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The prevalence and significance of specific synthetic textile fibre types on random surfaces in forensic investigations (ref: SF18/APP/Sheridan)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Numerous studies have been conducted to aid the evaluation of the significance, if any, of textile fibre links found in criminal investigations. These can, broadly speaking, be classified into population studies, colour block studies and target fibre studies. Each type of study attempts to provide answers to specific questions posed in the evaluation of fibre evidence; population studies classify fibres into the number of generic colour/type combinations on any given surface, colour block studies use analytical instrumentation to enable sub-division of a generic colour/type combination and target fibre studies are interested in the chances of finding a very specific colour/type combination on a random surface. Whilst broadly useful when used in combination, these studies are often limited to the boundaries of the study itself e.g. the findings of a study involving blue polyester fibres effortlessly translate to a crime scenario involving blue acrylic fibres.
The Governments vision is to deliver robust and reliable forensic science underpinning any interpretation of evidence to the criminal justice system. As such, a fresh approach is required to aid the evaluation of textile fibre evidence by providing data concerning the prevalence of specific types of fibres on random surfaces that can be used in a more ‘global’ context applicable to all crimes in society. To achieve this, this project aims to combine the specific questions (as above) raised in the evaluation of fibre evidence into a single study ensuring the data is applicable to any and all crime scenarios.
The UK Fibre Forum (UKFF) whose members include all major forensic providers in the UK and key defence scientists champions this project.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 1st July 2019 for October 2019 start, or 1st December 2018 for March 2019 start
Start Date: October or March

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. University fee bands are shown at
View Website
Projects in Applied Sciences are typically costed at Band 3 or Band 4


Palmer, R., Sheridan. K., The prevalence of two 'commonly' encountered synthetic target fibres within a large urban environment. Science &Justice : 2015, 55(2): p. 103-6

Palmer, R., Sheridan, K.J., Puckett, J, Richardson, N., Lo W., An investigation into secondary transfer—The transfer of textile fibres to seats. Forensic Science International : 2017, 278: p. 334–7

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