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How can forensic science research be prioritised and funded?

4 December 2018

Over two evidence sessions the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee continue taking evidence for its inquiry into the UK's use of forensic science and its contribution to the delivery of justice.

Purpose of session

Funding for foundational forensic science research is rare, and forensic science is not currently within the remit of any of the major UK research councils. The Committee will ask the Director for Strategy at UK Research and Innovation how it can better support forensic science to establish it as a strategic research priority.

The Committee will also ask defence and prosecution lawyers how a culture of innovation in forensic science, that incorporates the needs of the Criminal Justice System, can be developed and sustained.


Tuesday 4 December in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

At 3.25pm

  • Mr Paul Harris, Senior Partner, Edward Fail, Bradshaw and Waterson
  • Mr Michael Caplan QC, Consultant, Criminal litigation, Kingsley Napley LLP
  • Ms Sarah Whitehouse QC, Barrister, 6KBW College Hill

At 4.25pm

  • Ms Rebecca Endean, Director of Strategy, UK Research and Innovation

Possible questions

Questions likely to be covered in the first session include:

  • Is the current training available for lawyers and the judiciary in handling forensic science evidence appropriate?
  • Are you aware of differences between what forensic science provision is available to the prosecution and defence?
  • Are there issues when it comes to disclosure of forensic science evidence pre-trial, and access to forensic science evidence post trial (during appeal work)?
  • Does the Criminal Justice System have the capacity to deal with the increased evidence load that digital evidence generates?

Questions likely to be covered in the second session include:

  • What is the current situation within UKRI and the UK Research Councils with respect to forensic science?
  • What would be the best and most effective way of ensuring that there is funding for forensic science research, including technological developments and foundational forensic science?
  • What are the challenges you would experience if you were seeking to prioritise high quality forensic science research funding in the current climate?

Further information

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