Forensic researchers invited to join global forum

An important annual forensic research symposium that is usually hosted by the Co van Ledden Hulsebosch Center, Netherlands Centre for Forensic Science and Medicine, University of Amsterdam made an important change this year due to COVID-19 that resulted in a great opportunity for Flinders researchers and students.

Because this year’s event had to be Internet-based, the symposium organisers decided to also make it available to other forensic researchers and invited 11 other Academic Expertise Centres in Forensic Science and Education to join them.

The resulting global online lecture series – CROSSING FORENSIC BORDERS – will run fortnightly from December 2020 until June 2021 with different institutions hosting each lecture, and Flinders University will host the event in May 2021.

To start this new style of symposium, more than 300 forensic science academics and students from 14 Academic Expertise Centres in Forensic Science and Education in seven countries logged in to the first in a series of virtual Symposia.

This event was hosted by the Co van Ledden Hulsebosch Center, Netherlands Centre for Forensic Science and Medicine, University of Amsterdam and had sessions on recent advances in Explosive and Drug Detection, Forensic Medicine and Biophysics and Digital Forensics and Criminalistics.

The series now moves to the USA for the second session.

Associate Professor Stewart Walker, from the College of Science and Engineering, is delighted that Flinders will get to host a session in 2021, which is the 21st anniversary of the graduation of the first cohort of forensic and analytical chemists.

“It is recognition of Flinders’ standing in the international forensic science community that we are one of the first 11 centres invited to participate,” says Associate Professor Walker. “This will be an opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements past, present and future and speak to the world.

“I know many of the forensic researchers from the other institutes, through meeting them at various international conferences and hosted several of them at the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science International Symposium and the Australian Energetic Material Symposia when hosted by Flinders in Adelaide.”

The format will be a welcome and introduction to the host organisation then split into parallel sessions where a professor and then a PhD or Honours student will present their research. The formal session will be followed by a Forensic Pub Quiz for students to socialise.

“This series of events means that more of our students will have the opportunity than before the COVID-19 crisis to hear about global forensic research, and present their research to a global audience and interact with profs and students from around the world,” says Associate Professor Walker. “So there is something positive to come out of the restrictions, after all.”

Flinders had a significant international presence among those who attended the first Global Forensic Science Lecture, beamed online from the Netherlands on the evening of Wednesday December 2; including Associate Professor Walker (Scotland), PhD Candidate Belinda Martin (Canada and Netherlands), PhD Candidate Amy Griffith (Switzerland), PhD Candidate Todd Kaesler (Australia) and PhD Candidate Emma Kent (England and America).

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