CSI-Style Course Developed At University of Leicester

Leicester hosts International Summer School in Forensic Science

A summer school focussing on forensic science and taught by experts from the UK and US - thought to be the first of its kind at a UK university- is to be held at the University of Leicester.

Students will have to 'solve a crime' as part of the three week programme in July and August and will carry out experiments at a 'crime scene'.

The summer school is part of the activity of the University of Leicester's Forensic Research Centre and is spearheaded by Honorary Research Fellow Dr John Bond who is also a research scientist at Northamptonshire Police and Professor Rob Hillman in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr Bond said: "Recent years have witnessed a booming interest in forensic science. News headlines and programs such as CSI continue to fascinate the public. Unsurprisingly, there is great demand to study forensic science; however, resources to do so are rather limited.

"The University of Leicester has thus organised this summer school for students who wish to study forensic science, but are unable to do so at their own universities. The event will also count towards a participant's degree programme, on a credit based system.

"Whilst other Universities within the UK hold similar events, the Leicester Summer School is truly unique. It is the only summer school that is taught by experts from institutions both within the UK and elsewhere. The principal instructors this year are Dr. John Bond (Northamptonshire Police/University of Leicester), Prof Rob Hillman (Dept of Chemistry, University of Leicester) and Prof John Wang ( Dept of Criminal Justice, California State University).

"We are expecting more than 20 students this year, the majority of whom are from the US. We are really pleased with this, given the current economic climate."

At the summer school, students will learn the basics of forensic science by taking on the role of forensic scientists and 'solving a crime'. They will carry out experiments on items from a 'crime scene' and assist the police with their investigation. Whilst the crime scene and 'evidence' are not real, the way the evidence is presented and experiments conducted, will mirror how an actual forensic scientist works. Participants will also visit forensic labs and a working police station to compliment their classes.

At all stages, the students will learn how the use of forensic science varies between the US and the UK. This also makes the Leicester summer school different and more comprehensive than others in the UK.

Dr. Bond adds, "We are pleased to be able to give students a solid grounding in forensic science, in an environment that enables them to study overseas and, at the same time, gain credits towards their courses back home.

"We are really happy that the University is fully supporting this unique event and are looking forward to welcoming Prof Wang and the students to Leicester. I know that some UK universities that have offered a forensic science summer school in the past, have cancelled it this year because they cannot attract students. I think this emphasises the unique appeal of the Leicester course -we hope to attract more students next year, not only from the US, but from all over the world".

Dean of Science Professor Rob Hillman said: "The relevance and importance of science in our daily lives are frequently under-appreciated. Forensic science is now providing the public with some very vivid examples that make this clear. New challenges are constantly being presented to the forensic scientist, who must be innovative in the development of new technologies while at the same time retaining rigorous analytical standards that can stand the test of the legal process.

"We are delighted to welcome students from the US to Leicester and hope that they will enjoy the experience of visiting one of the UK's leading teaching and research intensive universities."

The course runs from Monday 20 July until Friday 7 August and takes place principally in the Department of Chemistry

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