David Grace Award

05/02/2023 | General
Nicole Bond, David Grace Award Recipient shares her experience of the 25th Australia New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) International Symposium in Brisbane 2022.

Thanks to the David Grace Award, I was given the opportunity to attend the Australia New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) 25th International Symposium, my first ever conference experience! The symposium gave me the opportunity to get a deeper look into the forensic science community and all that it has to offer. I was able to network and make further connections not only with colleagues from my own organisation, but also forensic scientists from other organisations and jurisdictions, and students completing research. The ANZFSS community was welcoming, and all members were extremely approachable, which provided great networking opportunities. Not only did I make new connections, but I was also able to catch up with my former peers from Deakin University.

At the VPFSD, I am a member of the Fire and Explosion Unit. I was lucky enough that at this conference there were multiple sessions on Fire and Explosions, my direct area of interest and expertise. I found these sessions extremely beneficial and interesting. The sessions included case studies from national and international speakers, new research being conducted, and experiments completed in the fire reconstruction field. I learnt a lot from the case studies that were presented, in particular “Investigation of a caravan explosion Mt Isa” presented by Darren Smith and “Ammonium nitrate explosion Angellala Creek, Charleville Queensland Australia” presented by Andrew Rowan, both presentations gave a great insight into post blast scene examination on a larger scale. Large explosion scenes are quite uncommon, and we can learn a lot from previous investigations such as the things that can go wrong, what worked and what didn’t, and learnings for future investigations.

I found the plenary speakers to be some of the best presentations from the conference. On the first day of the conference a range of speakers presented on varying subjects giving a great insight into what forensic science is and why what we do as forensic scientists is important. We were fortunate to receive a presentation from Denise and Bruce Morcombe from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation called “The Difference We Make”, this presentation really highlighted to me how important our work as forensic scientists is, and the significance of the service we provide to the community.

Apart from the presentations given on the Fire and Explosions discipline I was also able to attend a range of presentations from other forensic disciplines. I found Mariam Younans’ presentation “What makes an expert persuasive? Examining the effects of expert likeability and evidence quality on jurors’ evaluation of expert evidence” very interesting as it highlighted to me the fact that the way an expert presents themselves can affect the jurors’ perception of the witness. Mariam’s research is focused on jurors’ evaluation of expert evidence, with emphasis on the relevant and irrelevant factors they may rely upon to determine expert credibility and evidence quality.

Not only was I able to observe and learn from a wide array of forensic experts, but I also attended the ANZFSS social events which provided networking opportunities and were lots of fun. There was a dress-up ‘Back to the future’ themed social night which all of the members took full advantage of, there were so many great costumes! On the final night was the symposium gala dinner which served some amazing food and allowed everyone to relax and reflect on the week we had at the conference.

Without the David Grace Award I may not have been able to attend the ANZFSS conference. It was so easy to apply for, and the conference was definitely worth it. I would highly encourage other ANZFSS members to apply and would like to thank the ANZFSS community and Victorian Branch committee for the award and for making my first conference experience an enjoyable one.

Nicole Bond
Victoria Police Forensic Service Department (VPFSD)
David Grace Recipient 2022

ANZFSS Victorian Members Tanith (left) and Nicole (right) enjoying the Brisbane 2022 “Back to the Future” themed social night.


Applications for the David Grace Award for the have been opened for the 23rd Triennial Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences in conjunction with the 26th Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society 20 – 24 November 2023, International Convention Centre Sydney, Australia. More details can be found here.