Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

Our Collaborators

The European Forensic Genetics Network of Excellence (EUROFORGEN-NoE) works towards the establishment of a European virtual centre of research and training in forensic genetics including researchers from a variety of disciplines, end-users (e.g. police institutions and the justice system), educational centres and scientific societies. Forensic genetics is a highly innovative field of applied science with a strong impact on the security of citizens. The project, funded by the SECURITY programme of the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, started in January 2012 and will run for 5 years. It is coordinated by Prof. Peter Schneider of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, and includes 12 partners from 8 countries including leading groups in European forensic genetic research. Involvement of NUCFS members: Robin Williams is co-leading on the work package exploring social, ethical, policy and legal dimensions of applying forensic genetics in the criminal justice system (WP4). Matthias Wienroth is full-time Research Fellow in WP4, whilst Martin Evison operates as the UK’s National Contact Point for the Network.

The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Centre is a formally recognised University Research Centre within Newcastle University. The Centre aims to: research, inform and improve policy, professional practice and public participation in the life sciences; and to debate on the social and ethical aspects of genetics and other life sciences. It is a Centre with extensive and vibrant regional, national and international network which addresses the challenges and opportunities that life sciences present for society.

NUCFS member Robin Williams is a Visiting Professor at PEALS and, together with Victor Toom and Matthias Wienroth, is working with Erica Haimes and Jackie Leach Scully of PEALS on the uses of the biosciences and bioinformation in support of criminal investigations and for the identification of victims of mass disasters. Recent funding for this work has been gained from the Brocher Foundation and used to organise an international workshop on the use of DNA in disaster victim identification which took place in Geneva in December 2012. April 2014 will see a joint NUCFS and PEALS international symposium (funded by Newcastle and Northumbria Universities) further to explore scientific, social, political and ethical issues in contemporary modes of disaster victim identification.

The Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute is a multidisciplinary research and teaching centre coordinated jointly by the College of Science and Engineering and the College of Social Sciences. The goal of the Institute is to bridge the gap between academic research and forensic practice by supporting forensic research and teaching across the University and making research and innovation available to key stakeholders within the Criminal Justice System. The Forensic Science Institute can draw on skills and expertise from many disciplines across the University of Leicester and also from partner institutions and law enforcement agencies, both in the UK and overseas. They can bring together resources to provide criminal justice agencies with a world class service in three main areas of forensic science; research, teaching and consultancy.

The University of Glamorgan Criminal Investigation Research Network aims to advance knowledge on the theory and practice of criminal investigation with a particular focus upon homicide and major crime investigation. The network brings together leading academics from different parts of the world with expertise in major crime investigation as well as senior investigating officers and practitioners at the forefront of developing practice and strategy in relation to major crime investigation.The ambition is that the network will generate international collaboration between researchers, practitioners and policy makers with a view to producing new insights into major crime investigation. A key aim is to identify and enhance best practice in criminal investigation across different regions of the world.

The Centre for evidence and Criminal Justice Studies is located within Northumbria Law School, with the aim to bring together the members of Law School staff who teach or research in the fields of criminal or civil evidence and the related fields. The aims of the Centre include encouraging further research and publication, the exchange of ideas amongst Law School staff and the organisation of staff seminars and conferences. The Centre regularly organise seminars aimed at Law Schools teaching staff, representatives of agencies involved in the Criminal and Civil Justice systems (including judges, Crown Prosecutors, Probation Officers, Police Officers etc.), expert witnesses and with academics from other Law Schools in order to encourage discussion on current legal themes and issues (e.g. the consideration of the relationship between S76 of PACE Act (2003) and the hearsay provisions of the Criminal Justice Act (2003), or the admissibility and weight of fingerprint evidence after the Scottish Fingerprint Inquiry).

The Northumbria Centre for Offenders and Offending aims to research the nature and dynamics of criminal and deviant behaviour by examining the context in which offenders operate and offending takes place whilst recognising that the concepts of ‘offender’ and ‘offending’ are fluid and need to be treated critically and with caution. The Centre incorporates a focus on legal, political, institutional and social responses to offenders and offending and includes research work that examines crime reduction, harm minimisation, community safety, and measures to prevent recidivism. The Centre is inter-disciplinary and incorporates staff with backgrounds in criminology, sociology, social policy, political studies, international development. The Centre has close relations with a number of criminal justice agencies both regionally and nationally.