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Funded PhD Project in Forensic Anthropology

"The evaluation of anatomical and anthropometrical standards used for craniofacial identification across diverse populations" 3-year fully funded, Liverpool John Moores University. Application Deadline: 15. December 2023.

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About the Project

These three projects are part of a Themed Doctoral Programme (TDP) in the newly established Forensic Research institute (FORRI) at Liverpool John Moores University. The TDP includes high performing research groups and international partners with craniofacial, digital data analysis and human identification research strands, and is led by Prof Caroline Wilkinson, Director of FORRI and a chartered forensic practitioner with experience over 30 years.

The TDP focus is to ensure the diversity and inclusivity of forensic research, especially important given its tie to the criminal justice system, and the increasingly global nature of crime across many sectors. The FORRI team has experience in the forensic science industry and the complexities of developing and validating novel methods for application in criminal casework. A network of collaborators spanning the entire pipeline of forensic analysis will be utilized to provide work-based learning opportunities where appropriate.

This project aims to enhance the diversity of response within the criminal justice system by overcoming the difficulties of identification from partially decomposed and skeletal human remains across diverse populations. Through international partners, this thread will evaluate craniofacial standards across multiple populations (European, African, Asian) for human identification methods. The supervisory team is based in Face Lab, a research group in FORRI with craniofacial identification expertise, along with the international partners.

Additional subject specific training and opportunities include:

  • International mobility and study visits during the period of research.
  • Comprehensive transferable skills development programme from the university’s Researcher Development Programme.
  • Coaching and/or mentoring support.
  • Additional subject-specific training relevant to the research project.

Applicant requirements include a first degree and master’s degree in a relevant subject (e.g. forensic anthropology, facial identification, human anatomy) and experience of working with human remains. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply and this TDP is open to international students with IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. ATAS may also be required depending on the country of origin of the applicant.


  • DR WON-JOON LEE, National Forensic Service, Seoul, South Korea
  • DR KATHRYN SMITH, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • DR ELINE SCHOTSMAN, University of Wollongong Australia

Subject Areas:


For an informal discussion about this opportunity please email Prof Caroline Wilkinson for more information.

Applicants should email a CV, covering letter detailing their suitability for the project and contact details of two referees to:

Applicants must be available for an online interview on 5th January 2024.

Funding Notes

Students can expect a fully funded three-year PhD scholarship, comprising:

  • Annual full-time study fees
  • An annual full-time stipend (£18622 per annum in 2023/24, rising in line with UKRI rates) paid in monthly instalments for full-time study
  • A contribution towards running costs (£1600 per annum)

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