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The Forensic Institute Research Network.The burgeoning activity in forensic science in universities continues to attract criticism. A positive aspect is the potential to inject a much-needed boost to research in all forensic practices. Only recently has fingerprinting, for example, been exposed to rigorous scientific examination and, to a great extent, been found wanting as regards its science – probability apparently has no place in fingermark examination. In response to the opportunity The Forensic Institute brought together representatives from more than 40 UK universities to discuss how this new resource, academics and students, could be used to further research in the forensic sciences. It was envisaged that many casework-related problems, such as environmental frequencies of trace evidence, could be best accomplished by a lot of small student projects coordinated on a national and perhaps international level by a steering group. This steering group in turn would be part of an integrated research strategy developed in conjunction with practitioners. A virtuous cycle of practice, research, development, and practice would be the outcome. And so, in 2004, The Forensic Institute Research Network (FIRN) was born.