SA has potential to lead forensic science innovation

A new agreement between Flinders University and Forensic Science South Australia has the potential to establish the State as a world leader in the field of forensic science research.

The Memorandum of Understanding will see the State Government provide $200,000 in funding annually to Flinders University to boost its forensic science research profile across the Schools of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences, with a particular focus to explore new frontiers in DNA testing.

“This is an important initiative by the South Australian Government especially in light of the current direction of DNA analysis across the world,” Flinders University forensic science specialist, Professor Hilton Kobus said.

“It puts South Australia in line with other governments around the world who are committing quite heavily to growing their DNA profiling capacity, particularly to ensure their local police forces have the opportunity to exploit the use of forensic technology to its full potential when conducting criminal investigations,” he said.

“The partnership will allow Flinders to conduct research that will directly benefit the Forensic Science South Australia and laboratories around the world, providing both institutions with the opportunity to be at the forefront of the sector yet again.”

The partnership, which will be funded by the Department of Justice, will also be used to establish the SA Justice Chair in Forensic DNA Technology at the University, with the aim of continuing the ground-breaking role of Emeritus Professor Leigh Burgoyne – which included the invention of a DNA sample paper that has changed the way sampling, storage and extraction occurs around the world.

The new Chair will enhance and build upon the University’s standing as an innovator in the forensic sciences industry both in Australia and around the world.

“Flinders has played a significant role in the development of DNA analysis since the early 1980s and we want to ensure that history and status at Flinders is continued,” Professor Kobus said.

“We are also hoping that the University’s solid reputation in this area will help to leverage grants and further establish the existing partnership with Forensic Science South Australia.

The new forensic science partnership was launched on Friday, 5 December by the Attorney-General, Mr Michael Atkinson, the Chief Executive of the Department of Justice, Mr Jerome Maguire, and the Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University, Professor Michael Barber.

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