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Addressing the Future Research Challenges in Forensics

Date of event: March 31, 2015

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Event Briefing

This joint SIPR/Forensics Services Workshop brought together 40 academics and lead forensic scientists and senior managers from SPA Forensic Services to discuss the latter’s research priorities over the short to medium term. SPA Forensic Services outlined the six priorities shown below to the research community, and heard the views of researchers about these topics and the best ways to engage with universities.

Directory of Expertise in the Forensic Sciences

As part of the preparatory exercise a Directory of Expertise in the Forensic Sciences was collated by SIPR. This is an ongoing project, and those involved with Forensic research, in its loosest sense, are invited to submit their details for future updated editions.

Download the latest version of the Directory of Expertise in the Forensic Sciences

If you would like to submit additional material, please download this Word template. This should be saved, and after completion emailed to Tim Heilbronn (


Welcome Professor Nick Fyfe, Director, SIPR

Research Priorities for Forensic Services Tom Nelson, Director, SPA Forensic Services

Roundtable discussions organised around these Research Priorities

  1. Development of methods (both identification of the Drugs using techniques such as NMR and also Toxicological analysis) to support the identification of New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs) and understand the impact of such substances on individuals
  2. Biology
    1. Cell type identification using mRNA
    2. Next Generation sequencing
  3. Fingerprints
    1. Developing enhanced image quality to facilitate use of remote transmission of images and enable more effective electronic vs manual comparisons
    2. Development of expert systems including probabilistics
  4. Streamlining the validation of new techniques or technologies to facilitate early and effective application into a live Forensic Science process
  5. Effective decision making and impact of cognitive bias in Forensic Science both at Crime Scenes and within the laboratory
  6. Enhancement of multi-media technologies to aid scientific staff at scenes and within the laboratory to interpret findings and present evidence in Court

Feedback from discussion groups and next steps Facilitated by Jim Fraser, Associate Director, SIPR & University of Strathclyde

Case studies of collaborative research in forensics

Exploring Forensic Science in Scotland & Evaluation of the National Forensic Science Gateway Professor Jim Fraser, University of Strathclyde

Professional Judgement & Decision Making Expertise in Scene Examination Amanda Martindale, University of Edinburgh

Profiling of Illicit Diazepam Tablets for Drug Intelligence Purposes Professor David Bremner, Abertay University

For further details, please contact the Business and Knowledge Transfer Manager, Tim Heilbronn (

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