Thirteen years after moving to Australia to pursue an academic career in organic chemistry, I find myself working for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in a role I didn’t even know existed and working on jobs that I can’t talk about. So how did I get here? Is this really a good career for someone with a PhD? Are there other similar jobs out there? What do I do? What can I talk about? Do I make a difference?
I’m a Technical Intelligence Analyst in Weapons Technical Intelligence (WTI) specialising in chemical intelligence to support Australian Law Enforcement and National Security activities. I use my chemistry knowledge and experience to support the AFP, its partners and other law enforcement agencies through the analysis of the feasibility and impact of dangerous materials (including explosives, chemical, biological or radiological substances). I’ll try and answer the above questions and more in an attempt to shine a light on the role of a chemist providing technical intelligence across a broad range of requests from a wide range of stakeholders.