New collaboration a boost for international forensic science research

Photo by Dan Buczynski on Flickr

Photo by Dan Buczynski on Flickr

In summary: 
  • The visit to Sydney of Professor Niamh Nic Daeid is forging closer collaboration between two world-leading forensic science research groups at the University of Dundee and UTS
  • Part of UTS's Key Technology Partnerships Visiting Fellow Program, the visit is promoting joint research opportunities in a wide range of forensic science areas

Two of the world's leading groups in forensic science research, based at UTS and Scotland's University of Dundee, are set for closer collaboration with the visit to Sydney of Professor Niamh Nic Daeid.

The Director of Research for the University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, Professor Nic Daeid has consulted as a forensic expert in more than 100 criminal cases ranging from murder to arson, drugs and terrorism.

Her visit, as part of the UTS's Key Technology Partnerships (KTP) Visiting Fellow Program, is forging closer ties with the UTS Centre for Forensic Science headed by Professor Claude Roux. It is an opportunity to expand collaborations and explore new research opportunities in a wide range of forensic science areas, from illicit drugs, chemical criminalistics, fingerprints and biometrics to forensic anthropology and biology.

Professor Claude Roux and Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, picture by Tresa Ponnor Professor Claude Roux and Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, picture by Tresa Ponnor

"The issues faced by forensic science are global and so combining our strengths is a really important opportunity," Professor Nic Daeid said.

Already UTS is to be an international partner in the University of Dundee's Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, an effort to strengthen the reliability of forensic science supported by a £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust.

"Forensic science provides a perfect platform for a true interdisciplinary approach to research, learning and teaching, and that's how we work within our respective centres," Professor Nic Daeid said.

"When you look at the research undertaken now in forensic science, it's not only chemistry and biology but has expanded to incorporate other scientific disciplines as well as the humanities, social sciences, law, computing, arts and design. Our interdisciplinary interactions are limited only by our imagination.

"It's fantastic that the KTP allows facilitation and a deeper engagement to address challenges in our field. I think the KTP has really allowed us to highlight that forensic science is one of the areas of potential engagement that has real opportunities for both institutions given their existing global leadership in the area."

Professor Roux said, "I think from that perspective there is a real hope that we can inspire some of our colleagues, maybe who have nothing to do with what we are doing, to work together to benefit both universities, and society more broadly."

"We also wish to use the visit to develop connections across and within the Australian judiciary, and to explore synergies that may exist and develop with these judicial partners."

While in Sydney Professor Nic Daeid has had the opportunity to talk to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), including UTS Luminary Dr Simon Walsh, Chief Scientist and acting National Manager Specialist Operations at the AFP. Other meetings include those with the Chief Justice of Australia, the president of the Australian Academy of Science and academic partners of the UTS Centre for Forensic Science.

"The KTP initiative has provided the opportunity for sharing information across our two centres where we can combine our skills, rather than work in isolation," Professor Nic Daeid said.

The KTP program also includes the potential for joint staff appointments and a joint doctoral program between the two institutions across a range of disciplines including forensic science.    

To find out more about her work, head along to Professor Nic Daeid's public lecture on the role of forensic science in the criminal and civil justice system.