Professor David Bright

Professor, Criminology

College of Business, Government and Law

place Law & Commerce (3.36)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor David Bright is a criminologist and forensic psychologist. Prior to a career in academia, he worked in a range of clinical and forensic settings including community mental health services, police agencies, courts, and prisons. After completing a PhD in forensic psychology in 2008, Professor Bright joined the National Drug and Alcohol Centre at UNSW, where he conducted research on illicit drug markets and organised criminal groups. In 2012 he commenced a teaching and research position with the School of Social Sciences at UNSW where he subsequently took up the role of Deputy Head of School (Research). In 2016, he was appointed Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. He commenced at Flinders University in 2017.

Professor Bright's research interests include criminal networks, organised crime, terrorism, drugs and crime, and desistance from crime. He is Director of the Flinders Illicit Networks Lab which conducts ground-breaking research using social network analysis and related approaches to study organised criminal groups and terrorist groups. He is also convenor of the ANZSOC Thematic Group on Illicit Networks.

Professor Bright has been Chief Investigator on five consecutive ARC funded projects as well as projects funded by industry and government (ie Category 2 and 3 funds). He is the author (with Associate Professor Chad Whelan) of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement: A Network Perspective (published by Routledge in 2021).


Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching, UNSW

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), UNSW

Master of Psychology (Forensic) Honours, UNSW

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours, UNSW

Honours, awards and grants


2019: Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation in Teaching Award (Flinders University)

2010: The College of Forensic Psychologists (NSW Section) award for Research and Academic Work.

2010: Dean’s Rising Star Award for significant contributions to research (Faculty of Medicine, UNSW)

2007: Maconochie Award: “Best doctoral thesis on a forensic topic”. (College of Forensic Psychologists, Australian Psychological Society)

Select grants

Reducing Aboriginal imprisonment: An offence-specific study (ARC DP)

Understanding and preventing gun violence: A qualitative study (ARC DP)

Pathways to radicalisation: Using social network analysis to detect harmful and protective influences within social network (Victorian Government)

Developing automated audio and facial recognition biometrics tools for detecting child exploitation material (Australian Institute of Criminology)

Key responsibilities

Director, Flinders Illicit Networks Lab

Research Section Head, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Teaching interests

Professor Bright has taught a number of criminology topics including those dealing with theories of crime, the criminal justice system, crime policy, policing, prisons, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and sexual offenders. He has taught at undergradute and postgraduate levels in both criminology and psychology.

Topic coordinator
CRIM3304 Criminal Networks
CRIM2304 Violent Crime
Topic lecturer
CRIM3304 Criminal Networks
CRIM2304 Violent Crime
Supervisory interests
Crime policy
Criminal networks
Organised crime
Social network analysis
Social networks
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Financial crime (1), Organised crime (1), Gangs and organised crime (1), Offending / reoffending (1)
Associate supervisor: Aboriginal imprisonment (1)
Principal supervisor: Criminal networks (2), Correctional rehabilitation (1)
Expert for media contact
Criminal networks
Desistance from crime
Organised criminal groups
Social network analysis
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Violence
  • Criminal networks
  • Desistance from crime
  • Organised criminal groups
  • Social network analysis
  • Terrorism
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