University of Leicester cited in Parliamentary debate on world-class impact of UK science

Posted by ap507 at Nov 06, 2015 01:50 PM |
Revolutionary technique developed by University of Leicester criminologist is lauded at Westminster

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 6 November 2015

The University of Leicester has been cited for the world-class impact of its work in a Parliamentary debate on Treasury Support for UK Science.

The debate, at Westminster Hall on 4 November, was secured by Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, and featured 27 speeches including one from Jo Johnson, Minster of State for Universities and Science.

Ms Smith said: “British scientists from across the spectrum work on projects that impact on every aspect of our lives, helping us to meet the challenges of today—not just the obvious challenges, such as using agri-tech research to help to feed a growing world population or how to use modern science to develop the technologies we need if we are achieve a truly low-carbon economy, but other challenges that are none the less important. For instance, researchers at the University of Leicester have developed new technology that reveals previously undetectable fingerprints on metal objects; the method has been used in more than 100 criminal cases so far and is enabling the reopening of closed cold cases. Also, research into the structure of graphite is extending the lifetime of the UK’s nuclear reactors, resulting in an effective saving of £40 million to date and helping not only to keep the lights on but to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.”

Dr John Bond OBE, of the Department of Criminology, invented a novel method of recovering fingerprints from spent brass shell casings and bomb fragments, which has been used to provide prosecution evidence in murder trials across the US. Whilst at Leicester, John – who previously worked in the Department of Chemistry - has continued to invent new ways of recovering fingerprints from ‘difficult’ surfaces and some of these are now also in commercial production, used by law enforcement agencies worldwide, and generate an income for the university. These inventions have been acknowledged with innovation awards from Time Magazine and the BBC Focus Magazine and, in 2011, John was awarded an OBE for services to forensic science.

Dr Bond OBE, said: “It is very pleasing to see this technology cited as an example of how multi-disciplinary research can benefit law enforcement, not only in the UK but across the world.  I hope this will encourage other academics to consider how their skills and expertise might be used to aid law enforcement.”

Professor Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor  and  Head of the College of Science and Engineering said: “Dr Bond’s work is a great example of  how Forensic Science research at the University of Leicester contributes to improvements in crime detection and the subsequent prosecution of the perpetrators.”

Professor Julie Coleman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, said: “This work provides compelling evidence of the far-reaching societal benefit of funding research across all disciplines. Quite apart from the economic benefit of taking violent criminals out of circulation, Dr Bond’s method for recovering previously unrecoverable fingerprints has been instrumental in achieving justice for victims and their families around the world.”


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