Monday 11 August, 2014, 10am.

The Minister for the Arts Troy Grant today announced a new name and a new direction for the science unit at the Australian Museum. The Australian Museum Research Institute, as it will now be known, will conduct world-class and innovative research into:

  • climate change impacts on biodiversity
  • the detection and biology of pest species
  • understanding what constitutes and influences effective biodiversity conservation
  • applying wildlife genomics/DNA to biosecurity and other key issues

Based in Sydney at the Australian Museum’s headquarters on William Street, the Australian Museum Research Institute is a team of 70 scientists and more than 100 associates, fellows and students. Their research is underpinned by the Australian Museum’s collection of more than 18 million objects and the Museum’s scientific facilities including the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics and the Lizard Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Through its work, the Research Institute is inspiring a generation of new scientists dedicated to the conservation of our natural environment,” Mr Grant said.

“The Australian Museum is renowned for its world-class and innovative research of the many challenges of our modern world. It is a pioneer in scientific excellence; committed to innovation, education, protection and conservation.”

“Discovering new species, determining where they come from and how they are genetically related is a strength of the Australian Museum Research Institute.
This expertise, which is unique to the Museum, positions the Australian Museum Research Institute to address significant issues such as environmental health, biodiversity loss, climate change and biosecurity,” Kim McKay AO, Director and CEO of the Australian Museum said.

According to Professor Merlin Crossley, Australian Museum Trustee and Dean of Science, University of New South Wales, who has overseen the development of the Museum’s science strategy and is chair of the Museum’s independent advisory Science Panel, “The Australian Museum Research Institute is a leader in its field through its active scientific research, affording the Australian Museum a reputable, authoritative and important voice on issues of increasing significance to society.”

“In addition to pest and disease-vector identification, the Australian Museum Research Institute is in high demand for identifying bird remains from aviation airstrikes in order to improve air safety, and identifying animals or animal parts, such as shark fin and rhino horn, confiscated as part of the illegal wildlife trade or other wildlife crime,” McKay said.
The Australian Museum Research Institute’s expertise is used to identify species for government agencies, corporations, medical and agricultural industries, students, teachers and the general public. In 2013/14, the Australian Museum Research Institute described 180 new species and published 142 scientific publications.

The launch of the Australian Museum Research Institute leads into a month of activity highlighting science at the Australian Museum including the Inaugural Australian Museum Research Institute Lecture delivered by Professor Tim Flannery, the Australian Museum Science Festival as part of National Science Week and the 25th edition of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes national science awards, Australia’s premier science awards.

Australian Museum Research Institute
The research undertaken by the Australian Museum Research informs decision making, policy and global, regional and national efforts to manage biological resources. The Research Institute’s work guides conservation management decisions including management of wild and captive populations of endangered species, protected areas, natural resources such as marine fishing grounds and land restoration.

Australian Museum
Established in 1827, the Australian Museum is Australia’s first museum and one of its most foremost scientific research, educational and cultural institutions. It is the trusted guardian of the nation’s largest and oldest natural science and cultural collection with more than 18 million objects.