Branden Johnson, a senior research scientist at Decision Research, pursues basic and applied research in risk perception and risk communication, with additional publications in environmental policy and resource economics. His basic research has covered diverse topics, including trust, uncertainty, gender and ethnicity, risk comparisons, and information processing, among others. His applied research has been primarily in the environmental field, partly reflecting his quarter-century with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection before joining DR, mostly as a research scientist, but also as a drinking water regulator. In addition to drinking water, he has dealt with such topics as air pollution, black bears, chemical accidents, climate change, hazardous waste, low-level radioactive waste, radon in indoor air, terrorism and wetlands, among others. Before joining NJDEP, Dr. Johnson was a tenured associate professor of science, technology, and society at Michigan Technological University, and an assistant professor of geography at University of Pittsburgh, and has held adjunct positions in human ecology and geography at Rutgers University and in public health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University).
Dr. Johnson has served as Chair of the Risk Communication Specialty Group, and is a Fellow, of the Society for Risk Analysis (among other positions there) and as President of the Risk Assessment and Policy Association, and on National Research Council committees on drinking water contaminants and human biomonitoring. He is on the editorial board of Risk Analysis, and has been a reviewer for multiple journals (from political science, psychology and geography to risk and the environment) and national and international agencies (both basic and applied research).
Dr. Johnson began his career as a qualitative researcher, using such techniques as participant observation, interviews and focus groups, but has done extensive work using surveys, Q analysis, and experiments as well. He has consulted with both industry and government.