FCN's Research and Innovation Co-Lead, Jo Morrissey, explains in this blog about funding that is coming available for innovation and research projects and how to boost your chances of a successful application.

It's always great to see funding channelled into forensic science, especially when there is so much potential and opportunity for innovation. But applying for funding can feel daunting, confusing and a bit like a hyper-competitive lottery.

Well, it doesn't have to be. The investment is available and the application process doesn't have to be a headache if you have the right support. So, how does it work?

New funding opportunities

In policing, science research funding is now coordinated by the Office of the Police Chief Scientific Advisor (OPSCA) led by Professor Paul Taylor, a great supporter of FCN.

Next year's Police STAR Fund covering 2024/25 is now open for EOIs until 10th November 2023.

This is funding is for force and regional innovation, research and evaluation across science, technology, analysis, and research (hence the acronym STAR).

They must be policing led projects seeking to deliver innovative solutions to current and future policing challenges. In previous years funded projects have included public health initiatives, forensic science methods, knife detection, reporting and investigation of VAWG, use of AI, and the evaluation of novel operational methods.

But back to that tricky business of completing the application. Maybe you have a great idea for forensic research but don't know which universities or organisations to partner with for it. Maybe you need help articulating exactly what your project's goals are or how you'll deliver it. 

These are things that I and FCN's other research experts can help with. If you're thinking of applying for STAR funding for a forensic project, contact us at FCNResearch@dorset.pnn.police.uk.  

In the meantime, here are some top tips and prompts to consider before you apply.

Top tips and prompts

  • Make sure it is clear what you are asking for. What are you trying to achieve? Remember that those reviewing your application may not be subject matter experts.
  • Make sure the funding is for a capability or proof of concept and not the purchase of a commercial product that you are asking for funding for. Is it scalable and what is the return on the opportunity?
  • Ensure that it is clear how you will deliver your project and how you will meet the objectives
  • Know what success looks like and be able to articulate it.
  • Plan for success – How are you going to implement your project?
  • Think about the space, resources and items that you will need for your project. Are they available?
  • Can you access the data you need? Will this stall or prevent you completing your project if you can’t access it?
  • Are there DPIA, ethical or other issues that you need to consider before you submit an application?
  • Have you engaged early with research or policing partners already to answer these questions?
  • How will you report your outputs or outcomes?

Good luck with your applications, and don't forget to get in touch at FCNResearch@dorset.pnn.police.uk for support.