Forensic Innovation Scoops Prestigious Award

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AN INNOVATIVE project which is breathing new life into school science lessons has scooped top prize in the finals of the Lord Stafford awards. The brainchild of Staffordshire University’s forensics Professor John Cassella, SciChem Forensic Investigations is designed to show schoolchildren the scientific processes behind crime-scene investigation, thereby inspiring future generations of scientists.

We hope the win will assist in making Staffordshire University synonymous with forensic science teaching. It also demonstrates that enterprise and innovation is alive and well at Staffordshire University during these difficult economic times.

AN INNOVATIVE project which is breathing new life into school science lessons has scooped top prize in the finals of the Lord Stafford awards.

The brainchild of Staffordshire University’s forensics Professor John Cassella, SciChem Forensic Investigations is designed to show schoolchildren the scientific processes behind crime-scene investigation, thereby inspiring future generations of scientists.

Having resulted in significant sales for West Midlands company SciChem, the project has now been recognised through the prestigious ‘Achievement in Innovation’ title at this year’s Lord Stafford awards.

To develop the idea, the University entered into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Bilston-based schools equipment company Scientific and Chemical Supplies Ltd (SciChem) to produce and market forensic science kits.

Awards patron Lord Stafford said: “SciChem has been trading for more than 50 years, but this link up with the renowned Department of Forensic Science at Staffordshire University has seen them move into an entirely new area.

“This innovative project is not only helping the company but is also improving the image of science as a subject among youngsters.”

The KTP employs Staffordshire University Forensic Science graduate and Masters student Philip Morton as an Associate whose role was to develop the kits.

Philip said: “Over the last two years I have developed, within SciChem, the ability to design, write, assemble and manufacture education resources that are unique to the market. I am very proud of this and the fact that we have received industry and region-wide recognition is fantastic.”

Professor Cassella said: “We hope the win will assist in making Staffordshire University synonymous with forensic science teaching. It also demonstrates that enterprise and innovation is alive and well at Staffordshire University during these difficult economic times.”

Tim Avery, Education Sales Director at SciChem Ltd said the partnership had exceeded all expectations and been the catalyst in discovering new untapped markets.

He added: “It started a process of moving us from a supplier to a developer and manufacturer of exclusive materials, and has enabled us to establish our new product development department. Our relationship with Staffordshire University now provides us with the platform for future development.”

Notes to editors:

The awards, which seek to showcase and celebrate the best of collaboration between businesses and universities, were announced last night (Thursday November 18) at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire

The winners were:

  •     Innovation in Development – Rackety’s and Coventry University. This project has seen the Leek-based manufacturer of clothing for disabled people develop a new range of trousers designed for soldiers who have suffered leg injuries which require them to wear fixator devices.
  •     Achievement in Innovation – SciChem Forensic Investigation and Staffordshire University. Having supplied chemicals and science equipment to schools for half a century, Bilston-based SciChem has now collaborated with Staffordshire University to develop specialist forensic science kits which are being sold to schools and colleges nationally.
  •     Open Collaboration – Caparo Innovation Centre and the University of Wolverhampton. A centre set up by Caparo and the university in 2003 to support inventors who are seeking to make their ideas commercially viable. Since being established, the centre has helped more than 800 inventors access support.

Lord Stafford, Patron of the Awards, said: “These awards are now in their 13th year and the quality of excellence continues to increase each year.

“In the current economic climate it is more important than ever that universities play their part in helping to unlock the ideas that businesses have.”

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