Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Forensics techniques on: a) trace qualification, and b) broadened use of DNA

Topic identifier: SEC-08-FCT-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
15 March 2016
Deadline: 25 August 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Trace evidence are essential for law enforcement and justice. Forensic investigations of trace evidence contribute to the reconstruction of crimes. Answers to how and when a trace was deposited may already be of great help in the initial phase of investigation, provided that such answers become quickly available, and at an acceptable cost.

As for DNA trace, the additional challenge is to build up an image of an unknown perpetrator of a crime, drawing from as many traces and sources and as fast as possible (preferably directly at the crime site), within legal frameworks and ethical rules.


The forensic community still requires:

a) In the specific area of trace qualification:

  • Better knowledge of the composition of traces; of the time when they were left, whether they result from crime-related or inoffensive activities; of the effect, on the quality of traces, of the time elapsed between the moments when there are deposited and collected; of the transfer mechanisms, persistence and recovery of traces; of the circumstances of the trace deposit;
  • New tools, to be used in the field, that can detect, collect and analyse traces, and assist in the interpretation of trace data with a view to avoiding practitioner’s biases;

b) Alternatively, in the specific area of DNA extended exploitation:

  • Tools and techniques, and advanced methods for data analysis and statistical interpretation to extend the exploitation of DNA, which implement “privacy by design” (that take account of the status of personal data depending on the EU Member State legislations.
  • New method for complete sequencing to establish genetic composite sketch.

In addition, regarding both a) and b), proposals need: to address the issue of admissibility of evidence once securely transmitted to and from forensic experts in the field or in laboratories; to propose curricula for the training forensic investigators to use these new tools, techniques and methods; to propose methodologies to compare results produced by forensic organizations across Europe to contribute to the EU-wide consistency of forensic work.

In line with the EU's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[1] international cooperation is encouraged, and in particular with international research partners involved in ongoing discussions and workshops, with the European Commission. Legal entities established in countries not listed in General Annex A and international organisations will be eligible for funding only when the Commission deems participation of the entity essential for carrying out the action.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of € 5million would allow for this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

All proposals should contribute to:

Short/medium term:

  • Solving crimes more rapidly to reduce societal distress, investigative costs and the impact on victims and their relatives;
  • Improving forensic capabilities to evaluate different hypotheses used in criminal investigation and prosecution;
  • Providing forensic experts with instruments to avoid unnecessary analysis costs and time spent by forensic labs, and thus render the forensic process more efficient;

Long term:

  • Preventing miscarriage of justice due to the misinterpretation of forensic findings by the courts.

In addition:

  • Those proposals addressing a) should contribute to the better identification and understanding of crime related traces and the activities that have led to the deposition of the traces;
  • Those proposals addressing b) should contribute to the enhancement of the ability to obtain reliable information from DNA samples.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation


Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions: Forensic laboratories or institutes from a minimum of 5 EU Member States must be beneficiaries of the grant agreement and should be directly involved in the carrying out of the tasks foreseen in the grant (Additional participation of forensic laboratories or institutes from Associated Countries is encouraged).

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions: Only the best proposal may be funded for part a) and part b).

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

  8. Additional documents

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Innovation in SMEs
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Fast Track to Innovation Pilot
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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