Associate Professor Kim Nichols

Associate Professor

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 334 67236


Dr Kim Nichols has a PhD in neuroscience and a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Ottawa, Canada. She came to Australia on an International Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship to study at the Centre for Neuroscience at Flinders University in South Australia and then took up a National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowship to work in the Department of Physiology at Adelaide University. As a scientist, Kim developed curriculum for the Australian Science and Mathematics School, a senior secondary school on Flinders University Campus that provides STEM interdisciplinary curriculum using collaborative inquiry- and digital technology-based learning. She transitioned into STEM education at ASMS once she received her teaching accreditation and participated in delivery of innovative curriculum around contemporary topics such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, epidemiology, robotics and sustainability. Kim then took up a position at The University of Queensland as a STEM educator where she explores school STEM education that supports learners’ engagement, higher order thinking and scientific literacy through contemporary STEM topics, computational modelling, collaborative multimodal inquiry, connections to industry professionals and informal learning environments.

Research Interests

  • Scientific literacy
  • Inquiry science
  • STEM education
  • ICTs in science education

Research Impacts

Dr Kim Nichols is a science educator and recognised STEM education expert. She has considerable experience in working with the Department of Education and Training, the Queensland Science Museum and other industry partners to translate STEM discipline content (eg. biotechnology, nanotechnology, climate science, computational science) into practice and information that is accessible. These organisations seek out her expertise to lead research that seeks to support secondary/tertiary students and the broader public to develop a deeper understanding of these STEM disciplines and related socio-scientific issues through philosophical inquiry, computer-based simulations and other interactive learning tools/strategies. She has developed, delivered and researched curriculum around STEM topics for multiple Australian Research Council- and Office of Learning and Teaching-funded projects. As a STEM education expert, she has also consulted for national (The Learning Federation) and international (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization/UNESCO) educational organisations around STEM topics. Since 2007 she has been invited to Science Meets Parliament and associated events to advise members of parliament and industry on STEM education issues and her advice is also sought around STEM education policy.


  • Graduate Diploma in Education, The University of Adelaide
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Ott.
  • Bachelor in Science (Honours), Ott.
  • Bachelor of Science, Ott.


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Geelan, David, Nichols, Kim and McDonald, Christine V. (2022). Complexity and simplicity: framing the work. Complexity and simplicity in science education. (pp. 1-8) edited by David Geelan, Kim Nichols and Christine V. McDonald. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-79084-4_1

  • Geelan, David and Nichols, Kim (2022). Complexity and simplicity: looking back and looking forward. Complexity and simplicity in science education. (pp. 213-216) Cham, Switzerland: Springer Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-79084-4_12

  • Nichols, Kim, Burgh, Gilbert and Fynes-Clinton, Liz (2017). Reconstruction of thinking across the curriculum through the community of inquiry. The Routledge international handbook of philosophy for children. (pp. 245-252) edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory, Joanna Haynes and Karin Murris. Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Hilton, Annette, Nichols, Kim and Gitsaki, Christina (2010). Multiliteracies in secondary chemistry: A scaffolding model for the development of students chemical literacy using investigative inquiry. Multiliteracies and technology enhanced education: Social practice and the global classroom. (pp. 186-208) edited by Darren L. Pullen and David R. Cole. Hershey, United States: Information Science Reference. doi: 10.4018/978-1-60566-673-0.ch012

  • Nichols, Kim (2010). Understanding the links between learning and instructional design. The theory and practice of learning management; a text for the student of learning management. (pp. 7-24) edited by David Lynch and Bruce Allen Knight. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W., Australia: Pearson Australia.

  • Nichols, Kim (2007). What is learning: Current knowledge and theories. Learning management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. (pp. 21-29) edited by Richard Smith, David Lynch and Bruce Allen Knight. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Associate Professor Kim Nichols is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision