#StaffsPGR Conference 2018

Yesterday saw the annual Staffordshire University Postgraduate Research Conference.The conference provides the opportunity for current PhD students to present their research.

The day started with refreshments, then the conference was opened by Prof. Douglas Burnham and  Prof. Martin Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, gave the introductory, welcome speech.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Martin Jones, Prof. Douglas Burnham and Prof. Martin Parker.

 

The Key note speaker was Prof. Martin Parker from the University of Bristol, who focused his speech on ‘Everything you wanted to know about rejection but were afraid to ask’. He gave some advice to fellow researchers about not being afraid of rejection.

 

 

 

After a quick break for refreshments, the first session of the presentations began from students in Business, Education, Health and Forensics subject areas.

Sophie Hartless presenting her research on the ‘critical Evaluation of DNA Recovery Methods for Forensic Purposes’.

Megan Needham presenting her research on ‘Establishing Effective Documentation Strategies for Fingerprint Examinations’

Laura Wilkinson presenting her research: ‘An Investigation into the Interpretation of Hair Evidence for Casework’.

Lunch was at 1pm with a Poster Presentation Exhibition, followed by the second presentation session for students in Applied Technology and Humanities.

Alexia Rothwell talks through her research: ‘Multidisciplinary Intervention Strategies in Firearms Trafficking’.

Esme Hookway with her poster on her research: ‘Troubled Times: An Investigation of Medieval Hospitals as Places of Refuge for Pregnant Women and Children’ (supervised by Dr Kirsty Squires and Prof. John Casella).

The afternoon continued with a Panel Discussion – ‘What can you do with a PhD’? – followed by a Three Minute Thesis Competition, with presenters Danial Jovanovska, Ramy Hammady, Rohit Adhikari and Hussain al-Ezee. The day concluded at 5pm with closing remarks.

Panel Discussion: What Can You Do With a PhD?

Congratulations to everyone who presented their research at the Staffordshire University Postgraduate Research Conference 2018 #StaffsPGR

 

International Forensic Success

MSci Forensic Investigation student, Gareth Griffiths, and MSci Forensic Science student, Kirstin Gent, funded their own research trip to Canada at the end of April, spanning over three weeks. 

 

Gareth’s research involved validating software for Faro and also enabled Gareth to collect data for his final year project on Blood Pattern Analysis, using Faro Zone 3D on different types of wallpaper.

 

 

 

Gareth has said he would “like to say a big, big thank you to Eugene Liscio for giving us the best 3 weeks, [Kirstin and I] will never forget: taking us to Niagara Falls, meeting amazing people in the field of policing/forensics, [and] taking us to York Regional Police Head Quarters to help with Kirstin’s project and being able to shoot a gun for the first time!

“Most of all demonstrating to me the Faro scanner and Software and collecting the data for my final year project on blood pattern analysis using Faro zone 3D on different types of wallpaper.

“We are so honoured to have been given this opportunity and we will never forget the time here, in such a great country. We have never met anyone so enthusiastic about their profession. Once again Eugene Liscio, thank you for everything. You are always welcome to England anytime.”

 

CLA+ Sessions and Learning Gain

As part of a national project funded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) there is an opportunity to take part in sessions completing an online test which will help you to discover your skill level and could assist you in identifying areas for development. The feedback can then be used to create a personalised development plan you can follow to help you work on any areas that you feel would be beneficial to you in the future.

In return for completing the test you will receive £40*

The Collegiate Learning Assessment is a standardised online test that is used to assess certain skills that you may possess. No subject specific knowledge is required or tested and it will not impact upon your degree marks (apart from giving you the opportunity to improve following reflection of the feedback you receive). The test will provide an objective assessment about the critical skills you have at the current time. The test is open to any undergraduate student studying any subject at any level.

The test takes 90 minutes to complete and results are returned in four to six weeks. Once you have your results you can meet with your personal tutor or an Academic Skills Tutor to identify your strengths and areas for development, and draw up your own personalised plan for development.

Once you have completed the test there is an opportunity to complete a 30 minute survey on learning engagement.
(*The £40 has to be claimed through Unitemps – Unitemps will complete an ID check and accepted forms of ID will be required . This check will have to be completed before payment. More details on how to do this will be provided in the sessions)

The sessions available are as follows

There is no need to book, just turn up to the session that is best for you.
Please arrive promptly as sessions are timed and allow 2 HOURS for the session

If you would like anymore information contact Stacey.Stanyer@staffs.ac.uk

Forensic and Crime Science Society Hosts Student-Led Conference

On the 21st March 2018, the Forensic and Crime Science Society organised and hosted a Student Led Conference. The aim of the conference was to promote and encourage students to showcase their own research and to develop their skills, whilst inspiring other students to do the same.

The event was formally opened with a welcome talk by Dr Sean Curley, Dean for the School of Law, Policing and Forensics. Dr Curley greeted the students and their student colleagues; also in attendance at the conference were representatives from the staff of Staffordshire University, as well as invited guests and experts.

Dr Sean Curley, Dean of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, opened the event

After the first round of presentations by students and guest speakers, a special lunch and poster presentation was provided. This gave further opportunities for everyone involved in the conference to discuss the presentations and to provide a vital networking opportunity for the student and staff in attendance.

Dominic Davis- Foster: developing a system for identifying the brand of ammunition from gun-shot residue.

Kurstie Burgess, a past student, gave her talk on crime scene reconstruction and shared some employability advice.

Sophena’s research examines how individuals view injury maps in court and explores a move to an interactive viewing format, using participants.

Nadine’s final year research focuses on extracting data from Fitbit devices for use as evidence in forensic investigation. It also features in the Journal of the Crime Sciences – CSEye.

Alice presented her research on using images to develop a method using RGB values for identification & quantify fibres.

Lauren presented her research on disarticulated remains.

Well done to all of the students involved and a huge thank you to our guest speakers and visitors who attended.

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

Some of our Forensic students represented the Criminal Justice and Forensics department at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, held at the University of Sheffield. Each student presented their own research over the two days, 12th-13th April.

A presentation on the Analysis of Corrosive Chemicals on Clothing by Tasmin Crompton

Dominic Davis-Foster presented his research on Identifying the Brand of Ammunition from GSR

Afsane Kruszelnicki talked about her research into Persistence of Fibres in Underwater Crime Scenes

Shauna Richardson talked about Modern Slavery

Sarah Hedges presented her research into The Impact Menstruation has on Semen Persistence in Sexual Offences Cases

Adeniyi Popoola presented his poster on Use of ESLA to Retrieve Fibres from Different Surfaces

Natalie Goswell presented her research on investigating whether Contextual and Emotional Bias Influences the Interpretation of Bloodstains

Nadia discussed her research Investigating & Quantifying the Amount of GSR Recovered from a Variety of Interior Car Surfaces

Jade Chapman presented her poster on Identifying & Validating Techniques for Detecting Heroin in Porous Objects

Liss Chadwick presented her poster: An investigative approach of easily-accessible chemicals on porcine bone as a means of understanding their destructive potential 

Renniel Pena presented his poster on Comparative Analysis of Bloodstain Aging Between Animal Blood and Human Blood

 

A Visit from South Cheshire College

South Cheshire College enjoyed an educational visit to Staffordshire University’s crime scene house and labs, before Easter.

After their arrival and welcome, they listened to a presentation on Crime Scene Documentation and Packaging Presentation. They were then split into groups to go to the crime scene house or lab and swapped after lunchtime.

Wearing the correct attire, they carried out crime scene processing at the crime scene house, looking for evidence.

At the labs, they carried out an analysis of the evidence.

They gained an insight into some of the processes undertaken, including fingerprints (inking/dusting and lifting), footwear (ESLA, casting and comparison), documents (ESDA/VSC), presumptive testing suspect powders and GC-MS interpretation.

Introducing the Forensic Fibres Microplastic Research Group

The Forensic Fibres Microplastic Research Group, here at Staffordshire University, are currently undertaking projects in a variety of areas surrounding microplastics and plastic pollution.

Currently, they are working collaboratively with the University of Palermo, University of Malta and AquaBioTech on the ‘SeaSweep’ project, to monitor marine litter in European seas using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Another collaborative project they are contributing to is ‘Marine Microplastics: a Multidisciplinary Study Quantifying Sources, rates and sinks’ with the University of Bristol. This project aims to gain a further understanding of the sources, transport and fate of marine microplastics, to assess the risks associated with microplastics in the oceans.

On Wednesday 7th March 2018, the team attended the ‘Plastics in the Ocean: Challenges and Solutions’ conference in Cambridge hosted by the British Antarctic Survey. During the event they disseminated information about two other projects they are undertaking at Staffordshire University.

“We are conducting research into the level of microplastic pollution in freshwater, specifically the River Trent, by collecting sediment and water samples from multiple different locations. We will be collecting these samples along its duration from where it begins in Biddulph Moor, Staffordshire, to where it meets the River Ouse and forms the Humber Estuary in Lincolnshire. This is to ensure that microplastic pollution can be more accurately quantified. Additionally, we are aiming to combine forensic techniques of fibre analysis, contamination prevention, evidence tracking and evaluation with machine learning and computer vision to create a fully automated method for quantifying and characterising macro and micro plastic pollution. “

On the 23rd May 2018, Dr Claire Gwinnett also delivered a presentation on the comparison of analytical techniques for microplastic analysis at the Royal Society of Chemistry Microplastic workshop.

Dr Claire Gwinnett

Finally, we can now announce that our very own Dr Claire Gwinnet has been recognised with a prestigious scholarship for her research into the global problem of microplastics. She is the second person from the School Law, Policing and Forensics to receive this award and is among only 150 people to receive the Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship this year.

This funding will allow Dr Gwinnett to build on this research by travelling across the USA and Australasia, visiting fellow scientists who also partake in the analysis of microplastics and the education around plastic pollution. She will be working with the Rozalia Project joining them on their 2018 expedition along the Hudson River, sampling microplastics from the river and the air from onboard what is recognised as the greenest sailing research vessel in the world, the famous American Promise.

You can keep update with their research news on Twitter and their Blog.

 

Student’s Research Published in Journal – CSEye

Level 6 Forensic Investigation student, Nadine Jones, has had her research published in the Journal of the Crime Sciences – CSEye.

Her research looked at ‘Analysing How Data Extracted From Fitbit Devices Can Add Value to Criminal Investigations‘.

“The past decade has seen a rapid development in cases relating to digital forensics, with criminals utilising technology as a platform for their criminal activity. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are any device which uses the internet to share data. IoT is becoming more popular and is now present in most homes around the world.”

Congratulations to Nadine and her supervisor, Dean Northfield.

You can read the full piece on the journal here.

Innovation Through Collaboration: INTREPID Conference 2018

The Staffordshire Forensic Partnership (SFP) was invited to participate in the 2018 INTREPID conference, entitled ‘Innovation through Collaboration’ held in Leicester on 1st-2nd March 2018.    

The two-day event, jointly run by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, was well attended by delegates from all over the country including Police Scotland, which considering this was during the heavy snow was quite impressive. Though Senior Sergeant Duncan McCarthy from the Queensland Police Service won the prize for the furthest travelled.

Dr Claire Gwinnett

We took three students, Sophie Hartless (PhD student), Jessica Dunne (3rd year student) and Jonathan Andrews (3rd year student), who presented posters on their work as part of the SFP.

Left to right: Jessica Dunne, Sophie Hartless and Johnathan Andrews

Jessica won 1st prize for her poster on ‘Recovery of DNA from Aluminium Powder Fingerprint Tape Lifts Using DNA-17’.  Stuart Bell (Staffordshire Police) and David Flatman-Fairs (Staffordshire University) also gave an oral presentation entitled ‘Staffordshire Forensic Partnership: Past, Present and Future’ on the second day.

Jessica Dunne with her certificate

What You Can Expect on Our Offer Holder Days

We had our third Offer Holder Day, on Saturday 17th February, for our 2018 entry applicants. The School of Law, Policing and Forensics applicants met our staff, a few of our students, and experienced taster sessions of what they can expect if they choose to study at Staffordshire University.

Chemistry is a part of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, and is new for 2018. Our Chemistry applicants had hands on experience in our labs, where they conducted some paracetamol analysis and calculations .

Law applicants on a mixture of our Law courses, including the new BA Criminal Justice with Offender Management, got involved in two interactive sessions.

Louis Martin and Anna Garland used real life case studies and encouraged interactive discussions. Louis focused on serial killers and Criminal Law and Anna discussed the core areas of Legal study that students can expect to learn about (Contract Law, Tort Law, Constitutional Law, Property Law, Equitable Remedies, EU Law and Criminal Law), using a few of the following examples:

Donoghue v Stevenson (1932)
The Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation (2001)
Jolly v Sutton LBC (2000).

Former Senior Investigating Officer for Staffordshire Police and Course Leader of our Policing and Criminal Investigation courses, Phil Lee, briefed our applicants and then took them to the crime scene house; they took the role of Senior Investigating Officers, where they used body cameras and recorded evidence.

 

Professor James Treadwell encouraged our Sociology and Criminology applicants to think like a Sociologist and Criminologist when discussing topical images. Applicants were then given the opportunity to speak to one of our current Sociology students and ask questions.

Forensic Science and Forensic Investigation applicants were suited in protective clothing and had practical experience of crime scene processing and evidence analysis – at our crime scene house and labs.

Our next Offer Holder Day will take place on Wednesday 14th March. Find out more on our website.