Last week I summed up what I thought the current climate looked like in forensic science research. This provoked some discussion through LinkedIn and twitter, mostly agreement. I thought I would try and develop a couple of ideas of how we can move forward. Meet the ‘Accredited Forensic Research Provider’.
At the bottom of my previous blog I suggested the seeds of an idea, which I will flesh out a little here:
How about the FSSoc mandate that all of their accredited University’s invest in research in some way?
Or maybe introduce a research module in their accreditation?
Link each accredited University with a commercial partner, enabling a two way exchange of ideas and projects.
I would like to suggest the Forensic Science Society (FSSoc) introduce a ‘Research’ module, along with the three main Component Standards (Interpretation, Evaluation & Presentation of Evidence – Crime Scene Investigation – Laboratory Analysis). Successful accreditation would lead to the use of the title ‘Accredited Forensic Research Provider’ (AFRP). This would be applied for by University institutions, along with industry partner(s). This would mean both University and partner companies could use the title.
Criteria for accreditation would include
- Collaboration with industry
- Solid (forensic) research
- Justification of the need
So how do we fund this?
That’s where the Technology Strategy Board come in – they said they have some money so how about a contestable fund? This could be run by the FSSoc and/or the TSB, with ring-fenced forensic science research money. The nature of forensic science as an applied ‘magpie’ science (quote from an unknown person at the FSSoc meeting) means the panel should consist of academics and forensic practitioners. Some of the project costs should be borne by the AFRPs. Having a pot of money specifically for the development of forensic science can only be a good thing.
What do we gain from it?
Collaboration, targeted useful research and hopefully publications in forensic and related journals.
Universities get the input from expert practicing scientists. Expert lectures, research input and ideas generation.
Forensic scientists/Police get access to lab space and students to e able to undertake research. Most universities have project students or could provide a year long placement year (we currently offer this to all SHU students) focused on research. Cheap staff, under a watchful eye of practitioners and academics, both of whom have an interest in the outputs of the project can only help both parties.
The good: Forensic research fit for both universities and practitioners. A nice new logo to use (AFRP) on websites and business plans.
The bad: Would have to persuade the FSSoc and TSB of the merits of the idea. Contestable funding is always a little controversial.
The ugly: I haven’t really fleshed out the idea. I do not usually share half ideas with people but this one seemed to have something! What do you think? Could it work or do you have a better idea? Please let us all know below!