Lucy's research focuses on the role of dialogue in social licence to operate engagement processes from multiple stakeholder perspectives.

Lucy is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and specialises in science communication between technical and non-technical audiences. Her research explores the multidimensional concept of ‘dialogue’ within the context of Social Licence to Operate (SLO). Specifically, Lucy’s PhD project focusses on the question: to what extent does proponent rhetoric about ‘meaningful dialogue’ translate into practice in attempts to establish a social licence? Lucy is using a mixed-methods research design to elucidate: (1) how different stakeholders in the SLO process understand, experience, and apply ‘dialogue’; and (2) how stakeholder perceptions of dialogue relate to and interact with central factors of SLO including perceptions of reciprocal trust, procedural fairness, and credibility. Her research is framed within the social psychology theory of Social Identity to add a depth of understanding to the consideration of individual stakeholder beliefs, expectations and values.

Outside of her PhD at SMI, Lucy also conducts research in the higher education sector. Her research focus there is on 'studnets as partners' - and educational pedagogy that reconceptualises students and staff in higher education as active collaborators in the teaching and learning endeavour. She also conducts research on developing innovative approaches to teaching undergraduate science students to communicate science effectively; and the development and evaluation of graduate learning outcomes.

Lucy has a Bachelor of Science (Ecology; Honours: Class I) and a Bachelor of Journalism. In 2016, Lucy was named co-fellow on a National Teaching Fellowship which focuses on the role of ‘students as partners’ initiatives in higher education, as part of her role in the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation at UQ. She is also an inaugural co-editor of the International Journal for Students as Partners. Lucy has taught science communication in a range of undergraduate science courses across biology, ecology, chemistry, and physics. She is a funded member of an International Collaborative Writing Group focusing on research exploring the Scholarship of Assessment in the Digital Age – an ISSoTL initiative. Lucy has experience in undergraduate teaching and learning, academic development, facilitating conference sessions, panel discussions, and workshops for both university students and teaching academics – nationally and internationally, and is the recipient of three PhD scholarships.


Lucy collaborates internationally and nationally with students and staff at numerous higher education institutions on research and professional development activities.

Key Publications

Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S. L., Matthews, K. E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A Systematic Literature Review of Students as Partners in Higher Education. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(1).

Mercer-Mapstone, L., & Matthews, K. E. (2016). Student perceptions of communication skills in undergraduate science at an Australian research-intensive university. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(1), 98-114. doi:10.1080/02602938.2015.1084492

Mercer-Mapstone, L., & Kuchel, L. (2015). Teaching Scientists to Communicate: Evidence-based assessment for undergraduate science education. International Journal of Science Education, 37(10), 1613-1638. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1045959

Matthews, K. E., & Mercer-Mapstone, L. (2016). Toward curriculum convergence for graduate learning outcomes: academic intentions and student experiences. Studies in Higher Education, 1-16. doi:10.1080/03075079.2016.1190704

Mercer-Mapstone, L., & Kuchel, L. (2015). Core Skills for Effective Science Communication: A Teaching Resource for Undergraduate Science Education. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 1-21. doi:10.1080/21548455.2015.1113573

Full list of publications available on espace


Lucy receives funding for various aspects of her research from the UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and a National OLT Teaching Fellowship.