Explore our projects below to find out how we are addressing some of the key challenges in forensic science.

Statistical tool box

We are working with partners across the justice space to understand the needs of the community in the use of statistics and probabilities for the interpretation, evaluation and presentation of evidence in the courts. We are developing a series of statistical and enabling tools for the benefit of practitioners and researchers in forensic science and other domains.  This includes in particular quantifying uncertainty, the use of algorithms in interpreting complex DNA mixtures and the development of AI and machine learning algorithms for pattern recognition of chemical traces....

Statistical tool box

Development of robust pattern recognition algorithms for chemical and feature comparison evidence

Working with AI and machine learning experts we are devising robust algorithms for the interpretation of chemical profiles  from fire debris.  We are also exploring tools for feature comparison problems (including biometric features, ballistics and footwear)....

Development of robust pattern recognition algorithms for chemical and feature comparison evidence

Future of DNA Analysis

We are addressing some of the main difficulties of DNA analysis in forensic science by finding new ways of analysing samples with multiple contributors. When samples are collected at a crime scene and sent for analysis, a complex mix of DNA sequences can be detected; for example if the sample was collected from a bag, multiple people may have touched the bag and the sample can contain DNA from all those individuals....

Future of DNA Analysis

Developing new nanoparticle detection systems

We are creating new ways to detect illicit drugs, explosives and bodily fluids at the scene using cutting edge nano particle and quantum dot chemistry.  We create nano biosensors using DNA aptamers to develop sensitive and selective tests for specific target compounds We are creating new ways for law enforcement and forensic scientists to detect illicit drugs, explosives and bodily fluids at the scene using simple nanoparticle based sensors....

Developing new nanoparticle detection systems

Understanding complex DNA mixtures

When samples are collected at a crime scene and sent for analysis, a complex mix of DNA sequences can be detected; for example if the sample was collected from a bag, multiple people may have touched the bag and the sample can contain DNA from all those individuals. There are multiple analysis programs designed to make sense of complex DNA mixtures encountered as part of criminal investigations. We are attempting to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the different programs.  ...

Understanding complex DNA mixtures

Communicating statistics in forensic science

We are working with partners across the justice space to understand the needs of the community in the understanding of statistics and probabilities used in the interpretation, evaluation and presentation of evidence in the courts.  Funded by the Claudia and David Harding foundation we working in collaboration with Cambridge University and the Alan Alda Centre for science communication to develop new tools for the communication and understanding of statistics in forensic science.   This includes the development of new training courses for Barristers with Northumbria University, the development of new texts incorporating live tests and interactive activities and the use of other communications methods such as comics. This includes the development of new training courses for Barristers with...

Communicating statistics in forensic science

Investigating new psychoactive substances and emerging drug threats

We study the emergence of new psychoactive substances on illicit drug markets and investigate the risks of emerging drug threats involving these and more traditional drugs of abuse.  We monitor novel illicit drug markets, engaging with national and international drug early warning systems to rapidly identify emerging threats; develop and apply analytical chemistry methods to identify those drugs; and apply bioanalytical test methods to ensure that they and their metabolites can be detected in toxicological samples following consumption. Working with a range of partners we evaluate the harms of these substances, alone and in combination. We take both a highly reactive and a pre-emptive/predictive approach to emerging drug threats  ...

Investigating new psychoactive substances and emerging drug threats

Developing ground truth datasets

We are developing a wide range of ground truth data sets. These include chemical and biological samples, physical evidence (such as ballistics and footwear) and biometric samples. We are exploring how such data can be gathered, curated and made accessible to and the wider forensic science community. We are working across a range of disciplines to generate known data for (1) the characterisation of materials  - for example ignitable liquids or drug samples but also fingerprints and shoe prints.  Our generated data sets also will include information about transfer and persistence of both proxy models and pseudo realistic scenarios of relevance to forensic science....

Developing ground truth datasets

Using virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality for crime scene visualization

We are developing new avenues of research, collaboration, education and training using Virtual reality tools.  Our research is exploring how to make VR useful and robustly fit for purpose  for use in complex crime scenarios.  We are also exploring how VR/AR and mixed reality can be used in the training environment for all sectors of the crimes scene to the court room. The project aims to look at different aspects of the visualisations of crime scenes. By understanding the current state of the art with regards to image capture, virtual reality and augmented reality, we are exploring how to translate these technologies into crime scene visualisation in an efficient and accurate way.  Investigations into how people interact with visual and other digital information will form the basis ...

Using virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality for crime scene visualization

Education and training in forensic science

The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science want to ensure all professionals involved in the criminal justice process have access to the most current authoritative information associated with forensic science and scientific evidence in the courtroom....

Education and training in forensic science

Transfer and persistence

We are investigating how chemical, biological and particulate materials transfer between people, objects and places and from person to person.  We are also researching how long traces persist once they are transferred.  We are also designing bespoke experiments to account for transfer and persistence in case-based scenarios to create robust data which addresses the transfer and persistence of materials relating to specific activities. We are creating and testing methods to detect how materials are transferred from places to people, or from people to people and how long materials can last in the environment once they have transferred.  This will involve creating proxy experiments to understand the underlying phenomena.  Secondly, the design with practitioners, of experimental methodo...

Transfer and persistence

Better Data in Forensic Science

Forensic science research data has been generated for decades, both in forensic science laboratories and by academic researchers, but much of the raw data is inaccessible or lost.  Traditionally within forensic science there has been little or no culture of sharing or preservation of research data and what data exists is spread across many sources with little organization, centralization or accessibility. Part of the vision of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) is to provide the leadership, organization and funding needed to develop centralized data pools derived from existing data resources.  As far as possible, these data pools will be made openly accessible and freely available across the practitioner and researcher communities to the benefit of all who work in the...

Better Data in Forensic Science

H-unique, In search of uniqueness - harnessing anatomical hand variation

H-unique is a five year, €2.5m programme of research that will be the first multimodal automated interrogation of visible hand anatomy, through analysis and interpretation of human variation via images. It is an interdisciplinary project, supported by anatomists, anthropologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians, image analysts and computer scientists.   ...

H-unique, In search of uniqueness - harnessing anatomical hand variation