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Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration

Congratulations to the 2024 Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration finalists

Forensic Science Team

Professor Adrian Linacre, Professor Paul Kirkbride, Associate Professor Martin Johnston, Associate Professor Duncan Taylor and Mr Andrew Camilleri, Flinders University

A successful, longstanding collaboration between researchers at Flinders University and Forensic Science SA (FSSA) is driving innovation, efficiency, and training in forensic science, and establishing South Australia as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for forensic research.

This partnership has delivered new methods for crime investigators to locate, record, and collect DNA efficiently; harnessed artificial intelligence to produce and read DNA profiles more accurately and quickly than ever before; developed a unique way to link gunshot residues on a shooting victim to the ammunition used; and identified manufacturing signatures in illicit drugs, allowing authorities to proactively legislate to reduce supply. This practice-focussed research has produced collaborations with federal police, state police in SA, WA, and NSW, defence organisations, as well as partners outside the forensic sector who can leverage discoveries for social and environmental benefit. 

This collaboration is developing new techniques, now adopted by national and international forensic agencies, boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of SA’s justice system, and increasing public confidence in criminal investigations. 

Sleep Revolution Team 

Professor Danny J. Eckert, Associate Professor Sutapa Mukherjee, Ms Celia Tait, Ms Jessica Steens, Mr Mark Harding 

Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health/FHMRI Sleep Health, Flinders University 

“Australia’s Sleep Revolution with Dr Michael Mosley”, a three-part TV series about the nation’s sleep, premiered on SBS in March 2024 to immediate impact. The publicity campaign generated 554 media pieces, it was the top ranked SBS factual series, and ratings were 49% above timeslot average. 

 

The series portrayed the global first clinical trial conducted by the Flinders University Sleep Revolution Team using cutting-edge technology, the latest sleep science, and personalised clinical approaches pioneered by the team. The goal of this rigorous trial was to treat Dr Mosley and 30 South Australians with chronic sleep disorders in just 2 months while being filmed. The trial was a major success with resolution of sleep disorders in more than 80% of participants. 

Inadequate sleep impacts 4 out of every 10 Australians. To raise awareness of the impact of inadequate sleep and advocate for policy change, the team also studied the effects of a 2-week parliamentary sitting period on sleep and associated health outcomes of 4 prominent politicians. 

The series showcases South Australia’s world-leading sleep science and represents a unique academia-industry collaboration between scientists/clinicians, documentary film makers, industry partners, community, and policymakers/government. 

Sustainable Shark Tourism 

Professor Charlie Huveneers,  Mr Brett Simes, Mr Andrew Fox, Mr Andrew Wright, Dr Hugh Pederson

Flinders University 

White shark cage-diving is one of Australia’s largest and most economically important marine tourism activities, valued at an estimated $16 million annually. However, uncontrolled cage-diving can threaten shark species, their ecosystems, and public safety.

This team – a collaboration between scientists, the South Australian government, tourism operators, and technology developers – has designed and implemented a new cage-diving policy to deliver the most ecologically sustainable and economically viable white shark tourism industry in the world.

A new policy developed by the team relies on an annual monitoring program leveraging innovative technology to assess ecological impact on white sharks, non-target species, and supporting marine ecosystems. The resulting adaptive management framework, alongside other research findings, are now being used worldwide to manage rapidly growing white shark cage-diving operations, with global revenue and employment in this field expected to double by 2030. Critically, this framework and the technology can now be applied across other wildlife tourism ventures. 

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