Ten years of forensic science at UTS and still going strong
The UTS Centre for Forensic Science (CFS) was first launched in November 2002 and this year it celebrated its ten year anniversary. To mark this special occasion, an intimate commemorative event was held at UTS on the 19th of March inviting staff, students, alumnus and industry contacts to participate and recognise the Centre’s significant achievements.
The Centre was originally established in 2002, capitalising on UTS’s leading position in forensics as the first university in Australia to offer a forensic science undergraduate degree back in 1994.
Since then, the Centre has steadily built its reputation for research excellence and impact. With strong Honours and PhD programs and a well-known reputation for superior forensic science research, the Centre leads Australia in terms of publishing in the top forensic peer reviewed journals and delivering research outcomes that benefit society both here in Australia and globally.
Through the work of dedicated staff and research students, the UTS Centre for Forensic Science has delivered many Australian and international breakthroughs over the last decade.
Some of the significant achievements include:
• The first Australian university to graduate a PhD student in forensic science - Dr Naomi Speers (nee Jones) in 2002. This was a project in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police and Reserve Bank of Australia. It was evident right from the establishment of the Centre that collaboration and partnership with the relevant industry and forensic professions was core to the Centre’s remit and approach.
• The Centre also produced the first comprehensive study about the impact of DNA profiling on the Criminal Justice System.
• The first comprehensive study about the effectiveness of forensic science in collaboration with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies and forensic and law enforcement partners.
• The first research program in forensic intelligence.
• Researchers within the centre developed the first lab-on-a- chip methods to detect and analyse explosives and illicit drugs in the field.
• A series of researchers and research students within the Centre have developed many world first fingerprint detection techniques, including:
- Developing and enhancing fingermarks on polymer banknotes.
- Chemical imaging techniques.
- Nanotechnology approaches.
- Near-infrared techniques.
- Thermal imaging technology – ground breaking UTS research recently commercialised by a UK company.
- Antibodies targeting amino acids and other eccrine secretions.
- Aptamer based fingermark enhancement technique using sweat protein – lysozyme as a target.
• Novel DNA based forensic intelligence tools: Inferring ethnic background and phenotypic characteristics of unknown persons.
• The first Australian Research Council Future Fellow research program into forensic canine detection with Professor Shari Forbes.
• A strong drugs in sport research program funded through the Federal Government and much more.
It is clear that the UTS Centre for Forensic Science is innovative and has been at the forefront of a paradigm shift in forensic science research and applications. The Centre integrates research and teaching, directly feeding into the lab work and undergraduate curriculum ensuring a real, future focused and practical experience. In turn the Centre’s graduates are highly employable going on to lead in their respective professions and industries.
With such a strong presence in the forensic science community the UTS Centre for Forensic Science has built up long-lasting, strategic research partnerships with key organisations, such as The National Institute of Forensic Science, Australian Federal Police, NSW Police Force, NSW Forensic and Analytic Science Service, National Measurement Institute, Agilent technologies, XTEK and other State and Federal organisations and analytical equipment companies and this support has been central to ensuring the research is cutting edge and relevant.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Professor Attila Brungs said, “The growth and success of the UTS Centre for Forensic Science is largely thanks to Professor Claude Roux, under whose leadership and guidance has enabled the Centre to flourish.”
“We are fortunate enough to have a very talented crop of young researchers within the Centre, reinforcing the reputation and research excellence in all areas of forensic science.”
“Professor Claude Roux has been central to building the Centre’s reputation and attracting talented researchers and students to ensure the future remains bright for the next 10 years and beyond,” Professor Brungs said.
For more information about the Research Centre, visit UTS Centre for Forensic Science website.