Forensic & Investigative Sciences PhD project opportunities

Find out more about self-funded PhD projects in areas where we already have supervisors active and engaged in the research topic in our School of Life Sciences.

Research Group

Forensic and Investigative Sciences Research Group

Proposed supervisory team

Dr Leesa Ferguson

This project will be jointly supervised with Dr Lata Gautam and in collaboration with Dr Jo Murphy from University of Leicester.


Impression evidence, trace analysis

Summary of the research project

Latent fingermarks are the commonest type of fingermark found at crime scenes. Although there are a multitude of enhancement techniques currently available to develop fingermarks on a range of surfaces, some surfaces require additional research. The Fingermark Visualisation Manual provides crime scene practitioner’s with sequential information regarding which enhancement processes are best suited for a range of deposition surfaces. However, there are still many surfaces, such as untreated metal, painted walls, non-paper based wallpapers and cellophane where more knowledge is required regarding which development techniques provide optimum results. The research questions that require answering are what enhancement techniques are practitioners currently using on these substrates? Do these techniques successfully develop fingermarks? What is the optimum sequential process to maximise the number of fingermarks available for visualisation and subsequent identification? Are there any alternative development methods that can be incorporated into a sequential workflow? Can the current techniques be used safely in-situ and are the reagents currently used sustainable? The data acquired could be used to advance knowledge for fingermark practitioners and change current guidelines.

Where you'll study



This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Forensic & Investigative Sciences PhD. In the section of the application form entitled 'Outline research proposal', please quote the above title and include a research proposal.