University of Leicester PhD students present forensic research at prestigious international conference

Posted by er134 at Nov 22, 2016 11:43 AM |
Students from the INTREPID Forensics programme showcase their work in Lyon, France

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 22 November 2016

Images from the conference available to download at:

PhD students from the University of Leicester have presented their forensic science research at an international conference in France.

Students from the INTREPID Forensics programme, based at the University of Leicester, presented their work at the 2nd Congress of the European Division of the International Association of Identification (IAI), which was held at the INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon, France on 20-21 October 2016.

The INTREPID Forensics programme provides ten funded PhD opportunities for early stage researchers to pursue innovative research degrees focusing on areas applicable to the forensic sciences.

One of the students, Francisco Valente Gonçalves presented part of his PhD research which looks into the variations of forensic practices around the world.

Working with forensic practitioners from 10 countries worldwide (UK, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, U.S., China, Australia and New Zealand), Francisco visited more than 20 laboratories where he carried out interviews and experiments.

He said: “Due to misconceptions promoted by TV shows such as CSI, lay-people, lawyers and judges tend to expect forensic evidence to be 100% reliable as well as the techniques used in different countries to be always equal.

“My research has found some interesting differences in procedures between laboratories I visited. Results from my research suggests that better communication between forensic practitioners and legal actors (e.g. lawyers and judges) should be promoted. Types of contextual information, which may be the source of cognitive bias and misguided decisions, need to be re-considered in order to take forensic examiners’ motivation into account, which seems to contribute to better performance.”

During the visits Francisco did this year, he noticed that technology and standard used in different countries are very different: “Whilst in some countries technology is very advanced, in others technology is still outdated. Also, methodologies that forensic examiners follow when conducting fingerprint comparisons differ significantly across different laboratories.

“My research results could provide suggestions for new guidelines within forensic disciplines in the future in order to prevent miscarriages of justice as well as improving collaboration between agencies by promoting standards for communication during international investigations.”

Dr Lisa Smith, Associate Professor in Criminology and Project Coordinator of the INTREPID Forensics Programme at the University of Leicester, said: “The students in the INTREPID Forensics programme are conducting research with applications across a wide range of forensic disciplines, and they have great opportunities to share their findings with academic and practitioner audiences around the world.  By working with forensic practitioners, the research the students are engaged in has real potential to inform and positively impact forensic practice.”


Notes to editors:

Francisco Valente Gonçalves

Department of Criminology

School of Psychology

University of Leicester




Coordinator of the research project:

Dr Lisa Smith

Department of Criminology

University of Leicester



About INTREPID Forensics

INTREPID Forensics (Interdisciplinary Training and Research Programme for Innovative Doctorates in Forensic Science) is a €2.9 million, multidisciplinary project funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (Grant 607930).

The INTREPID Forensics programme provides ten funded PhD opportunities for early stage researchers to pursue innovative research degrees focusing on areas applicable to the forensic sciences. The research projects will all be based at the University of Leicester, and are rooted in a wide range of disciplines including genetics, criminology, chemistry, psychology, engineering, maths, physics and medicine. Each of the researchers will be supervised by experts in these fields during their research, and they will also complete a core forensic skills training programme designed and delivered by academics and industry partners. In addition, each researcher will complete a research secondment at various partner institutions throughout Europe.

The United Kingdom, and the University of Leicester in particular, has a strong history of world class forensic research and innovation and this innovative doctoral programme aims to attract high quality early stage researchers to investigate forensic technologies with the potential to impact crime across Europe and globally.


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