Ground-breaking research recognised by forensic science industry

Published: 4 December 2006 at 11:08

Anglia Ruskin University’s Faculty of Science and Technology has awarded three students its annual, industry-sponsored prizes for projects undertaken within the area of forensic science study.

The undergraduate students from the Department of Forensic Science and Chemistry were awarded the prizes in recognition of the high quality of their final year dissertations.  The Forensic Science Service, Gardiner’s Associates and the Royal Society of Chemistry each donated this year’s prizes.

Stephen Holman picked up the Forensic Science Service prize for the best undergraduate thesis in forensic science for his study of the chemistry and comparison of cling films which are often used for wrapping drug samples. His work makes a significant contribution to understanding of how comparisons between wrapping materials may be used to link drug samples. The prize was presented by Dr. David Reardon, General Manager of the Huntingdon Forensic Science Laboratory.

At the same time, Stephanie Barnwell was awarded the Gardiner’s Associates Prize for the best thesis in fire investigation. Stephanie’s work focused on the development and collection of fingerprints under soot at fire scenes. Such work is of significance where a person has left traces at a scene and then tried to hide them by burning the evidence. The prize was awarded by Alan Munford of Gardiner Associates.

And finally, Anne Cockram was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry prize for the best thesis in chemistry. Anne’s work discusses the groundbreaking use of stable isotopes for reconstructing past diets from material that is preserved in teeth and bones. The Department together with the Environmental Sciences Research Centre are currently commissioning one of the best equipped stable isotope laboratories in the country for forensic and environmental applications.

Head of Department Professor Mike Cole said:

“Our reputation in the region continues to strengthen and this is due to the fact that we have the best teaching programmes and they are attracting the best calibre of students. These three students have worked exceptionally hard to achieve these prizes – but they all have one thing in common they are all committed to solving real life issues within the field of forensic science.  They have a real passion for forensic investigation and we are very proud to have them within the department.”

The Department of Forensic Science and Chemistry is the only such Department in the country to hold this suite of prizes and has recently been described as the Department which ‘sets standards’ to which ‘other universities should aspire’ by the industry and external examiners. Graduates continue to find prestigious jobs with, for example, the forensic science service and the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory.

The Forensic Science degrees offered by Anglia Ruskin University, which are based on scientific disciplines and techniques that may be used to produce evidence acceptable in a court of law, have recently undergone Quality Agency Audits and have obtained top classifications. The include BSc (Hons) Forensic Science, Forensic Science and Biomedical Science, Forensic Science and Criminology and Forensic Science and Psychology.