Professor Sharon BederProfessor Sharon Beder


Sharon Beder is a Professorial Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong.

Sharon's research has focussed on how power relationships are maintained and challenged, particularly by corporations and professions. She is interested in the dynamics of environmental and technological controversies, social aspects of engineering; environmental politics; the rhetoric of sustainable development; the philosophies behind environmental economics; and trends in environmentalism and corporate activism/public relations. Most recently she has broadened her research interests to include a critique of the work ethic; market solutions to social problems; and neoliberalism more generally.

She has written 10 books, around 150 articles, book chapters and conference papers, as well as educational monographs, consultancy reports and teaching resources.

Her books, some of which have been translated into other languages, include:

Sharon initially trained and worked as a civil engineer before becoming interested in the social, political and philosophical aspects of engineering and then environmental politics. She completed a PhD in Science and Technology Studies at the University of NSW in 1989 based on research into the process of engineering decision-making using a case study on the development of Sydney's sewerage system.

Before joining the University of Wollongong in 1992, Sharon was Environmental Education Co-ordinator at the University of Sydney where she produced educational resources, ran continuing education and professional education courses, and designed postgraduate degrees and diplomas. She has also been Chairperson of the Environmental Engineering Branch of the Institution of Engineers, Sydney, President of the Society for Social Responsibility in Engineering, and a director of the Earth Foundation Australia.


  • PhD, Science and Technology Studies, University of New South Wales, 1989
  • Master of Science and Society, University of New South Wales, 1985
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) 1st Class Honours, Canterbury University, New Zealand, 1978


  • included in 'Top 100, Australia's most influential engineers', Engineers Australia, 2004
  • included in 'Smart 100', Bulletin Magazine, 2003
  • World Technology Award for Ethics 2001
  • High Commendation for IEAust Award for Cultural Change in Engineering Education 1998
  • Michael Daly Prize for Excellence in Science, Technology and Engineering Journalism 1992
  • nomination for prestigious Eureka Prize for environmental research in 1990 and 1991
  • Media Prize, Australian Surfers Hall of Fame, 1990
  • Commonwealth Postgraduate Award, 1985-1988


Last reviewed: 30 May, 2018