The Zurich Forensic Science Institute (FOR) is an independent institution under public law with a dual mandate from the Canton of Zurich and the City of Zurich. The FOR boasts around 160 employees, including both civilians and police officers from the corps of the Canton of Zurich and the City of Zurich. We actively promote the proven combination of expertise in the areas of law enforcement and science-technology.
Thanks to its comprehensive array of services, the FOR is the leading centre of forensic competence in Switzerland, performing central-office tasks for both national and international partner organisations.
Two paths to a career in forensics
Forensic superheroes that you might read about in detective novels – masters of every speciality of forensic technology, forensic science, and forensic medicine – don't exist in our organisation.
At the Zurich Forensic Science Institute, we employ highly educated specialists from a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds. The forensic investigator is not an entry-level job. There are primarily two paths to a job in the field of forensics: either through a police career or as a mid-career transfer from another field.
Graduation from the police academy, accrual of experience as a police officer, internal transfer within the police department to forensic services, and continuing specialist training, for example at the Swiss Police Institute (SPI).
Civilian career transfers
For tasks requiring specific expertise such as laboratory analysis or recording information for identification services, associates are employed with relevant training and job experience (e.g. laboratory assistant or security personnel). Experts with backgrounds in academia typically come from the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, or have studied Forensic Science at the University of Lausanne (UNIL).
The Zurich Forensic Science Institute has at its disposal one accredited testing laboratory and one accredited inspection body.
Zurich 3D Centre (3DZZ)
The Zurich 3D Centre is operated by the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the University of Zurich, the Zurich Forensic Science Institute, the Zurich Cantonal Police, and the Zurich City Police.
The centre performs documentations, reconstructions and visualisations and is active in the areas of research, services, and education.
Centre for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics
The Zurich Forensic Science Institute is a member of the Centre for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics at the University of Zurich. The Centre for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics aims to bring together research from a variety of disciplines related to forensic voice recognition.
Centre for Forensic Machine Learning Technology (ForMaLTeC)
ForMaLTeC in Zurich is jointly operated by the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich and the Zurich Forensic Science Institute (FOR). The goal of the collaboration is to expand forensic medical and police science expertise in the field of machine learning.