National eDNA Reference Centre (NRC)

The EcoDNA group has been formally recognised as the Australian National eDNA Reference Centre (NRC) by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the University of Canberra.

We will provide essential support to develop and validate eDNA/RNA-based assays and protocols following international standards, offer proficiency eDNA testing schemes for interested facilities, and test cutting edge technology to complement and improve eDNA/RNA surveillance
and monitoring.

We will also provide essential support, infrastructure, governance and policy to underpin and enable an efficient, functional, and sustainable eDNA testing program for environmental and biosecurity risk management purposes, as part of the Department’s ongoing National eDNA testing program.

Our obligations fall within several categories:

Capability and Preparedness

Have an available range of eDNA/eRNA sampling protocols and tests for target species, including those not ordinarily available at other Australian/New Zealand laboratories.


Facilitate standardisation of eDNA sampling and testing techniques relevant to the specified target species. Including maintenance of the, a) Environmental DNA Test Validation Guidelines, and b) Environmental DNA Test Protocols (ETP) Guide for Authors.

Research & Development

Coordinate, conduct and administer research to develop, evaluate and validate new eDNA/eRNA sampling protocols and tests for specified target species and encourage multi-institutional collaborative studies with other laboratories and organisations. 

Test Validation

Evaluate, update, approve and publish reports for the validation of eDNA tests in accordance with the Environmental DNA Test Validation Guidelines for the specified target species.

Environmental DNA Test Protocols (ETP)

Evaluate, update, approve and publish Standard Operating Procedures and ETPs for the sampling, identification, control and exclusion testing of the specified target species.

Biological Reference Material

Provide and update guidelines on the collection, design, storage and use of biological reference material uses as controls of specified target species.

Reporting and Data Analysis

Gather, process, analyse and disseminate data relevant to the specified target species via a laboratory reporting system integrated with the Department’s data and analysis platforms.

Operational Support

Provide operational support including implementation, training, sampling, testing and confirmatory testing services to private and public stakeholders 

Proficiency Testing

Design, update and administer an Environmental DNA Proficiency Testing Scheme for specified target species.