Professor Andrew Shortland, Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute, Dame Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Hillary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University. Image: Cranfield University

A new forensic science ‘centre of excellence’ has been officially opened at Cranfield University. Investment for Cranfield Forensic Institute (CFI) has been targeted in the fields of crime scene investigation, digital forensic investigation and forensic materials analysis, amongst others.

The new facilities are considered vital in boosting the role science plays in the criminal justice system, enabling the transfer of the latest leading academic knowledge to criminal investigators and training the next generation of forensic scientists.

Recently, Cranfield announced a strategic partnership with digital forensic practitioners CCL Solutions Group

Professor Andrew Shortland, director of Cranfield Forensic Institute, said:

“Forensic science plays a critical part in the criminal justice system and we are proud to be playing our part in enhancing the nation’s capabilities in this field.

“The investment in these new technologies will create unparalleled facilities for our students and staff, as we develop the next generation of forensic scientists and, through our research, expand the possibilities of forensic science.

“Together with our partnership with CCL, these facilities have the potential to transform the UK’s forensic science education and research.”

A report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee in 2019 highlighted a national shortfall in forensic science research and development.

The University said the new facilities are set to be game-changing for the nation’s capabilities and greatly enhance the UK’s position in these fields.

Students and staff will have access to new facilities such as:

  • A virtual reality autopsy table
  • Digital forensics laboratory
  • Crime scene investigation rooms
  • A simulated mass grave excavation site

The development of the facilities was possible thanks to a £3.6 million of funding from SEMLEP through the Local Growth Fund, alongside investment from Cranfield University.

Hilary Chipping, chief executive at SEMLEP, said:

“Alongside the value that work happening in this new institute will bring to the criminal justice system, it provides a great platform for fostering the development of, and accelerating the commercial opportunities for, local businesses working in the forensic space and therefore providing opportunities for employment for people with digital skills.”

The facilities were officially opened by Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick.

Inside Cranfield Forensics Institute Image: Cranfield University