Forensic Data Science Laboratory

 

 Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics  

 Computer Science Department

 

About

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. 

Aim

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.

Mission

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. 

Research and Development Projects

 *updated 2019-10-13

We are in the process of developing and conducting research and development (R&D) projects in multiple branches of forensic science, including:

  • *Forensic speech science
    See the website of the Forensic Speech Science Laboratory 
  • Gait analysis
    In collaboration with Prof Egbert Otten and Dr Marie Wiedemeijer, Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen
  • Firearms
    In collaboration with Dr Rachel Bolton-King, Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, Staffordshire University
Training
Forensic Data Science

We plan to develop a Master’s degree in Forensic Data Science. The programme would include core courses in forensic inference and statistics and in machine learning, and also allow students to specialize in application in particular branches of forensic science. We may offer the programme with a part-time option and as a mixture of distance education and intensive on-site teaching. This would facilitate participation by students from around the world who may already be employed in forensic science and who want to upgrade their skill set.

CPD training

We offer continuing professional development (CPD) training in forensic inference and statistics. CPD workshops we offer include:

  • Introduction to the likelihood ratio framework for evaluation of forensic evidence
    For information on this workshop see “CPD intro to LRs - 2019-10-01a - formatted.pdf”
    Date and time of next/last workshop: Monday 4 November 2019, 09:45–16:00
    Registration deadline: Sunday 20 October 2019
  • Validation within the likelihood ratio framework
    This workshop assumes knowledge of the material covered in “Introduction to the likelihood ratio framework for evaluation of forensic evidence”. Details TBA.

If you want training tailored to your needs, please contact Dr Morrison to discuss options.

Standards Development

updated 2019-11-15

Dr Morrison, the Director of the Centre, is:

  • Chair of the Forensic Science Committee of the British Standards Institution (BSI)
  • Member of the Forensic Science Committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • Affiliate Member of the Forensic Speaker Recognition Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Areas Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC)

He is an active contributor to the development of standards on evaluation, interpretation, validation, and reporting.