find more information here

Research-Practice workshops

Wendy was lead organiser on a workshop to bring researchers and practitioners of democratic innovation together. The workshop, entitled Beyond the Vote, was held at the Open State conference in Adelaide in October, 2016. Wendy was joined by Chad Foulkes, Lucy Parry, Emerson Sanchez, Nicole Hunter and Emily Jenke on the working group for Beyond the Vote. The outcome was a new network, called Deliberators without Borders.

The Beyond the Vote workshop follows on from a workshop held in March 2015 called Crossing the Divide: Deliberative Democracy Theory and Practice, which Wendy organised with the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, The workshop explored recent theoretical and practical developments in the field, considered a range of current questions and challenges, and developed strategies to develop the practice and further the field in this country.

A LinkedIn group called Deliberative Democracy Workshop has been set up to continue the discussion, and a report from the workshop is available here.


Consultancy Work

Social Research Evaluation for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre

In 2017, Wendy worked with Nicki Mazur, ENVision Environmental Consulting, to evaluate several social research projects within the Plant Biosecurity CRC, focusing on assessing the impacts of the research, including potential impacts, in improving the plant biosecurity system.

North Central (Victoria) Catchment Management Authority Community Engagement Workshop

In 2014, Wendy worked with Nicki Mazur, ENVision, to design and deliver a one-day Community Engagement workshop to the North Central CMA in Bendigo.

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator Communication and Engagement Strategy

In 2014, Wendy worked with Janet Salisbury from Biotext Pty Ltd to draft a strategy and run an interactive workshop with the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), the agency responsible for regulating genetically modified organisms in Australia. The project considered communication and engagement efforts and opportunities for the OGTR and made recommendations for future engagement activities to build their relationships with stakeholders and the wider community.

The strategy is an internal document which will be considered by the new Gene Technology Regulator, due to be appointed later in 2016.


Academic Work


A.W. Russell (In preparation) ‘Best we can’ practice in community engagement. To be submitted to the Journal of Public Deliberation.

N. Marks and A.W. Russell (2015) Public engagement in biosciences and biotechnologies: Reflections on the role of sociology and STS. Journal of Sociology 51 (1): 97-115

A.W.Russell (2013) Improving Legitimacy in Nanotechnology Policy Development through Stakeholder and Community Engagement: Forging New Pathways, Review of Policy Research, 30 (5):566-587

F. Vanclay, A.W. Russell and J. Kimber (2013) Enhancing innovation in agriculture at the policy level: The potential contribution of Technology Assessment. Land Use Policy 31: 406-411

A.W. Russell, F. Vanclay, J. Salisbury and H. Aslin (2011) Technology assessment in Australia: The case for a formal agency to improve advice to policy makers. Policy Sciences 44: 157-177

Recent Presentations
Synthetic Biology

Previous Work

2010 – 2013 Science & Technology Engagement Pathways

STEP logo

The STEP (Science & Technology Engagement Pathways) framework was developed under the National Enabling Technologies Strategy (NETS) within the (then) Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research (DIISR). Wendy managed the development and implementation of STEP while working for the Department from 2010–13.

STEP was developed through a multistakeholder engagement and co-design process and was released in early 2012. The framework was implemented with a ‘STEP into the Future’ series of engagements between Feb 2012 and May 2013.


STEP was designed for uptake by other departments and organisations and has been published under Creative Commons (www.innovation.gov.au/step). The multistakeholder process and STEP into the Future have both been recognised by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)
Link: www.iap2.org.au/awards/2011-core-values-awards
Link: www.iap2.org.au/awards/2013-core-values-awards

The STEP framework document is available to download here. A paper about the development of STEP is available to download here.

(reports are available at www.innovation.gov.au/step if not, please contact Double Arrow for copies)

2006–09 ARC project – TASC (Technology Assessment in Social Context)

Wendy worked on the TASC project with Prof Frank Vanclay (University of Tasmania, now at University of Groningen, the Netherlands) and Dr Heather Aslin (Bureau of Rural Sciences, now Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)). The project involved a review of international technology assessment (TA) practice and institutionalisation, including a tour of TA agencies in Europe; the development of a framework for Australia – the TASC framework; and a case study, carried out be a PhD student, Julie Kimber, who has since graduated and is working for CSIRO. Papers from the project can be found here.

2005 Transdisciplinarity and Double Degrees

Wendy was granted funding from the University of Wollongong Educational Strategic Development Fund to investigate the development of transdisciplinary capacity through double degree programs. The research involved a literature review, a set of interviews, and a survey of double degree students on campus. The final report from the project, which was presented to the University Education Committee, is here . Papers from the project can be found here.

2004 Cotton Community Evaluation project

Wendy was awarded a Science and Innovation Award for Young People from the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2003. The project was a scoping study of the effects on a rural community in NSW of the use of genetically modified (GM) cotton. The research, based on the town of Wee Waa, involves a series of community-based focus groups with different stakeholder groups within the community. The final report from the research is here . A paper from the project can be found here.