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Museums Meet Global Challenges

Old specimen jars from the fish collection at the Australian Museum.  Source: Australian Museum

On a recent visit to the South Australian Museum, Science and Research Minister Senator Don Farrell announced that Australia’s participation in Scientific Collections International (SciColl) had been formalised.

Senator Farrell noted that the South Australian Museum is leading Australian engagement in the new collaborative organisation, which aims to provide a coordinating mechanism to improve the accessibility and management of scientific collections held in museums and other research facilities around the world.

Senator Farrell also used the occasion to stress that,

“Scientific collections are fundamental for research and education. Greater use of global scientific collections by researchers encourages interdisciplinary research into the major global challenges, like climate change, infectious diseases, food security and human migrations.

“Securing Australia’s participation in SciColl has ensured that Australian scientists and researchers have open access to wider sources of data from international scientific collections including plants, animals, microbes, fossils, human artefacts, ancient DNA, sediment cores, museums and herbaria, and bio-medical samples.”

The MOU commits Australia to membership of SciColl across all its disciplines for three years.

Senator Farrell said Australia’s participation would open doors for researchers, including those at the South Australian Museum.

“For example, European settlement in Australia resulted in many specimens of native plants and animals being sent to collections in Great Britain and Europe, and these specimens are an invaluable source of genetic material unable to be readily sourced within Australia.”

For further information contact the Minister’s office 02 6277 7580.