Forensic Scene Image Cranfield University

New facilities include a virtual reality autopsy table and a simulated mass grave excavation site

Work has begun on Cranfield University‘s new forensic science ‘centre of excellence’. The University said that once completed, the facilities at Cranfield Forensic Institute will be among the best in the world in their specialist fields of crime scene investigation, digital forensic investigation and non-destructive analysis.

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.

Professor Andrew Shortland, director of Cranfield Forensic Institute at Cranfield University, 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.”

Report highlighted national shortfall in forensic science research and development 

In May 2019, a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report highlighted a national shortfall in forensic science research and development.

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

Students and staff will have access to facilities such as a virtual reality autopsy table, digital forensics laboratory, crime scene investigation rooms and a simulated mass grave excavation site.

The construction of the facilities has been made possible with £3.6 million of funding from SEMLEP through the Local Growth Fund, alongside investment from Cranfield University. Judith Barker, director at SEMLEP, said:

“Bringing a world-class forensic sciences institute to this area will foster the development of local forensic businesses, boosting our region’s strengths in science, R&D and innovation, and reputation as the connected core of the UK’s innovation region, the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.”

The first cohort of students to take advantage of some of the new technologies are expected to arrive at Cranfield in October 2020.