Tuesday, 3 July 2012

So it begins...

My name is Dave, as I write this I am 22 years of age, a good whistler, a bad loser and a tasteless joke enthusiast. I enjoy many sports, I love cake far to much for someone who is diabetic and occasionally dabble in reading.

I have just completed my first degree, an arduous and mainly thankless task that turned me into a master of chemistry, I posses in my hand (metaphorically) an MChem in chemistry with forensic investigation, which basically makes me Mac Taylor, apart from, you know, all the cool bits.

My degree taught me that forensics isn't all ridiculously attractive people in expensive suits driving really fast cars, shooting guns, catching bad guys and having sex. Its mostly like that, but not entirely.

We're not all this attractive/serious looking

In addition to all the cool stuff, there are about 100 other guys and girls doing the boring stuff, admin, good laboratory practice, repeat testing, repeat testing, repeat testing, sitting around, waiting for instruments, waiting for samples, waiting for sample pots, fixing instruments, the list goes on, but its quite exciting and makes a real world difference, so i'm sticking with it.
We're actually more like this

There couldn't really be a worse time to try and be a forensic scientist, the UK government have just closed the Forensic Science Service, a government run institution that provided forensic services and research on a number of techniques (i.e DNA fingerprinting) to forensic science. In addition to this they ran the national DNA database (NDNAD) and the national automated fingerprint identification system (NAFIS). Unfortunately times is 'ard and so the coalition government chose to close down the service and ignore everyone who had an important view on the matter or a genuine point to add to the discussion, such is British politics. Forensic science is now carried out by independent crime labs and police labs. We will see over the coming years how this works out.

Anyhoo back to the point, got my degree, got a first, time to plan for the future. I was very lucky to be awarded a place at the UK doctoral training centre for crime and security science, based at University College London in the Jill Dando institute for crime science, I am on a program called SECReT (no idea what it stands for, and cant find information anywhere on the website). The SECReT program is an intergrated PhD program. A PhD qualification in the UK is typically 3 years much shorter than many other countries, this generally leaves PhD graduates in the UK well behind those of other countries and many experience too few conferences, publish too few papers and meet too few other academics. The Secret program on the other hand (like all DTC programs) is a 4 year course, which includes both research and taught sections on a number of subjects, from management to presentation skills, with time in a relevant industry (my project will hopefully take me to New Zealand in 2014) and lectures in the relevant field, in my case crime science. I will study with like minded people from fields ranging from physics to psychology and learn all about a variety of different things and their place in society.

I start on 10 weeks, before that i'm doing some work at the 2012 Olympics, which are coincidentally starting in 24 days on my doorstep.

Next time ill tell you a bit about my project and the department at UCL, but for now get back to work!


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