Professor Joan Leach

Chair, Academic Board and Director, Australian National Centre for Public Engagement with Science
ANU College of Science
BA, BSc, PhD

Professor Joan Leach is Chair of the Academic Board of the ANU and is Director of The Australian National Centre for Public Engagement with Science.    She sits on a number of ANU Committees which work together to govern the University and has guided University responses to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression, as well as continuing work to mitigate Academic Risk and navigate the challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

As an academic, Joan has had teaching and research roles at the University of Pittsburgh (USA), Imperial College London, and the University of Queensland before coming to the ANU in 2016.  Her research is centred on how knowledge travels across science and society (social epistemology), science communication, and public engagement with science.  She has held research funding from the ARC (Discovery and Linkage), the NHMRC (Medical Research Future Fund) and has also been funded by State, Territory, and Commonwealth Governments. She is active on a number of Editorial Boards for international journals and was Executive Editor of Social Epistemology.  Her recent books include An Ethics of Science Communication (with Fabien Medvecky) and the co-edited volume Science Communication:  A Global Perspective which collects the national stories of science communication from over 40 countries and territories.  She has supervised over 30 PhD students, hundreds of Masters coursework and research students and continues to regularly innovate in classroom and online teaching. 

Joan is Chair of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science at The Australian Academy of Science, past President of The Australian Science Communicators, and works with a variety of awards programs including Tall Poppies, the Eureka Prizes, and ABC Top 5.  She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Historical Records of Australian Science and the Royal Institution Australia.  While remaining transfixed by the positive impacts of science, she advocates for critical public engagement with science and helps to create forums where this engagement can meaningfully happen.