Concept and Objectives
EUROFORGEN-NoE comprises 12 partners from 8 countries, among them some of the leading groups in European forensic genetic research. The network initiative proposes an integration of existing cooperations, as well as establishing new ones, in this security field by integrating all the relevant parties (research centres, decision makers, stakeholders, end-users, etc.).
This initiative aims to achieve a long lasting cooperation leading to the emergence of a virtual research centre in the security domain. The roadmap to the creation of such a centre needs the implementation of a series of specific actions such as:
- To establish a directory of forensic genetics research institutions across Europe.
- To identify the processes involved in handling and analyzing forensic genetic evidence from crime scene to courtroom
- To facilitate the exchange of information between research institutions, stakeholders and end users.
- To integrate research needs and capacities into a sustainable virtual network.
Stimulating cooperation between research centres and industry is key to continued success. Thus, the main thrust of activities is aimed towards exchange of information, dissemination of knowledge, and networking. EUROFORGEN-NoE will carry out a series of actions in this regard. One of these actions is the execution of three short exemplar projects, where leading European research groups are collaborating as an example for other groups. These exemplar projects will prepare the ground for the publication of a competitive call for additional projects to be funded and subsequently integrated into EUROFORGEN-NoE in the second phase of the network period.
Furthermore, forensic genetic research has to be embedded into an ethical and societal framework required for a positive acceptance of this relatively new technology by the public. An adequate response to public concerns regarding a potentially too intrusive use of new forensic DNA applications is seminal for a wider application of these methods in the near future. It needs to be prepared in the context of a responsible, ethically and legally acceptable research framework. Only then the consequences and future perspectives can be addressed adequately. The publication of an ethical guideline on forensic genetics will be a major element of this process.
Finally, educational structures will be established both a the local as well as at the European level ensuring that scientists applying the forensic genetic technology in the context of security and the justice system are in line with the most recent scientific developments.
An advisory board with highly recognized experts from the fields of ethical, legal, and forensic sciences ensures that the challenges defined in the network programme will be met.