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.”
Lord Stafford, added: “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.”
Staffordshire University has claimed one of the prestigious top prizes at the annual Lord Stafford Awards for the third consecutive year. Previous wins include a project with Mediche to develop an insulin injection pen for use by diabetics and a collaboration with Aynsley China to establish an in house design resource.
One of last year's Lord Stafford Awards finalists - Staffordshire University crafts graduate Charis Jones who runs her artist blacksmith business Sculpted Steel from Stoke's Etruria Industrial Musueum - was commissioned to produce the trophies for this year's Lord Stafford Awards.
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