Face Lab in running for Times Higher Awards

Face Lab – our world-leading group for forensic facial reconstruction – is in the running for this year’s Times Higher Education Awards.

The interdisciplinary research group has been selected for Research Project of the Year (Arts & Social Sciences).

The 2023 THE Awards – the first to be held outside London – take place at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool on December 7.

The nominated project - Craniofacial Identification for Migrant Disaster Victim Identification – has been a focus of the team’s work since 2020 and has significant impacts at global, national and individual levels.

More than 26,000 people have died trying to reach Europe since 2014, and estimates are that as few as 22% are ever identified.

Working initially in the Canary Islands, the team have organised researchers across Europe to consider steps to improve the current situation, evaluating processes, protocols and techniques for the identification of post-mortem faces through collaborations with the University of Milan and the Anthropological Research Facility at Texas State University.

The researchers have also worked in Greece to help identify deceased migrants cross referencing post-mortem data and images from social media and missing persons sites. This work has led to migrant identifications enabling family closure in the countries of origin and is part of the wider humanitarian response to address social injustice.

They have also recently won a large European grant to form a EU-wide network of experts to tackle migrant identification issues.

The nomination is an early boost to the university's newest research institute, the Forensic Research Institute, launched on September 6.

LJMU will compete with Aberdeen, UCLan, Royal Holloway, Strathclyde and Winchester for the best research prize.

The Face Lab team comprises: Professor Wilkinson, Dr Maria Castaneyra-Ruiz, Dr Jessica Liu, Dr Sarah Shrimpton, Martina Pizzolato and Isabel Burton.



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