Heather Bray

Dr Heather Bray

Senior Research Associate

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts

Dr Heather Bray is a researcher exploring community understandings of, and attitudes to, the role of science and technology in food production, in particular genetically-modified crops and food, and farm animal welfare.

She has recently returned to full-time research after working for over 10 years in science communication, developing community engagement programs for agricultural research centres that use complex and controversial technologies. Her background is in agricultural science and she has worked as an animal scientist in both Australia and the Netherlands.

I am a Senior Research Associate in the Department of History, School of Humanities working with Professor Rachel Ankeny. My background is in agricultural and animal science, and science communication. My research focuses on understandings of and attitudes to science and technology in food production. I am interested in how attitudes to agriculture and food are shaped socially, culturally and historically. I'm curious about the role of social media in shaping these ideas. I'm motivated to improve the way the research community engages with the public in issues related to science and technology. I am also interested in how current research paradigms affect the development of early and mid career researchers.

Current projects include:

  • “Making plants better; making Australia better? A history of genetic modification science, policy, and community attitudes in Australia.” ARC Discovery Project, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.
  • “Getting to the meat of the matter: social and economic issues in animal welfare in Australia’s livestock industries” ARC Linkage Project, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny and A.Prof Wendy Umberger.

Recent projects include:

  • “Leading or lagging behind? How is the moratorium on GM food crops framed by the media in rural and urban South Australia” FRAGS, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny, Dr Michael Wilmore
  • “Not appropriate dinner table conversation? Talking to children about meat production” FRAGS, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.
  • “What shall we have for tea? Towards a new discourse of food ethics in contemporary Australia” ARC Discovery Project, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.
  • “Understanding women’s attitudes to genetically modified foods” NETS/DFEEST, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny and Dr H. Bray; Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.
  • “Understanding industry and consumer attitudes to the use of genetic modification in the wine industry” Wine2030, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.
  • “History of GM in Australia” FRAG, Prof Rachel A. Ankeny.

For more information go to Food Values Research Group webpage.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2011 Senior Research Associate University of Adelaide
    2011 - 2014 Public Engagement and Researcher Development Officer University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2011 Project Officer University of Adelaide
    2008 - 2010 Program Leader, Education and Training University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2007 Education Manager University of Adelaide
    2003 - 2005 Education Officer University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Award SA Science Excellence Awards Unsung Hero - Science Communication - Finalist Government of South Australia Department for Industry and Skills Australia
    2014 Fellowship Barbara Kidman Women's Fellowship University of Adelaide
    2005 Nomination Premier’s Science Excellence Awards Science Educator of the Year, Co-Finalist
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1988 - 1991 University of Sydney Australia Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Hons)
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    2002 - 2003 Graduate Diploma in Sciences Communication Central Queensland University Australia
    1992 - 1997 Doctor of Philosophy University of Sydney Australia
  • Research Interests

Since 2012 I have been a guest lecturer for Communicating Science (Science 7020 and in 2015 also Science 3200) in online communication, oral presentation, networking, the political and economic context of Australian science, and event planning, marketing and evaluation.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 Co-Supervisor The Bounty of The Suburbs- Backyard Food Production and Use in Adelaide, Post World War Two to the Present Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Linda Alison Haines
    2016 Co-Supervisor 'Blackboxing' Australian Science? Understanding Popular Perceptions of Science in Australia, 1939- 1963 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Lisa Hunt
    2015 Co-Supervisor History of Community Attitudes and Activism in Australia Around The Emergence and Development of GM for Food and Agricultural Purposes, 1970s- Present Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Kelly Anne McKinley
    2015 Co-Supervisor Science at the Interface: Community Engagement and The Promise and Transdisciplinarity Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Virginia Elizabeth Baker
    2015 Co-Supervisor Consumer and Producer Perception of Animal Welfare Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Emily Anne Buddle
    2015 Co-Supervisor Rethink Difference with The Non-Human Animal: Eating Animals As a Site to Criticize Cultural Difference Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Yvette Kim Clarissa Wijnandts
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor A History of Local Food in Australia 1788 - 2015 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Susan Chant
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2014 - 2016 Member Radio Adelaide Advisory Committee Radio Adelaide
    2012 - ongoing Member Australian Science Communicators South Australian Branch
  • Position: Senior Research Associate
  • Phone: 83135608
  • Email: heather.bray@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4341
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 4
  • Room: 4 06
  • Org Unit: History

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