Science into Society
The Science into Society group facilitates discussions between a range of stakeholders, to share knowledge and information to address issues of strategic national importance.
22 June 2011 | Updated 16 November 2012
The importance of social science
How a technology or process, and the associated risks, is perceived by society can affect whether or not it is accepted.
If society considers the risks to be too great it can delay, or halt, the adoption of a new technology or process.
Understanding stakeholder perspectives can help to address any issues and concerns stakeholders may have early in the development process.
This can help to inform the development of the technology or process and potentially improve the outcomes and its relevance to society.
Science into Society group
The CSIRO Science into Society Group specialises in applied social research. Focusing on issues that are often socially contested, areas of interest include sustainable industry and community development, assessment of technology, social licence to operate and the investigation of related behavioural change.
By working with leaders in government, industry, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, our research helps to inform decisions and improve scientific understanding.
The group was initially developed to understand the technology transfer issues associated with Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.
They have since expanded their focus, adopting a broader approach of 'knowledge brokering' around a range of complex issues.
The group is divided into three teams which broadly focus on:
- behaviour and decision making
- resource futures
- adoption and adaptation.
The Science into Society group draws upon the collective expertise its members, including:
- social and organisational psychology
- decision making
- public policy
- behavioural intervention domains.
The group's research focus spans across a range of complex issues including:
- understanding the challenges faced by primary producers to assist in sustaining and transitioning rural industries, as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Flagship
- developing and applying best practice individual and group learning processes to encourage uptake of low emission technologies and behaviours
- exploring social, policy and regulatory dimensions of distributed energy, as part of the Energy Transformed Flagship
- benchmarking and improving vulnerability assessments and adaptation processes as part of the Climate Adaptation Flagship
- assessing the social implications of expanding seafloor exploration and mining as part of the Wealth from Oceans Flagship
- researching the social impacts of mining at a regional scale, and developing tools and processes to assist regions to manage transition as part of the Minerals Down Under Flagship.