Dr Rachel Hay is a Social Scientist and early career researcher teaching into Marketing for the College of Business Law and Governance at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.  Rachel’s research centres on trans-disciplinary approaches to sustained behaviour change in social marketing, technology adoption and environmental protection interventions.  Projects around changing behaviour include the adoption of technology in rural, regional and remote areas, reducing sediment and nutrient run-off in sugar cane farming and grazing, the Digital Homestead Project, Instant Feedback Assessment Techniques, Business Coaching, FIFO and the Creative Industries.  Dr Hay is the Adoption Stream Leader in the JCU Agricultural Technology and Adoption Centre (Ag-TAC) and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Cairns Institute.  Rachel is also a member Pacific Connect (building stronger relationships between people in Australia and the Pacific).  Rachel’s passion is to support rural, regional and remote regions to get connected and stay connected through reliable, sustained and affordable internet connectivity.

Books and Book Chapters



Journal of Social Marketing (Emerald Insight)

Ecological Management & Restoration (Wiley)

Oceans and Coastal Management (Elsevier) (Guest Editor)


Dean's Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence

Media Interviews and Articles

Rural women taking tech reins, 2014

High-tech may be revolutionary for rural women, 2015

Hi-Tech Helps Women on the Farm, 2015

Women use tech to drive cattle farming business in rural Australia, 2016

Women take the lead with technology on cattle properties, 2016

James Cook University researchers hard at work on scientific breakthroughs, Best of the Best, 2017

Ag-Tech... So What? Episode 49: Rachel Hay on the role of women in agtech adoption, 2019

Women calling the shots on Farm Tech, 2020


  • BU1108: Marketing Matters (Level 1; CNS, SIN & TSV)
  • BU1808: Marketing Matters (Level 1; CNS, SIN & TSV)
  • BU2108: Marketing Matters (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • BX3186: Marketing for Social Change (Level 3; TSV)
  • Technology Adoption by Women In Agriculture
  • Agriculture
  • Women in Agriculture
  • Human Dimensions
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing Communication
  • Instant Feedback Assessment Techniques (IF-AT)
  • Widening Participation
  • Content Analysis
  • Data Analysis
  • 2015 to present - Volunteer Data Analyst, Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2019 - Research Fellow, The Digital Toolbox Project, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2017 to 2018 - Research Lead, AgriNet Project, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2016 to 2018 - Research Assistant, NESP Project 2.1.3, James Cook University/National Environmental Science Program (Townsville)
  • 2017 - Research Assistant, NESP Project 3.1.3, James Cook University/National Environmental Science Program (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
  • 2019 - Dean’s Award for Higher Degree by Research Excellence, James Cook University
  • 2019 - Sessional Teaching Award, James Cook University
  • 2019 - JCU College Business Law & Governance Research Recognition Awards prize winner: Category 3 - produce 3 or more book chapters in the one calendar year in edited works from quality publishers with ISBN recognition.
  • 2018 - Inclusive Practice Award (Student Nominated), James Cook University
  • 2015 to 2018 - Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 2013 - Academic Medal, James Cook University
  • 2013 - Philip Pearce Award, James Cook University

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 34+ research outputs authored by Dr Rachel Hay from 2014 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Tender

Understanding the influence of media and community narratives on Great Barrier Reef water quality management

Indicative Funding
$249,546 over 3 years
News media play a key role in communicating knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef and the risks it faces (Foxwell-Norton and Lester 2017). While media influence on community responses in contested marine protected areas has been demonstrated (Voyer et al. 2013), the multiple pathways through which media can influence outcomes for the GBR are not well understood. This project will map the GBR `media landscape? ? the sources of mainstream and social media, the communication networks and the narratives, values and behaviours in water quality decision-making and practice that media both shape and reflect. Ultimately, the analysis will deliver practical outputs through collaboration with GBR water quality management end users.
Maxine Newlands, Tracey Mahony, Rachel Hay and Erin Bohensky (College of Arts, Society & Education, College of Business, Law & Governance and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Water Quality; Media; Governance; Social Media; Networks; behavioural

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environment Science Program (NESP) - Total Water Quality (TWQ)

Influencing agriculture practice behaviour change and trust frameworks.

Indicative Funding
$13,500 (administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre)
The ecologically-determined water quality improvement targets for the Great Barrier Reef can only be met with significant improvement in farm management practices. Numerous programs over many years, utilising a variety of approaches, have worked with land managers and representative farmer groups, seeking to achieve high levels of uptake of recommended farming practices. However, these have only met with low-moderate success. There has been significant work encouraging and facilitating behaviour and practice change in recent years, including through, but certainly not limited to, the NESP TWQ Hub. Programs encouraging behaviour and practice change are set to remain a feature of contemporary reef funding programs. Thus it is timely to coordinate a synthesis of learnings in this domain. Increasing understanding of, and improving trust frameworks and behaviour change of land managers will lead to improved water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. Understanding the impetus, benefits and barriers of behaviour change for agricultural practice is a large step in improving water quality to the Great Barrier Reef.
Suzanne Long, Rachel Hay, Aaron Davis, Allan Dale, Norman Duke, Bruce Taylor, Marie Vitelli and Julie Carmody in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Peter Thorburn and Jim Smart (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, College of Business, Law & Governance, TropWATER, Cairns Institute, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, College of Science & Engineering and Griffith University)
Farming; Agriculture; Behaviour Change; Best practice; Culture

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Consultancy

Digital Extension Toolbox

Indicative Funding
To encourage practice change in agriculture, DAF extension staff must be able to leverage "social" to deliver targeted and timely messages to discreet stakeholder groups at the hyper-local, project or peer level. This proposal is for the creation of a Digital Extension Toolbox, inclusive of a Community of Practice and Best Practice guidelines: a dynamic action-learing and risk management project designed to nimbly support staff in performing their work agilely over social engagement channels. Thisis is a pilot, desinged as an agile sprint, running from Feb-Jun 2019. During this time, we will develop a Best Management Practice (BMP) for each of four social engagement channels. Once a BMP has been deemed ready for trial, we will develop a Community of Practice and intiate a live trial. Online activity will be monitored, engagement metrics collected and oversight propvided by our 'Toolbox Investors': a matrix of committed internal stakeholders. The end goal being to provide DAF extension staff with a Toolbox full of relevant social media tools and instructions for their safe use.
Rachel Hay (College of Business and Law & Governance)
Digitial Extension; Best Practce; Social Engagement; Community of Practice; Social Media

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Understanding the motivations and barriers to adoption and effective use of connectivity technologies by SMEs in RRR Australia (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Measuring and quantifying the benefits of improved Internet connectivity in regional and remote Australia and its effect on adoption of technology (PhD , Primary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • 28.208, Marine & Tropical Biology 2 (Townsville campus)
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