Mathematicians, authors and comic book artists could be employed as part of a fundamental change in the way that forensic evidence is presented in courts.
The Research Centre for Forensic Science at Dundee University, which has been awarded £10m over 10 years by the Leverhulme Trust, aims to “disrupt the current forensic science ecosystem”, according to Professors Niamh Nic Daéid and Sue Black who outlined plans at the Dundee Design Festival today.
Their work aims to identify gaps in scientific understanding of different evidence types and to undertake research that will address the challenges. It will set the benchmark for admissibility that means that the same type of evidence will be accepted as reliable in courts “in Dundee, Doncaster or Darwin”.
The plan is to engage with as many different fields of study as possible; not only scientists, but also designers, mathematicians, writers and comic book artists. They say that “many of the answers to the questions that the current forensic crisis has posed” will not lie in traditional research, but in “thinking and acting outside of a lab or research room”.
Mathematicians could examine data sets to discover patters, while writers and comic book artists could collaborate to produce guides for juries that explain the forensic science being presented in court in an easily understood form.
The professors added that “working with such a wide spectrum of people from so many disciplines is hugely exciting. The project allows us to work at the interdisciplinary interfaces and create new innovative ideas to help resolve the challenges we face.”