Forensic science researchers strike Gold
Published On Thu 5 Dec 2019 by Grant Hill
The University of Dundee’s Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) has received the highest possible commendation for its public engagement work.
The Centre has been awarded a Gold Engage Watermark for Public Engagement by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). LRCFS’s work has seen forensic science and legal practitioners as well as citizens play an active role in helping to improve the use and understanding of science in the justice system.
Engage Watermarks are given to higher education institutions in recognition of their strategic support for public engagement. The Gold award, presented to members of the Dundee team at the NCCPE Engage Conference in Bristol on Wednesday 4 December, follows an assessment of staff and partners that recognised a vibrant, innovative, energetic and focused approach to public engagement.
LRCFS is a 10-year, £10 million research centre funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which aims to ensure that the forensic evidence presented in court is underpinned by robust science. Public engagement is a major feature of the Centre’s work, with members of the public contributing to major citizen science projects and shaping the way in which forensic science research is planned, conducted and communicated.
Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of LRCFS, said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award, which recognises our vision to promote the importance of engagement between the entire justice community and the public in promoting an understanding of the science, and its limitations, behind the forensic evidence presented in our courts.”
LRCFS brings together members of the judiciary, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, forensic practitioners, scientists, statisticians, school groups, science centres, school teachers, librarians, crime writers, film makers and others in the planning and conduct of research.
Members of the public can contribute to research through projects such as the Citizen’s Jury, Forensic Science in Schools, H-unique (led by Lancaster University), and Sole Searching, while events enabling people to engage with the cutting-edge forensic science taking place at LRCFS are held throughout the year.
A Gold Engage Watermark recognises exceptional strategic leadership of public engagement, high standards of professional support, and excellence in partnership working. It also evidences that the institution has a profound grasp of challenges ahead and of areas of relative weakness, with a commitment to addressing these.
Sophie Duncan, Director of NCCPE, said, “Since the early days of the NCCPE we have been championing a culture in higher education where public engagement can thrive. The Engage Watermark offers a benchmarking opportunity for institutions to evidence their commitment and achievements – combined with intelligence gathering to inform their future planning.
“We are delighted to be able to award the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science a Gold Engage Watermark. The Centre has a vibrant, energetic and focused approach to public engagement with excellent and committed leadership and support. Public Engagement is in their DNA – and is resulting in a distinctive and transformational approach to doing research that is making a really important contribution to the criminal justice system in Scotland and beyond.”
More information about LRCFS can be found at https://www.dundee.ac.uk/leverhulme/.
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