Associate Professor Bec Colvin

Associate Professor; Environment, Resources & Development
Crawford School of Public Policy

Bec Colvin is a social scientist and associate professor with the Resources, Environment & Development Group at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Bec researches the social and political dimensions of contentious issues associated with climate policy and energy transition. Her research is focused on understanding the complexity of how different people and groups engage with social, policy, and political conflict about climate and energy issues, particularly through the theoretical lens of the social identity approach. She has explored conflict about wind energy, coal seam gas, coal, and climate policy and energy transition more broadly, in settings ranging from the public sphere through to local communities.

Bec is lead investigator on a 2022-2025 Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project that seeks to understand the influence of ‘unconventional advocates’ – like farmers, business people, and political conservatives – on public opinion about climate policy, and holds a 2023-2026 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award that aims to identify ways to establish constructive and community-led dialogue on regional futures in coal-producing areas.

At the Crawford School of Public Policy, Bec teaches courses on the role and practice of communication in climate and environmental policy, quantitative social research methods, independent research on climate policy, and is Co-Convener of the Master of Climate Change and Convenor of the Graduate Certificate of Climate Policy. Bec is on the editorial board of leading journal Environmental Research Letters, and is a regular contributor to the media on issues to do with climate and energy.

For an up-to-date list of publication, please see my Crawford School profile at the following URL:

Research interests

  • Social & political conflict about climate and environmental issues.
  • Interactions between identity, values, and ideology, in shaping attitudes toward climate and environmental issues.
  • Social experiences of energy transition & development, with a focus on wind, coal, and unconventional gas.
  • Effective communication on climate change and environmental issues.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement process dynamics.
  • Badullovich, N, Grant, W & Colvin, R 2020, 'Framing climate change for effective communication: a systematic map', Environmental Research Letters, vol. 15, no. 12, pp. 1-16.
  • Colvin, R 2020, 'Social identity in the energy transition: an analysis of the 'Stop Adani Convoy' to explore social-political conflict in Australia', Energy Research & Social Science, vol. 66, p. 20.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2020, 'Power, perspective, and privilege: The challenge of translating stakeholder theory from business management to environmental and natural resource management', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 271, pp. 1-9.
  • Colvin, R, Ross, H & Baldwin, C 2020, 'Social dimensions of energy system change in a disrupted world', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 117-122.
  • Colvin, R, Bradd Witt, G, Lacey, J, McCrea, R 2020, 'The role of conflict framing and social identity in public opinion about land use change: An experimental test in the Australian context', Environmental Policy and Governance, DOI:
  • Colvin, R. M., Kemp, L., Talberg, A., De Castella, C., Downie, C., Friel, S., Grant, W. J., Howden, S. M., Jotzo, F., Markham, F. & Platow, M. J. 2020, 'Learning from the Climate Change Debate to Avoid Polarisation on Negative Emissions', Environmental Communication 14:1, 23-35, DOI:10.1080/17524032.2019.1630463.
  • Colvin, R, Crimp, S, Lewis, S et al. 2020, 'Implications of Climate Change for Future Disasters', in Anna Lukasiewicz & Claudia Baldwin (ed.), Natural Hazards and Disaster Justice: Challenges for Australia and Its Neighbours, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore, pp. 25-48.
  • Cvitanovic, C, Colvin, R, Reynolds, K et al 2020, 'Applying an Organizational Psychology Model for Developing Shared Goals in Interdisciplinary Research Teams', One Earth, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 75-83.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B, Lacey, J et al 2019, 'The community cost of consultation: Characterising the qualitative social impacts of a wind energy development that failed to proceed in Tasmania, Australia', Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol. 77, pp. 40-48.
  • Harker-Schuch, I, Mills, F, Lade, S, Colvin, RM 2020, 'CO2peration - Structuring a 3D interactive digital game to improve climate literacy in the 12-13-year-old age group', Computers and Education, vol. 144, no. 103705, pp. 1-16.
  • Cvitanovic, C, Howden, M, Colvin, R et al 2019, 'Maximising the benefits of participatory climate adaptation research by understanding and managing the associated challenges and risks', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 94, pp. 20-31.
  • Moon, K, Blackman, D, Adams, V et al 2019, 'Expanding the role of social science in conservation through an engagement with philosophy, methodology, and methods', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 294-302.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2018, 'Using a Community Vote for Wind Energy Development Decision-Making in King Island, Tasmania', Case Studies in the Environment, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-7.
  • Bednarek, A, Wyborn, C, Cvitanovic, C et al 2018, 'Boundary spanning at the science-policy interface: the practitioners' perspectives', Sustainability Science, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 1175-1183.
  • Althor, G., Mahood, S., Witt, B., Colvin, R. M., & Watson, J. E. M. 2018. Large-scale environmental degradation results in inequitable impacts to already impoverished communities: A case study from the floating villages of Cambodia. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-018-1022-2.
  • Lacey, J, Howden, M, Cvitanovic, C, Colvin RM 2018, 'Understanding and managing trust at the climate science/policy interface', Nature Climate Change, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 22-28.
  • Whiley, D, Witt, B, Colvin, R et al 2017, 'Enhancing critical thinking skills in first year environmental management students: a tale of curriculum design, application and reflection', Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 166-181.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2016, 'How wind became a four-letter word: Lessons for community engagement from a wind energy conflict in King Island, Australia', Energy Policy, vol. 98, pp. 483-494.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2016, 'Approaches to identifying stakeholders in environmental management: Insights from practitioners to go beyond the 'usual suspects'', Land Use Policy, vol. 52, pp. 266-276.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2015, 'Strange bedfellows or an aligning of values? Exploration of stakeholder values in an alliance of concerned citizens against coal seam gas mining', Land Use Policy, vol. 42, pp. 392-399.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2015, 'The social identity approach to understanding socio-political conflict in environmental and natural resources management', Global Environmental Change - Human and Policy Dimensions, vol. 34, pp. 237-246.