Position: Scientist, Field: Social research, Organisation: Scion.

Lisa Langer is a social research scientist. One of her current areas of focus is social research for rural fire research. This includes work with communities, their resilience and recovery following wildfires, and fire danger warning communication.

Lisa was interested in science and the natural environment at school. At university, she completed an honours degree in forestry science.

Lisa worked in Indonesia for 6 months before participating in a programme involving rehabilitation of degraded wasteland. This took her to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines over a period of 6 years. Lisa then completed a course on social forestry in the United Kingdom.

Back in New Zealand, Lisa initiated research projects that involved a sustainable approach to forestry by considering social and cultural factors alongside environmental and economic factors.

Lisa’s current research is social research in three areas – sustainable use of biowastes, biosecurity and rural fire research.

Lisa’s role

Her role involves developing relationships with key individuals within iwi, national and local government and the community. It means talking and attending meetings and hui on marae. It also involves collaborating with a diverse range of interesting people from other research agencies, universities and rūnanga. Lisa also works with researchers from other countries. She spent 6 months working with a scientist from the United States studying a small rural community in the South Island that had been affected by a rural fire.

Lisa conducts interviews and community dialogue, runs workshops and manages budgets. She also writes a lot of technical reports, journal papers and newsletters, and prepares presentations describing the results from the research. She attends conferences, meets new people and visits interesting parts of the world.

Social research is an interesting career where you can work with a diverse range of people within a variety of research teams to develop sustainable solutions that do not just consider environment and economics but take social and cultural issues into account.

Lisa Langer

Lisa also enjoys tramping/walking, international travel, gardening, reading and her family.

This article is based on information current in 2009.

    Published 27 November 2009