UNIVERSITY OF ALCALÁ. UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH IN POLICE SCIENCES
NEW IDENTIFICATION METHODS OF IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES AND POST-BLAST RESIDUES BY RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY TO PREVENT CRIMINAL ACTIONS
Member State where the applicant organisation is registered:
Duration of the project (months):
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Associate partners/not co-beneficiaries of the grant:
Characteristics of the Project :
Summary (REF APPLICATION FORM: 2.1.9):
The development of methods capable to detect explosives in intact samples and post-blast residues is important in different EU action plans (EU CBRN Action Plan of 2009 and EU Action Plan for the Enhancement of the Security of Explosives of 2008).
This proposal looks for a synergy between the important expertise of the Spanish Security Forces in the explosive/terrorism fields and the research capacities of the University to develop innovative methods to detect explosives. The IUICP is a joint institute depending on the UAH and the Spanish Ministry of Interior. This institute constitutes an ideal context to perform this project.
The main objective of this project is to achieve new identification tools of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by Raman spectroscopy. This objective will be achieved pursuing five specific goals: (i) selecting and prioritizing explosives and compounds usable in IEDs of police interest taking into account the current contexts, (ii) acquiring knowledge on the state of the art of Raman spectroscopy and the practical technological advances of this spectroscopic technique to be used efficiently by police laboratories, (iii) developing sensitive, selective, and fast Raman spectroscopic methods for the identification of IEDs
components in unexploded devices and post-blast residues found in crime scenarios in order to study traceability relationships from post-blast residues to the IED composition, (iv) elaborating a database containing the collected Raman spectra recorded for a great number of explosives and compounds usable in IEDs, and (v) transferring the project results to other European police laboratories.
The project will be carried out by the IUICP as coordinator and the Technological Institute "La Marañosa" (ITM) as subcontracted institution which will provide precursors (mainly military explosives) and post-blast samples of IEDs. Different activities have been planned for a project duration of 36 months. Activities have been included in 6 working packages (WP). The first WP is destined to the management of the project and will include project planning and management of the research activities and progress towards the goals as well as the preparation of technical and financial reports and general paper work. A second WP will study the IEDs from a police point of view defining explosives and components usable in IEDs and selecting and prioritizing analyses and samples related to IEDs of current police interest. In a third WP, the technological state of the art of Raman spectroscopy will be considered to prepare courses/seminars for the police institutions. Additionally, this WP includes basic studies on different strategies in Surface Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) useful for police laboratories. The fourth WP will be focused to the analysis of IEDs components and post-blast samples by Raman spectroscopy to finally perform traceability studies to relate post-blast residues with the composition of IEDs used in a crime scenario. In the fifth WP the development of a Raman spectra database of a great number of IEDs precursors will be pursued. A final WP will be dedicated to the divulgation and transference of project results. This last WP will be focused to the elaboration of papers in scientific/police journals, attending to conferences (specifically, in the Forensic International Network for Explosives Investigation (FINEX), which
is the expert working group on explosives of the European Network of Forensic Sciences Institutes (ENFSI), and organizing an European workshop to train/teach on the technological innovations of the project to other European Police Institutions.
Total eligible costs of the project (EUR)
Max. grant awarded (EUR)
Max. % of EU co-financing
CONCLUSION: RECOMMENDED FOR AWARD
TOTAL SCORE: 90 points
Final grant awarded: € 267.902
REASONS:1. Overall conclusion:
This is a very good project which fully deserves ISEC funding. Its argumentation process is sound and demonstrates a very good knowledge of the needs of the forensic analytic field as well as the requirements of European EU CBRN Action Plan of 2009 and the EU Plan for the Enhancement of the Security of Explosives of 2008.
Its aim of developing innovative methodologies transferable to European police laboratories by implementing a high promising technology in the explosive field is very valuable and matches up to the expected results defined in the Call and in line with the priorities 1 and 9. The applicant (IUICP), is clearly expert in the field and aims at implementing the latest findings to solve the problem. The CVs of the project coordinator and the staff reflects an intensive experience in the fields of analytic chemistry and forensics. Some of the researchers are directly specialized on innovative spectrographic methodologies. The staff comprises also forensic science police officers and members of the Guardia Civil experts on criminalistics matters. The project methodology is sound as well as the WS structure. Moreover the requested budget is reasonable (269.732, 00 Euro) and reflects effective costs. Even if this is a single-partner national project its potential of the transferability of outcomes to the EU level is very high. It promises also great impact on beneficiaries and presents a real added-value at the EU level. The impact on target groups (essentially forensic laboratories and LEAs) is likely to be high as the identification of explosive devices, their traceability and the elaboration of a spectra database answers to a real need. Its results are relevant for enhancing the prevention/fight against the use of IEDs by terrorists in the EU (and also in the neighbouring countries which are also part of the beneficiaries.
2. What are the strengths of the proposal:
-The knowledge of the topic and the needs of the forensic analytic field
-The knowledge of explosive spectroscopic methodologies
-The overall impact on the prevention/fight against the use of IEDs by terrorists.
3. What are the weaknesses of the proposal:
- Absence of the identification of the national and European LEAs and forensic laboratories which will benefit and participate to conferences
- A minor weakness concerns the absence of a partnership. Instead of joining the Defence ministry institute, ITM via subcontracting, the project could have included it as a partner or associate partner.
4. Comments on the Budget:
The requested budget is reasonable (269.732, 00 Euro) and reflects effective costs. The greatest portion of this amount is dedicated to staff costs but they only concern PhD and postdoc researchers’ costs as the great majority of staff are already working on these matters. There is no equipment cost, but only consumables related to equipment: 27.000 Euro dedicated to chemical reagents and standards.
Travels comprise staff members’ travel to conferences. The costs are adequate; the budget just needs to specify the destination of the conferences. It’s also noticeable that the participation of the staff members to these conferences is limited to 1 or 2 people.
Consumable costs comprise chemical reagents and standards exclusively used for the project at 27.000 Eur. The project doesn’t present any evidence for this cost but overall it seems adequate for the field of explosives
The budget foresees printing and publication costs which are appropriate. However there is an amount of 7000 Eur required for “European workshop management and divulgation” which needs further information regarding who will be in charge of this.