The Forensic Data Science Laboratory is part of the Computer Science Department and of the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL). A subunit of the Centre is the Forensic Speech Science Laboratory.
The Centre was established in 2019 as part of the formation of the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics. The latter was funded by a GBP 6M investment that included a GBP 5.4M award from Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund.
Our aim is to be one of the top centres in the world for research, development, and training in forensic data science applied to solving real-world problems across multiple branches of forensic science, and to be the top centre in the world for forensic speech science.
Our mission is to promote and facilitate the use in forensic science of empirically validated procedures that quantify strength of evidence as likelihood ratios calculated using relevant data, quantitative measurements, and statistical models.
We conduct research and development aimed at improving casework capabilities within and across multiple branches of forensic science, particularly casework conducted within the new paradigm for the evaluation of forensic evidence, i.e.:
- quantification of strength of evidence as likelihood ratios (the likelihood-ratio framework is the logically correct framework for evaluation of forensic evidence)
- likelihood ratios calculated using relevant data, quantitative measurement, and statistical models
- validation of system performance under conditions reflecting those of the case under investigation
- reduction of the potential for cognitive bias by restricting subjective judgements to matters such as selection of appropriate data to enter into the system and by directly reporting the output of the statistical model as the strength of evidence
We also work on increasing understanding of forensic inference and statistics among forensic scientists and lawyers.
Forensic speech science is an area in which substantial progress has been made in implementing the new paradigm. Prior to the formation of the Centre, Centre Director Dr Morrison and his colleagues spent more than a decade promoting and developing implementation of the new paradigm primarily in forensic speech science. We draw upon knowledge, experience, skills, and techniques from forensic speech science and adapt them to help develop implementation of the new paradigm across and within multiple other branches of forensic science. We contribute expertise in forensic inference and statistics, and in machine learning, and collaborate with researchers and practitioners who have expertise in those other branches of forensic science.