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Forensics techniques on: a) trace qualification, and b) broadened use of DNA
Deadline: Aug 25, 2016  

 International Cooperation
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Trace evidence are essential for law enforcement and justice. Forensic investigations of trace evidence contribute to the reconstruction of crimes. Answers to how and when a trace was deposited may already be of great help in the initial phase of investigation, provided that such answers become quickly available, and at an acceptable cost.

As for DNA trace, the additional challenge is to build up an image of an unknown perpetrator of a crime, drawing from as many traces and sources and as fast as possible (preferably directly at the crime site), within legal frameworks and ethical rules.


The forensic community still requires:

a) In the specific area of trace qualification:

  • Better knowledge of the composition of traces; of the time when they were left, whether they result from crime-related or inoffensive activities; of the effect, on the quality of traces, of the time elapsed between the moments when there are deposited and collected; of the transfer mechanisms, persistence and recovery of traces; of the circumstances of the trace deposit;
  • New tools, to be used in the field, that can detect, collect and analyse traces, and assist in the interpretation of trace data with a view to avoiding practitioner’s biases;

b) Alternatively, in the specific area of DNA extended exploitation:

  • Tools and techniques, and advanced methods for data analysis and statistical interpretation to extend the exploitation of DNA, which implement “privacy by design” (that take account of the status of personal data depending on the EU Member State legislations.
  • New method for complete sequencing to establish genetic composite sketch.

In addition, regarding both a) and b), proposals need: to address the issue of admissibility of evidence once securely transmitted to and from forensic experts in the field or in laboratories; to propose curricula for the training forensic investigators to use these new tools, techniques and methods; to propose methodologies to compare results produced by forensic organizations across Europe to contribute to the EU-wide consistency of forensic work.

In line with the EU's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[[COM(2012)497]] international cooperation is encouraged, and in particular with international research partners involved in ongoing discussions and workshops, with the European Commission. Legal entities established in countries not listed in General Annex A and international organisations will be eligible for funding only when the Commission deems participation of the entity essential for carrying out the action.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of € 5million would allow for this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

All proposals should contribute to:

Short/medium term:

  • Solving crimes more rapidly to reduce societal distress, investigative costs and the impact on victims and their relatives;
  • Improving forensic capabilities to evaluate different hypotheses used in criminal investigation and prosecution;
  • Providing forensic experts with instruments to avoid unnecessary analysis costs and time spent by forensic labs, and thus render the forensic process more efficient;

Long term:

  • Preventing miscarriage of justice due to the misinterpretation of forensic findings by the courts.

In addition:

  • Those proposals addressing a) should contribute to the better identification and understanding of crime related traces and the activities that have led to the deposition of the traces;
  • Those proposals addressing b) should contribute to the enhancement of the ability to obtain reliable information from DNA samples.

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