The future direction of forensic science research and how it may be expanded beyond a reliance on DNA analysis will be explored at the Royal Society of Edinburgh tomorrow (Thurs Dec 5th).
Until now, this field has been dominated by a single focus on the development of DNA analysis largely to the potential detriment of the application of other technological advances.
Now a joint research meeting organised by the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde is bringing together over 70 participants from more than 20 higher academic institutions across the UK to challenge the traditional approach to forensic science research.
The meeting is supported by participants from Police Scotland, Scottish Police Authority, Forensic Services, Scottish Enterprise, the commercial sector and forensic practitioners.
Professor Sue Black, from Dundee University, and Professor Niamh NicDaeid, from Strathclyde University, will lead the unique ‘sandpit’ event, which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board.
Professor Black said, “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to bring together scientists from a diverse background to consider grand research challenges in forensic science, with a commercial and enterprise drive incorporated at its heart.”
The meeting brings together a range of researchers from across the academic spectrum and outside the traditional sphere of forensic science activities to bring a multidisciplinary approach to a series of high level research challenges.
Professor NicDaeid added, “This meeting will allow us to nurture a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach enabling the breakdown of the traditional silo perspective that has hampered the development of research within the forensic science disciplines. It provides a fantastic opportunity to facilitate partnership working between researchers, innovators and end users.”
A second meeting, funded by Scottish Enterprise will take place early next year which will develop emerging research themes into research proposals fit for submission to the research funding councils.
These submissions will have commercial end users embedded within the concept, thereby fast tracking research from the concept to the market place.
This cross sectional end-user support is critical to focusing the thoughts of participants on research that is of immediate value, addressing operationally relevant issues and nurturing the relationship between the scientist, industry and the forensic end user to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in this area.
This is the first time in the UK that such an approach has been attempted.