UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences



Our research is what makes us unique. It is at the core of all we do, is fed by real life casework and feeds into our postgraduate teaching programme. Central to all we do? Making discoveries that advance and transform the forensic science discipline.

World leading research

We’re the only forensic science team that’s part of one of the leading universities in the world at UCL. Our team is made up of the highest quality researchers that have proven their calibre in academia and in industry. This means that not only is the research carried out at an uncompromisingly high standard, but it’s casework informed, relevant to real world issues, and making real world impact.

Our approach to forensic science research is unique. Over recent years technological advances have resulted in a greater capability to collect and identify ever smaller amounts of trace evidence. However, ‘identification has outstripped our ability to interpret’ that trace evidence. In short, we don’t know what it means when we find it in a particular place at a particular time. If we find gunshot residue on your hands, does that mean you fired a gun? Or could you have picked it up from a shopping trolley earlier in the day?

It’s this interpretation of forensic evidence that our research is all about. Click on the buttons below to find out more about our two research groups. Trace Evidence Dynamics looks at how different trace evidence behaves within different environments over space and time, while Interpretation of Evidence focuses on understanding how forensic evidence can be most useful in real life investigations and casework.

Trace evidence dynamics

Trace evidence dynamics

Understanding the behaviour of trace evidence in different contexts and within different environments over space and time.

Interpretation of evidence

Interpretation of evidence

Understanding and interpreting forensic evidence is crucial if it is to be valuable within investigations and of assistance in a court.

The science of forensic science research

We believe in providing empirical and robust forensic science to ultimately support the justice system in making evidence based decisions. This means that we approach all our research with the highest quality and integrity ensuring it’s based on reproducible, transparent experimentation and that it’s peer reviewed and critiqued. 

Working together across boundaries

Our interdisciplinary approach goes to the heart of what we believe forensic science to be – the application of the highest quality science, social science and humanities working together in the unique forensic context. We’re not a department, constrained by traditional structures. We were established with the express purpose of crossing departmental, faculty and discipline boundaries to harness the tacit knowledge from one of the world’s leading research universities all working together to achieve our vision.

And it’s not just within the confines of the university. We collaborate with top tier industry partners and security agencies to ensure our research is going to have the greatest impact in the real world. All our research is casework informed and some of it involves working on real cases.