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Agreement opens world collections to Australian researchers

16 Apr 2013

Australian researchers will gain access to international scientific collections to enable greater global collaboration, under an agreement signed by Science and Research Minister Senator Don Farrell.

Senator Farrell today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding allowing Australia's participation in Scientific Collections International (SciColl), during a visit to the South Australian Museum.

The 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 around the world.

"The South Australian Museum leads Australia in the collection and study of nature and culture and in supporting local and international scientific research into its comprehensive collections," Senator Farrell said.

"The Museum is world renowned for its scientific collections; housing over four million objects and specimens, including one of the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts in the world.

"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."

Media Contacts: Minister's office 02 6277 7580

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