Archive of European Projects

European Forensic Educational Network
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Forensics is becoming more important in the fight against crime. And crime is increasingly transnational: human and drugs trafficking, cybercrime, terrorism, it does not stop at national borders. This results in the need for a pan-European approach to forensic practice, from initial education up to workplace of forensic institutions and companies. Not surprisingly, the European Union currently puts great effort into creating a ‘European Forensic Science Area’, in which all can rely on shared forensic methods and swift international cooperation in the fight against crime. But, these recent efforts focus mainly on policy matters and scientific, innovative methods, rather than initial education. As a result, universities in different countries still teach their students the national – and often very different – methods of forensics, with little or no regard for the strong international aspect of their profession. Not only has this situation implications for the results of future cross-border investigations, it hampers the job perspectives of students, since the sector increasingly demands professionals with knowledge of the international aspects of forensics. The Strategic Partnership project ‘European Forensic Educational Network’ (EFEN) aims to alter this situation. It will deliver the first substantial, European forensic study program, that meets the sector needs for professionals with knowledge of cross-border forensics, and put in place the foundations of the necessary European network of stakeholders, supporting the goal of creating a European forensic educational area, to accompany its scientific counterpart the EU currently promotes. The study program will contain a minor on International Forensics, an introduction course on International Forensics, a manual for international assignments and a European internship database. On top of that, the educational material of the program will be translated into a full, interactive online version for students of the participating universities, and an open source version, available for all who are interested in the subject. A professional project website and official cooperation agreements will support and stimulate the growing network of universities, committing themselves to the goal of creating a European forensic educational area. The full realization of this area, will not be reached overnight, considering the current national differences, lack of international cooperation and need to commit the vast majority of European universities to EFEN. Therefore the European forensic study program EFEN develops will first focus on European best practices in forensic methods, and the dynamics and complexity of cross-border cases, making it future professionals better equipped to work in a profession that becomes more internationally oriented. However, the long term goal, to reach in the years after EFEN ended, is to gradually transform the EFEN study program into a full 4-year study program, along with the creation of the European forensic educational area. EFEN will start out with 4 universities and 2 forensic companies. Each of these organizations bring in specific experience and expertise, used to develop separate parts of the study program. Furthermore, the participating companies will guarantee the match between the sector needs and the content of the study program. Before the actual development of the study program, a baseline study on current educational solutions, needs and opportunities for a European forensic educational area will be carried out. A concept version of the study program will be thoroughly tested. After finalizing the study program all participating universities will incorporate it into their own curricula. A large part of the project will be devoted to dissemination activities, ensuring more and more universities will start to use the study program, gradually building the desired European forensic educational area. To this end, the EFEN partners can build on the already existing ‘Forensic Academic Network’ (FAN) they are all part of. FAN contains 9 more universities, that will be connected to EFEN during the project (FAN will dissolve into EFEN). Also, the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (the ENFSI, an associated partner to the project), the umbrella organization for the forensic science community in Europe, will be used to reach out to even more stakeholders in Europe.
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