Dr Claire Gwinnett

Job Title and Responsibilities

Principal Lecturer in Forensic Science

University

  • Member of the Academic Board
  • Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences (FCES) lead for Student Experience
  • FCES lead for Welcome to University Group and Student Surveys Management Group,
  • Learning and Teaching Excellence Fellow
  • Examiner for internal and external validations of courses

Faculty

  • Student Experience Manager for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences (FCES)
  • Member of Learning and Teaching Development Group for FCES

Department

  • Peer Observation leader
  • Staff Student Liaison coordinator
  • Module leader
  • European student internship coordinator
  • Forensic and Police Employers forum coordinator

External Examiner

  • University of Technology, Jamaica

About Me

I have been a lecturer in the Forensic and Crime Science department at Staffordshire University since 2004 and my current role is Principal Lecturer and the Faculty of Computing , Engineering and Sciences Manager for Student Experience. 

I am actively involved in forensic science research and pedagogy and also conduct consultancy in trace evidence. My areas of expertise include hair and fibres, glass and paint, proficiency testing and forensic database production.  My research interests include the development of trace evidence databases, the development of new fibre analysis methods, textile damage, transfer and persistence studies, the development of forensic science training for lawyers and the use of multiple choice questions in determining competency in forensic practitioners. I have acted as a reviewer for forensic science journals and textbooks.

Currently, I am working with UK Police forces in the testing of a new method, developed and patented at Staffordshire University, which will enhance forensic fibres work.  I also conduct consultancy in hair analysis and am particularly interested in wildlife crime.  I have presented my research at national and international forensic science, higher education and law conferences.  I am an advisor to the Forensic Science Society in the development of a new accreditation scheme for forensic practitioners and also a consultant advisor to the International Association for Identification’s (IAI) Professional Programs Quality Assurance Governing Board (PPQAB).

Qualifications

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Higher and Professional Education, Staffordshire University,
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Staffordshire University, Thesis entitled; “The Use of Inexperienced Personnel in the Production of a Synthetic Fibres Database” 
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods, Staffordshire University,
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education, Staffordshire University,
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic Science

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

  • Fellow of Staffordshire University’s Learning and Teaching Excellence Scheme

  • Member of the Forensic Institute Research Network

  • Active Member of the IAI

Expertise

  • Forensic fibres analysis; Microscopy, IR spectroscopy, transfer and persistence, textile damage

  • Forensic hair analysis; microscopy, interpretation, wildlife crime

  • Forensic glass analysis; RI determination, fracture analysis, transfer and persistence

  • Forensic paint analysis; microscopy

  • Other trace evidence including pollen and polishes

  • Trace evidence use in wildlife crime investigation

  • Forensic garment examination

  • Forensic database production

  • Proficiency testing and quality control

  • Forensic science pedagogy, including the use of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in competency testing, e-learning resources and international forensic science delivery

Working with the Media

Areas specialised in:

  • Forensic science
  • Trace evidence

Previous Media Experience:

Advisor to the BBC for series 13 of ‘Silent Witness’

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

I am actively engaged with a number of enterprise and commercial activities including;

  • Development, testing and patenting of new fibres analysis system with Staffordshire Police, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police and The Netherlands Forensic Institute
  • Creation of a forensic science online continuous professional development (CPD) resource for criminal lawyers.
  • Developer and course leader for following CPD short courses; Crime Scene and Evidence Analysis, Underwater Crime Scene Investigation and Advanced Wildlife Crime
  • Advisor in the development of MCQs for the Forensic Science Society

Consultancy

I am active consultant in criminal casework, non-forensic science related enquiries that involve hairs and fibres and research.  Currently I am a trace evidence consultant to ForensicVet in an Invest Northern Ireland funded project for the development of a forensic hair database to aid the identification of pitbull type dogs.  In this role, I am working with a forensic veterinarian in the design, sampling, analysis and implementation of a forensic hair database to be used mainly for the investigation of cases related to the Dangerous Dog Act 1991. 

Research Interests

I have been designing, implementing and managing projects in the forensic science practice and teaching for nearly 7 years.  During this time, I have not only supervised smaller projects executed by undergraduate and postgraduate students but I have also managed large funded national and international projects which involve the employment of research teams. Research has been centred on forensic practice and interpretation, particularly in the areas of trace evidence, proficiency testing and forensic pedagogy.


Funded Research Projects

PhD Project (Staffordshire University Funded) entitled “The Use of Inexperienced Personnel in the Production of a Synthetic Fibres Database” 

Enhanced Learning and Teaching Project Fund (£5000)– ‘A Study into the
Use of Proficiency Testing in Forensic Science Courses in Higher Education to create a
National Trace Evidence Database.’

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) 3 project (£5930) - “Systems for the Improvement of the Cost Effectiveness of Police Scientific Support‘

Proof of Concept fund (£36000)– ‘The Development of a Novel Forensic Fibres Analysis System’, Currently undergoing patenting.

Higher Education Innovation Fund 4 (£5000) - “Feasibility study into the production of intelligent software for law firms”

Higher Education Innovation Fund 4 round 2 (£27000) –‘The Development of a online CPD Resource in Forensic Science (including digital) for Law Firms’

Higher Education Academy Development fund (£1500)– ‘The Development of a Pedagogic ‘Toolkit’ for the Design of MCQs in Forensic Science teaching and the Use of MCQs in the Testing of Forensic Practitioner Competency’

Research Informed Teaching Fund (£3000)  - Development of a Proficiency testing Scheme for Grading Fingerprint Quality for Fingerprint Researchers.  Project carried out in conjunction with The Home Office’s Centre for Applied Science and Technology, formally known as HOSDB.

Other projects include;
Development of a Forensic undersuit to reduce DNA and trace evidence (hairs and fibres) contamination at crime scenes and to enhance Personal Protective Equipment comfort.

Development of a Barefoot Print Database in collaboration with Sheffield Forensic Podiatry Unit

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Jackson. A, Gwinnett.C (2013) Easylift: A Novel Tape Lifting System, Interfaces, Forensic Science Society, 73, January-March 2013, pp 22-23

Gwinnett. C, Cassella. J, Allen, M, (2011), ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Designing and Utilising Multiple Choice Questions in HE and for Assessing Forensic Practitioner Competency’, New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, Issue 7, pp 72-78

Gwinnett. C, (2011), ‘From Rubbish to Riches – Trace Evidence Analysis for Veterinarians’, Veterinary Today. May edition.

Gwinnett. C, Cassella. J, Allen, M, (2011), ‘Pedagogic Toolkit for Creating MCQs’, Wavelength, Vol 7:1, pp 22-23

Bailey. D and Gwinnett. C (2011), ‘Combing For Clues - Hair Analysis for Veterinarians’, Veterinary Today, (an error in publication stated author as Bailey. D only, an erratum is published in the May edition)

Patents

Gwinnett, C. and Jackson, A January 2011, ‘An improved method for the analysis of birefringent materials’, UK Patent Office

Papers Presented at Conferences

Gwinnett. C, Vernon. W, August 2013, Oral presentation at the 98th International Association of Identification Educational Conference, Navigating the Waves of Forensics, Rhode Island, USA, entitled ‘Development of a Barefoot Print Database’

Gwinnett. C, July 2013, Invited oral presentation and workshop, British Forensic Veterinary and Law Association Conference, entitled ‘Forensic Analysis of Hair in Criminal Cases’,  Staffordshire University, UK

Gwinnett. C, Jackson, A, March 2013, 'An Improved Tape Lifting System for the Rapid, Reliable Recovery and Analysis of Evidence from Crime Scenes', Invited Oral presentation, Euroscion Crime Scene and Identification Conference, Royal College of Pathologists, London, UK

Gwinnett. C, Michiels. K, March 2013, International Lecture Series at Katholieke Hogeschool, Leuven (Leuven University) in Leuven, Belgium.  Invited oral presentation entitled ' Forensic Science and the Law: An International Perspective'

Rogers. D, Gwinnett, C, Cassella, J, January 2013, Poster presentation at the 1st Posters for Parliament, entitled ‘An Investigation into Contamination of SOCO Suits’, Houses of Parliament, London, UK

Gwinnett. C, November 2012, Oral Presentation at the 2nd Forensic Science Society Education and Industry Forum, Home Office, London, entitled ‘The Development of an International Forensic Academic Network (FAN)’

Jackson. A, Gwinnett C, November 2012, Workshop at the Forensic Science Autumn Annual General Meeting, Warwick University, ‘An Improved Tape Lifting System for the Rapid, reliable Recovery and Analysis of Evidence from Crime Scenes’

Gwinnett. C, Jackson A, November 2012, Poster presentation at the Forensic Science Research and Development Conference Forensic  Horizons: Promoting Awareness of Research and Development Internationally. Entitled ‘An Improved Tape Lifting System for the Rapid, Reliable Recovery and Analysis of Evidence from Crime Scenes’

Gwinnett. C, Jackson. A, August 2012, Workshop at the 6th European Academy of Forensic Science International Conference (EAFS 2012), The Hague, ‘An Improved Tape Lifting System for the Rapid, reliable Recovery and Analysis of Evidence from Crime Scenes’

Gwinnett. C, Michiels. K, July 2012, Oral Presentation at the 8th National Forensic Research and Teaching (FORREST) at the University of Abertay entitled ‘International Collaboration – The Development of a European Forensic Teaching and Research Network’

Gwinnett. C, May 2012, Oral Presentation at the HEA Improving Learner Experience in Forensic Science Higher Education and Practitioner Training at Cranfield University entitled ‘Utilising Multiple Choice Questions in HE and for Assessing Forensic Practitioner Competency’

Gwinnett. C, Cassella. J, Allen, M, July 2011, Poster Presentation at the 7th International Higher Education Academy Conference at University of Nottingham entitled ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Designing and Utilising Multiple Choice Questions in HE and for Assessing Forensic Practitioner Competency.’

Gwinnett. C, Cassella. J, Allen, M, July 2011, Oral Presentation at the 7th National Forensic Research and Teaching (FORREST) at Nottingham Trent University entitled ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Designing and Utilising Multiple Choice Questions in HE and for Assessing Forensic Practitioner Competency.’

Gwinnett. C and King. I, April 2011, Oral Presentation at the 26th International BILETA conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, ‘Using E-learning Technology as an Improved Delivery Method of Forensic Science Education for the CPD of Lawyers’

Gwinnett. C, November 2010 Oral Presentation at the 2nd International Science and Society Conference in Madrid at Carlos III University entitled ‘Engaging HE students and the Community with Forensic Science’

Gwinnett. C, Jackson. A, July 2010 Oral Presentation at the 6th International FORREST conference at Coventry University entitled ‘The Use of HE Students in the Development of a Synthetic Fibres Database’

Gwinnett. C, January 2010,1st International Forensic Science Conference held in Mauritius.  Poster presentation entitled ‘ A Novel Method for the Development of a Synthetic Fibres Database’, conference.

Gwinnett. C, 2007, 3rd Annual International FORREST (FORensicRESearch and Teaching) conference at Staffordshire University.Workshop:‘Trace Evidence Workshop: Mock Crime Scene Analysis’

Gwinnett. C, 2007, 2nd Regional FIRN (Forensic Institute Research Network) student conference, Wolverhampton University.  Oral presentation:‘Collaboration in research: the production of the second trace evidence database: glass.’

Gwinnett. C, 2006, 2nd Annual International FORREST (FORensicRESearch and Teaching) conference at University of Central Lancashire.  Oral presentation:‘The development and application of proficiency testing in textile fibre analysis for the production of a national fibres database’

Gwinnett. C, 2006, 1st Regional FIRN conference, Staffordshire University.  Oral presentation: ‘The production of a national fibres database’

Gwinnett. C, 2005, Poster presentation at the 1st Annual International FORREST Conference, University of Lincoln, ‘The production of a series of national trace evidence databases.’

 Professional Workshops Delivered

  • Gwinnett. C, September 2011, The Use of MCQs in Forensic Science Assessment, Staffordshire University
  • Gwinnett. C, November 2010, The Design and Implementation of MCQs for Forensic Science Competency Testing, The Forensic Science Society, Harrogate.
  • Gwinnett, C, February 2013, Forensic Animal Hair Analysis for Veterinarians Workshop, Improve International, Swindon
  • Gwinnett, C, April 2012, Forensic Animal Hair Analysis for Veterinarians Workshop, Improve International, Swindon

Current Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Glass analysis

  • Hair analysis (animal and human)

  • Fibres analysis

  • Paint analysis

  • Forensic Biology and DNA Profiling

  • Other trace evidence, including filaments, pollen, lubricants

  • Evidence analysis including FTIR, Raman, Pyr-GC, polarized light microscopy, comparison microscopy, hot-stage microscopy

  • Statistical analysis of evidence

  • Research Skills

  • Independent projects

Postgraduate

  • Glass analysis

  • Paint analysis

  • Hair analysis (animal and human)

  • Forensic Biology and DNA profiling

  • Statistical analysis of evidence

  • Independent projects

Guest Teaching

May 2009, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius

June 2010, AvansHogeschool, Breda, Netherlands

November 2010, The Forensic Science Society, Harrogate, UK

February 2011, AvansHogeschool, Breda, Netherlands

March 2011, The Netherlands Forensic Institute, Ypenburg, The Hague, Netherlands

February 2012, Avans Hogeschool, Breda, Netherlands

March 2012, University of Maastricht, Netherlands

February 2013, Avans Hogeschool, Breda, Netherlands

 

Contact

Claire Gwinnett
Academic Student Experience Manager (Tef)
Learning and Teaching
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences
Science Centre
Leek Road
Stoke on Trent
ST4 2DF
t: +44 (0)1782 295924
e: c.gwinnett@staffs.ac.uk