Professor Lisa Smith

With crime dramas like NCIS and Silent Witness becoming ever more popular and influencing public perceptions of the criminal justice system, there has never been more of a need to understand the relationship between forensic science and the social sciences.

Professor Lisa Smith, Professor of Criminology and Director of the Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies works at the interface between forensic science, psychology and the law.

Inspired to better understand how we use forensic science in the criminal justice system and make sure we aren’t misusing it, Lisa’s research focuses on judicial decision making and the role of forensic science in the criminal justice process.

Her work on the influence of pre-trial biases about forensic science held by jurors culminated in the development and validation of the Forensic Evidence Evaluation Bias Scale (FEEBS). This is now used by legal professionals around the world in jury selection procedures.

Turning her attention to global miscarriages of justice, Lisa is now focused on how to better utilise forensic science to fight the injustice of sexual violence in low-resource environments.

All over the world, sexual violence against girls and women is one of the most devastating consequences of gender inequality. Yet in many countries, investigations and prosecutions are very rare – often because of a lack of available evidence.

Lisa’s work is seeking to change this. A pioneering kit that enables victims of sexual violence to self-examine for DNA evidence will introduce DNA evidence into sexual violence investigations and prosecutions in regions where this has not been previously possible.

Truly interdisciplinary, in collaboration with colleagues from Genetics and Genome Biology, and Psychology at the University of Birmingham, this project was awarded the 2018 Times Higher Education Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Science Award.

"There is a massive justice gap in some developing countries. People witness and endure violent crime at alarming rates, with no ways to seek justice. My research is bridging that gap by making science, and justice, accessible to all."

Professor Lisa Smith

Key milestones

2018 Winner of the Times Higher Education Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

2018 Appointed Professor of Criminology

2017 Elected to Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences Council as Honorary Editor, and Editor-in-Chief of Science and Justice (Elsevier Journal)

2015 Awarded European Association for Psychology and Law ‘Early Career Researcher of the Year’ award

2014-2018 Principal Investigator on INTREPID Forensics programme (EU-funded Marie Curie Innovative Doctoral Programme, £2.9 million)

2012 Appointed Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Criminology

2011 Appointed Lecturer in Criminology

2011 PhD awarded