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About us

The Centre

Evolving from the Postgraduate Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking in the Department of Zoology, the Centre for Science Communication was founded in 2008 by Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis, the Stuart Chair in Science Communication.

Today, the Centre is proud to be New Zealand’s original tertiary-based institute devoted to the public communication of science. We are one of the largest facilities in the world offering specialised degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in this burgeoning field. We offer endorsements in filmmaking, writing, and science in society.

Student achievements

Our students – more than 300 to date – come from around the globe and boast an impressive catalogue of achievements. Some have won the most prestigious awards in their industries for their creative contributions, including an Emmy Award (as well as two Emmy nominations), the New Zealand Book Award for “Best First Book,” a Wildscreen Panda Award (also known as the “Green Oscar”), best Feature Writer (Junior) in the Voyager Media Awards for excellence in NZ journalism, and a WWF Conservation Innovation Award.
Visit the Wildscreen Panda Award webpage.

Creative and original research

What really sets us apart is our focus on both creative output and original research. Our students and staff are not only creative professionals, but academic scholars in the field of science communication, with most conducting theory-based empirical research. Keys to the Centre’s success are its world-renowned research staff, practicing science communicators, and talented students.

The Director of the Centre, Associate Professor Jesse Bering, is an experimental psychologist who is also an acclaimed essayist and popular science writer.
Visit Associate Professor Jesse Bering's profile page.

Professor Lloyd Davis, a zoologist and award-winning author and filmmaker, also contributes to the writing programme and coordinates our PhD degree.
Visit Professor Lloyd Davis' profile page.

Professor Nancy Longnecker, a scholar in the study of science communication who has curated exhibits seen by thousands, spearheads the science in society endorsement as well as oversees the on-campus postgraduate coursework programmes
Visit Professor Nancy Longnecker's profile page.

Dr Fabien Medvecky, an economist whose work on ethics and science communication policy embodies the Centre’s interdisciplinary emphasis, is past president of the Science Communicators’ Association of New Zealand (SCANZ)
Visit Dr Fabien Medvecky's profile page.

The filmmaking stream is directed by Dr. Gianna Savoie, a National Geographic Explorer and Emmy-nominated director with over two decades of film industry experience. Students also receive hands-on instruction from Robert Brown (described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the top three wildlife cameramen in the world) and Jeff Avery, a longstanding producer and editor of documentaries, television, and films.
Visit the profile pages for Dr Gianna Savoie, Mr Robert Brown and Mr Jeff Avery.

Dr Catherine Cole, a climate science communicator who worked for the MET Office in the United Kingdom before joining us, is at the helm of the Centre’s social media outreach and coordinates our undergraduate degree (Minor in Science Communication).

Mr Steve Ting, a professional filmmaker and talented photographer (and an alumnus of the Centre’s first graduating class of 2009), provides additional support to both students and academic staff in his role as the department’s Teaching Fellow. Steve also serves as the first point of contact for students interested in our distance degree options.
Visit Mr Steve Ting's profile page.

Our friendly administrative staff, Anna Samuel and Michelle Moss, have many years of combined experience and are invaluable members of our team. In addition to making sure the everyday business of the department runs smoothly, they’re the first stop for any logistical questions related to the programme.