The major source of ocean plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of

Nurdles: the not-so-cute Mermaid Tears of the ocean

” ‘Nurdles’ are the building blocks for most plastic goods, from single-use water bottles to televison sets. These small pellets – normally between 1mm and 5mm – are classed as a primary microplastic alongside the microbeads used in cosmetic products – they’re small on purpose, as opposed to other microplastics that break off from larger plastic waste in the ocean.”

Associate Professor, Dr Claire Gwinnett explains on The Conversation here.  

Brexit: what the army could legally do to maintain public order if needed

“The prospect of a no-deal Brexit has led to some dystopian predictions about what might happen if the UK leaves the EU without a transition plan in place on March 29.

Several newspapers with differing stances on Brexit reported on the potential for military deployment to help maintain public order.

Whether this is rooted in genuine concern or political alarmism, it’s true that the military can legally be called in to help in certain circumstances. And at times of crisis, it’s common for some to call for military deployment.” 

Professor James Treadwell, from Staffordshire University, and John Lamb, from Birmingham City University, explore on The Conversation

Keeping Up with Our Graduates

Mica Tolosa-Wright, BSc (Hons) Forensic Science alumni, has been in touch to show us what exciting things she has been doing since graduating from Staffordshire University. 

“Research Technician Mica, of the National Heart and Lung Institute, won the 2018 President’s Award for Research Support Excellence for her work at the Tuberculosis (TB) Research Centre.

Mica was nominated for a number of achievements, including being the primary laboratory supervisor for a Master of Research (MRes) student, and training in containment level 3 laboratory protocols in order to independently deal with highly-infectious TB samples.

Mica is now working on a new research MRC funded study, investigating the immunological response for implementation of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccination (LAIV), and has started a part-time Master’s in Genomic Medicine at Imperial. We spoke to Mica about her reflections on winning the President’s Award for Excellence.”  Read the full article here.

‘SQE: What Next’

This January, it was Staffordshire University’s turn to host the next Undergraduate-Law Providers meeting. The meetings allow Law Providers to keep up-to-date with any changes that impact the Legal profession. This meeting focused on the proposed introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. 

On the 15th of January, the Law Department hosted a day-long meeting of UK Undergraduate Law Providers. Invitations to this event were issued jointly by Ruby Hammer, Head of Law at Staffordshire, and John Koo of London South Bank University.

The last meeting, in July 2018, was hosted by London South Bank University and the University of Brighton.

January’s meeting consisted of presentations as well as open forum discussion on ‘SQE: What Next?’ and other topical matters relevant to delivery of LLB and GDL/CPE courses.

The Law Society’s website states “the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is looking to introduce a new way of qualifying into the [legal profession: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

Pictured are John Koo (Course Director for the Law Conversion course – PG Diploma / CPE, London South Bank University), Aidan Flynn (Lecturer at Staffordshire University), Andy Unger (Head of Law Division at London South Bank University) and Rhonda Hammond-Sharlot (Lecturer at Birmingham City University)

 

Shortlisted for NUE ‘Best Collaboration Between a University and Employer Award

Staffordshire University has successfully been shortlisted as one of the top five in the Best Collaboration Between a University and Employer Award at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards.

The nomination is based on the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership Staffordshire University has with Staffordshire Police.

All nominations will be presented to their independent judging panel who will review all of the candidates.

The winner will then be announced at the Awards Ceremony in London on Friday 1st March 2019.

#NUEAwards

What the Edtech?! Jisc Podcast Series Episode three: the research landscape, here and now

In May 2018, Associate Professor Rachel Bolton-King was invited to do a feature on the latest Jisc podcast series ‘What the EdTech?!’ about Forensics research.

The content, which begins from 30mins 35 seconds in, focuses on Rachel’s collaborative research, the concepts/challenges of research data management, learner/data analytics, and linking academia to practioners. She also touches on the CATE Award and Research4Justice.

You can now listen to the podcast here.

Shaping Healthy Relationships in Schools

“New research at Staffordshire University is exploring how drama can be used to educate secondary school pupils about unhealthy relationships.

In September 2020, it will be compulsory for primary and secondary schools to include relationship education in its PSHE curriculum. In anticipation of this, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology Dr Em Temple-Malt is leading a research project to explore and evaluate different approaches for educating children and young people.”

Read the full article and check out the video on the Staffordshire University News site here.

“We anticipate that it is going to be more effective to act out the changes in terms of creating those long-term messages about creating healthy relationships for the future.”

School pupils watched a drama performance by Staffordshire University students

You can also read the podcast of Em’s interview on Signal 1 here

World Café: a participatory research tool for the criminologist engaged in seeking world views for transformation

Sarah Page and Em Temple-Malt’s paper titled ‘World Café: a participatory research tool for the criminologist engaged in seeking world views for transformation’ has been published. Sarah said she is ‘very excited to have our paper finally out there in print!’

The paper demonstrates how Em and Sarah used the World Cafe approach to gain insights into NPS (New Psychoactive substances) drug usage levels with young people and the homeless population.

‘World Café offers an alternative data collection methodology using group discussion in a face-to-face environment (Brown with Issacs, 2005).[…] we attempt to reflect on applying World Café with vulnerable groups in society on their understanding and consumption levels of NPS and give some examples of the ethical and data issues experienced.’

The research is co-produce with undergraduate and alumni students and the project was the launch of the Crime and Society Research Group.

‘Staffordshire University Crime and Society Research
Group draws upon a variety of options for delivering
research and evaluations in the field of Criminology and
Sociology that are bespoke for organisations and partnerships. Our research provides recommendations for reducing crime and offers helpful insights into meeting the changing needs
of society.’

“The project originally got Vice Chancellor/research funding to conduct a piece of research that enhanced new teaching delivery. The research informed both my Sociology of Health and Working with Drug Users modules and has assisted with building relationships with our local public health team at the local authority.”

“It was fab to work with Em and team on this project.”

Sarah went on to say that “it has [also] contributed to Em’s Research Methods teaching – we are pretty much the only uni[versity] offering World Cafe methodology training to our UG students. On an impact level, drug service improvements occurred with local homeless hostels (with the most significant drug issues) getting a drop in service set up on their premises.”

The paper is based on a presentation that Sarah and Em delivered at the British Society of Criminology in June.

The NPS research (particularly focused on monkey dust) is being continued this year and Sarah has a final year student working with herself and Public Health on this. “We are now looking at the impact of NPS drugs on local communities.”

Click here to read the publication.

 

Simultaneous detection and image capture of biological evidence using a combined 360° camera system with single wavelength laser illumination

“Forensic investigators frequently utilise light sources to detect and presumptively identify biological evidence. The instrumentation typically deploys single or multiple wavelength exposures at various intensities, which interact with constituents of biological material, initiating fluorescence or improving contrast between the material and substrate. Documentation using sketches and/or photographic approaches follows detection, which are essential for scene reconstruction. Recent research has demonstrated the simultaneous detection and capture of biological evidence using a 360° camera system combined with an alternate light source exhibiting broad wavelength ranges of light.”

Carry on reading Sarah Fieldhouse, John Casella and Kayleigh Sheppard’s article on ScienceDirect here.