UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


Forensic sciences

Forensic science is widely recognised to be critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, it is also acknowledged that there are significant areas of research and development that need to be addressed more fully to ensure that the forensic sciences are in the position to provide strategic solutions for the future of crime detection.

At UCL, we take a distinctive approach to the forensic sciences and seek to incorporate science and social science disciplines in order to undertake world-class research that addresses all stages of the forensic science process - the crime scene, the analysis and interpretation of evidence, and the presentation of evidence to investigators and/or a court.

The UCL Forensic Sciences Group is committed to creative, innovative and collaborative research to ensure that current and real issues within the field are addressed. We seek to undertake research that incorporates professional stakeholders into both the design of research projects and the implementation of the research outcomes in policy and practice.

Our research interests fall into two key areas, 1) Trace Evidence Dynamics and 2) Interpretation of Evidence. These are two strategic domains that incorporate the interaction of different disciplines and that address the need within the forensic sciences to develop the empirical evidence base for robust forensic science theory and practice. Within these two areas, we explore the development of new approaches and frameworks for assessing the weight and significance of a wide range of evidence types, and developing empirical research that can contribute to the development of the forensic sciences as a discipline within academia and the justice system nationally and internationally.

We work closely with the UCL JDI Centre for the Forensic Sciences, a cross faculty UCL centre that seeks to draw together a wide network of researchers and stakeholders. For information about the Centre and its current research and events please see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/forensic-sciences/

Research people

Browse our researchers, including full profile and links to publications.

PhD students

  • Erin DuBois: An examination of the spatial distribution of tissue fragments created during an explosive event
  • Saravanan Kanniappan: Determining the PMI using the current technology and equipment
  • Sherry Nakhaeizadeh: Cognitive bias in forensic anthropology, identifying the means to avoid errors that might arise from interpretation issues within these fields
  • Claire Oldfield: Developing methods to determine the post mortem submersion interval and drift trajectory of human bodies in UK waterways
  • Nadine Smit: Improving the interpretation of forensic evidence for legal, investigative and intelligence purposes using decision support systems
  • Beth Wilks: Forensic geoscience: development of an innovative improvised explosive device (IED) exploitation tool

For a full list of PhD students across UCL working within the forensic sciences, please see the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences website.

Current projects