Carol Oliver

Associate Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology
University of New South Wales, Australia
Phone: +61 (0)417 477 612

My doctoral thesis concerns the public understanding of astrobiology. I also have a research Masters in science communication from Central Queensland University. I am associate supervisor for two other ACA PhD students in the same area, Mikayla Keen and Jenny Fergusson. This group forms, within the ACA, a new field in the data-driven understanding of what it means to be scientifically literate in the context of astrobiology and space exploration. Such studies have application across the sciences.

In addition, the ACA has, from its inception, fully integrated education, media, and public outreach into its research programs. This has provided an excellent platform to take my lifetime’s experience in journalism and science journalism together with experience of education and outreach in the university environment to begin to understand what works and what does not, and why. There is an increasing demand for data-driven research on the public understanding of science. In addition, I have a expert role in developing virtual worlds with the NASA Astrobiology Institute team led by Arizona State University.

I am also involved with Australia’s efforts in space exploration. I am the Public Outreach Working Group Chair on the Australian Decadal Space Plan Steering Committee of the Australian Academy of Science National Committee on Space Science. In addition, I am active in international space exploration as a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). My roles include secretary of the IAA SETI Permanent Study Group, and Deputy Chair of its Post Detection Taskgroup. I also represented Australia at the International Astronautical Congress in Valencia, 2006, for a meeting of 14 space agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency. The meeting was one of a series in 2006 and 2007 to develop a global space exploration strategy document.