Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Professor of Communication, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Communication, a monthly columnist at Issues in Science and Technology magazine, and a regular contributor to Scientific American.
Nisbet studies the relevance of communication, advocacy, and philanthropy to managing complex social problems such as climate change and political polarization. He is the author or co-author of more than 75 peer-reviewed studies, scholarly book chapters, and reports including the recent American Association for Advancement of Science report on Scientists in Civic Life: Facilitating Dialogue-Based Communication and the 2017 U.S. National Academies consensus study on Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda.
With his co-author Declan Fahy, he is currently writing a book with Harvard University Press that examines the influence of a special generation of public intellectuals who have helped define the major scientific and social issues of our time. By evaluating the careers of writers like Bill McKibben, Michael Pollan, Malcolm Gladwell, and Naomi Klein, the book explores the power of ideas and narratives to influence public opinion, inspire social movements, and alter political decisions.
In recently funded projects, Nisbet analyzed the role of strategic philanthropy in supporting actions to address climate change; evaluated sources of financial support for non-profit journalism; and is currently identifying best practices in journalistic coverage of climate change resilience.
At Northeastern, he teaches courses in political communication, strategic communication, and media advocacy. Nisbet holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College.
Among awards and recognition, he has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. His 2018 edited volume The Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication was recognized as a PROSE award finalist by the Association of American Publishers. According to Reuters Web of Knowledge, Nisbet’s research has been cited in the peer-reviewed literature more than 3,500 times, and according to Google Scholar more than 9,500 times. In terms of scholarly impact, these metrics rank him among the most influential communication researchers of his generation.
Nisbet’s research has been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Barr Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Bernard and Ann Spitzer Trust, and Nathan Cummings Foundation. His consulting experience includes analysis on behalf of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Centers for Disease Control, ecoAmerica, Pfizer Inc, Clean Air Task Force, and L’Oreal Paris. As an invited speaker, he has given lectures on more than four dozen university and college campuses worldwide and at many other scholarly and professional meetings.