9th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference – Wrap up

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EAFS 2022 – European Day
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9th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference – Wrap up

Finally! After the Covid 19 Pandemic the 9th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference (EAFS, www.eafs2021.eu) titled ‘Together for a Safer World’ was successfully organized by the National Forensic Centre of Swedish Police Authority and the European Institute of Forensic Science Institutes. It took place from May 30th to June 3rd in the Swedish capital Stockholm. And what a success it was. Despite relatively high costs, 1200 scientists from all over the world attended the meeting, which is the highest number ever for the EAFS.

The venues were two adjacent buildings of the Stockholm City Conference Centre, Norra Latin and Folkets Hus. Excellent facilities and skilled staff contributed to the success of the Conference. 

The welcome reception was held at the City of Stockholm City Hall, which is commonly known as the venue of the Nobel Prize Banquet; and the conference dinner was offered at the Vasa Museum. Thisis the most visited museum in Scandinavia where the battleship Vasa, which capsized on its maiden voyage in Stockholm in 1628, is on exhibition. The ship was salvaged in 1961 and is the world’s best-preserved 17th century ship.

Anders Thornberg, National Police Commissioner and Helena Trollang, Head of Department National Forensic Centre, both representing the Swedish Police Authority opened the congress. Further opening presentations were given by the Chairperson of ENFSI & Chair of the Organizing Committee Christina Bertler Edlund and Chair of the Scientific Committee Emil Hjalmarson

The program of EAFS 2022, “Together for a Safer World” emphasizes the importance of collaboration and exchange of experience within the global forensic science community. The Scientific Program had been organized according to Conference Themes, Tracks and sub-tracks, which had been selected by the Scientific Committee. The Program Book and the Abstract Book are available at www.enfsi.eu. The Plenary Speeches can be found on YouTube under “EAFS 2022”.

Selected themes were:

  • Digital Transformation of the Forensic Process
  • Forensic Data Science
  • Forensic Human Factors
  • Forensic Social Responsibility
  • Forensic Technology Innovation

The Conference was further organized into the following tracks (each with sub-tracks) for the convenience of the attendees:

  • Chemistry
  • Digital Evidence
  • DNA/Forensic Genetics
  • Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  • Marks, Impressions and Biometric Traces
  • Scene of Crime
  • European Perspective
  • Forensic Management
  • Forensic Statistics
  • Legal & Ethical Aspects

Two plenary debates brought together various panellists to spark a vivid debate, and nine plenary sessions with plenary speeches tackling the most important issues and challenges of today’s forensic science:

  • Christophe Champod and Didier Meuwly: Forensic biometrics: Let’s face it
  • Claude Roux: The Role and Value of the Forensic Science Laboratory in an Ever-Changing World
  • Gillian Tully: ‘Customer’ perspectives on forensic science
  • Niamh Nic Daeid: “I’m not sure that you understood what I think it was that I just said” – the critical importance of communication
  • Eoghan Casey: Crowdsourcing Digital Forensic Science
  • Fredrik Heintz: A European Perspective on Artificial Intelligence in Law Enforcement
  • Peter M. Schneider: Recent advances in forensic DNA phenotyping: the VISAGE Enhanced Tool offering new methods and markers for predicting appearance, ancestry and age
  • Justice Tettey: Trust me? I am a forensic scientist
  • John M. Butler: Are We On the Right Side of the Equation? Becoming Outcome-Focused Versus Process-Driven

Organizers also invited more than 30 Keynote speakers from 11 countries to address chosen themes and tracks. Altogether, the guests could have chosen between more than 300 oral presentations, well over 100 posters and 43 workshops.  

The European Academy of Forensic Sciences offered two thematic events- a Management Day and a European Day.

The Management Day focused on the management questions relevant to the field of Forensic Science. New types of crime demand new policies within the judicial system and the Forensic Science community needs to share results from projects, reflect on how to meet future demands, explore best practice related to management of the process, e.g. effective case handling routines, communication strategies with the end user of results, handling requirements of quality and competence assurance. Attendees of EAFS 2022 thus had an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience from dealing with the challenges in forensic management and listening to the plenary speakers, keynotes, and presenters of oral and poster contributions, as well as attending respective workshops.

The European Day (co-funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police. Grant Agreement number: 101051099 — CERTAIN-FORS — ISFP-2020-AG-IBA-ENFSI) promoted the ENFSI projects funded by EU over the last 15 years, by disseminating the results and products of those projects,  provoking further discussions on future challenges for the forensic community and law enforcement.

An important and pleasurable part of the European Academy of Forensic Science Conference in Stockholm was presenting the following awards, given by ENFSI to outstanding individuals and their work:

  • Emerging Forensic Scientist Award was awarded to dr. Maëlig Jacquet
  • Distinguished Forensic Scientist Award was awarded to dr. Didier Meuwly
  • Distinguished ENFSI Contributor Award was awarded to Richard Gill
  • Best Poster Award was awarded to Kristiane de Cássia Mariotti and Rafael Scorsatto Ortiz

The Honorary Membership is one of ENFSI’s most important means to express esteem to an individual who has contributed to the work of ENFSI in a most outstanding way. During the EAFS, the ENFSI Board and the whole ENFSI community showed its appreciation to Kimmo Himberg by finally granting him the long overdue Honorary Membership of ENFSI. As one of the founding members (since 1993), his contribution to ENFSI is immense.

With time passing, EAFS 2022 is still in our memory as an exceptional event, which will undoubtedly influence the future of European and global forensic science.