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Emeritus Professor, College of Human and Social Futures, University of Newcastle, Australia, University of Newcastle

Will Rifkin, PhD, is an engineer-turned-sociologist with degrees from MIT, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. His research focus is communication between technical and nontechnical people, and he has lectured in science, management, science communication, and natural resource development. He is an emeritus professor and consultant, having been director of the Hunter Research Foundation at the University of Newcastle, Australia, from 2017 to 2020 as Chair in Applied Regional Economics working to improve decision making in regional development. This position followed five years as Chair in Social Performance at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and Centre for Coal Seam Gas in the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland. He has also been an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. He conducts consultancy on the circular economy and sustainability for government, industry and non-governmental organisations.


  • 2012–2017
    Chair in Social Performance, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and Centre for Coal Seam Gas, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland
  • 2017–2017
    Chair in Applied Regional Economics and Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 2011–2017
    Honorary Associate Professor, School of Physics, University of Sydney
  • 2000–2010
    Director, Science Communication Program, Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales


  • 1990 
    Stanford University, PhD Sociotechnical Studies (Graduate Special Program)
  • 1982 
    University of California, Berkeley , MSc Energy & Resources
  • 1978 
    M.I.T. , BSc Physics


  • 2017
    Over 100 academic publications, Journal articles, book chapter, websites, etc.

Grants and Contracts

  • 2017
    Many grants in fields of management, improving university teaching, and investigating the effects of natural resource development
    Chief or principal investigator for $3+ million in grants
    Funding Source:
    Office for Learning and Teaching, ARC, UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas, Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences