Wednesday 12 July 2023

Appeal for PhD funding

Hello there, peeps! Sorry for the long delay since my last post. This post is a little different, as for once, it is not about me. Well, not directly..

Last year, I was contacted by Sarina Riechmann, a brilliant German student wanting to do a PhD in forensic anthropology. We had several long discussions about her potential research, and so she applied to UCLan, had an interview and we were delighted to offer her a place. Unfortunately, there is no university funding to offer, and so Sarina would have to fund her studies herself. I am very excited about her research ideas and her potential, and am very keen for her to come to UCLan to undertake her PhD under my supervision. We already have collaborations in place that would make this PhD something special. The research is very likely to make real-life improvements to the lives of families of missing people or victims of homicide or disaster. 

But she can say it better:

"My name is Sarina Riechmann (25 years old) and I would like to tell you about my childhood dream. Since my school days I have been fascinated by the science of living matter and learning about animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and humans. Subjects such as heredity and the teaching of the development of all living things have encouraged me to further develop my scientific curiosity and areas of interest. Studying Biology and specifically Human Biology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich allowed me to gain my first insights into Forensic Anthropology and impressed me so deeply with the age and sex determination of human bone and skeletal remains that I went on to further study in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology at Cranfield University and am now pursuing a PhD in Forensic Science at the University of Central Lancashire to fulfil my career goal in the context of Criminalistics.


The topic of my PhD, Identifying and Tracking Scavengers of Remains in a Forensic Context, focuses on the identification and tracking of animal scavengers in a forensic context. The goal of my PhD work at UCLan, beginning in September 2023, is to develop a simplified and improved analysis of scavenger-induced wound tracks on human and animal remains, as well as to gain an understanding of the geographic distribution of scattered bodies and body parts. Police search advisors and crime scene investigators (CSIs) will learn the ability to detect scavenger tracks on human remains, identify possible scavengers, and track scattering patterns of scavengers in order to adjust search strategies for missing persons accordingly. Ultimately, the research results will be used to provide concrete conclusions and advice to police agencies and forensic institutions to optimize the applied search strategies for fatalities, resulting in higher recovery rates and shortened search times. The critical issue to address is that the entrainment of bodies and body parts by animals into their dwellings complicates the retrieval of all scattered body parts. However, it is paramount to the identification and ethics of many cultures to recover as many body parts and body tissues as possible. Knowing where body parts were taken from scavengers is essential for accurate search strategies by police forces and for survivors.


A PhD abroad at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), England, means a mountain of costs that include aspects such as tuition, research fees, and living expenses. The university doesn't have funding options for my research project, and I cannot get student loans or a scholarship either, as this is a purely international PhD. This means that I have to cover the costs of the PhD abroad and thus the tuition, research fees, and living expenses on my own. However, my savings have already been depleted by my Master's in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology at Cranfield University, England, which I had to fund on my own. Shortly before I started my Master's degree, my father suffered a brain haemorrhage and has been in a nursing home ever since. That was two years ago now, and not a day goes by that I don't shake and cry when I think of him or the moment of the brain haemorrhage. My mother has to pay for the costs of the nursing home and therefore cannot support me financially. For me, there is no support or financial relief from assistance programs, loans or family. Alone, I can not realize the foreign doctorate and my childhood dream - a profession in the field of criminology. Therefore I would like to ask you for your support. Every little contribution counts and can make a big difference! Your support in realizing my PhD abroad in Forensic Science and thus also in realizing my childhood dream can give me the courage to continue pursuing my hopes and dreams. Your generosity, warm-heartedness and energetic contribution can turn a wish or a future goal into reality and thus make a dreaming and hoping heart smile.


With a big smiling thank you,

Sarina Riechmann"