Press release

Dundee researcher recognised for impact of virtual reality work

Published on 7 December 2023

A University of Dundee researcher has been presented with an award for his doctoral work that looks at the use of virtual reality in crime scene investigation

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Sang-hun (Sean) Yu, a lecturer and PhD student working across the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) and the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS), has received the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) Early Career Researchers Impact Award. 

Sean is part of a larger collaborative working group, comprising of LRCFS, the Scottish Police Authority, Forensic Services (SPA FS), Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), with assistance from the Danish Police Special Crimes Unit, who have delivered the Joint Scottish Fire Investigation Training and Research Facility. 

This award-winning facility aims to maintain competencies, improve standards, and provide a basis for research in fire investigation across Scotland. Mocked-up scenes are prepared where various types of forensic traces are deposited, and these scenes then undergo a controlled burn for practitioners to then carry out examinations for training purposes.

Another aspect of the facility, and where Sean’s work comes into play, is incorporating research into the use of virtual reality that runs along the training. The research undertaken by Sean has resulted in the creation of a practical process where scenes can be recorded by means of photogrammetry and reconstructed in virtual reality.

“I am delighted to receive this award,” said Sean. “These joint efforts spanning agencies and borders have spurred legal, judicial, and policy discussions, conducting a comprehensive evaluation of VR's application, impact, and limitations within the justice system. 

“Highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, especially in 3D animation, CGI technology, and virtual reality, the study demonstrates the evolution of these fields in providing versatile solutions to diverse societal challenges. It passionately advocates for policymakers to endorse interdisciplinary projects, underscoring their potential to generate innovative and impactful solutions, even amid heightened scrutiny and budget constraints.

“I extend heartfelt appreciation to DJCAD, LRCFS, and the University of Dundee for their steadfast support, a vital factor in reaching this significant milestone. The continuous encouragement, provision of resources, and guidance from these institutions have played a pivotal role in shaping my academic journey and successfully attaining my academic and personal achievements.”

Sean’s doctoral project, ‘Using Virtual Reality in Crime Scene Investigation’, has been instrumental in informing the theory and practice behind using photogrammetry in fire investigation training. His recent publication, ‘Development of a Dundee Ground Truth Imaging protocol for recording indoor crime scenes to facilitate virtual reality reconstruction, Elsevier’, has been central to introducing VR to training within the Scottish Police Authority

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of LRCFS and Sean’s PhD supervisor, said, “I’m delighted that Sean’s work has been recognised with this award. As a newly appointed lecturer at the University of Dundee, the recognition of his excellence as an early career researcher by the external community is particularly impactful.”


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878