Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science
UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences


Professor Ruth Morgan

Prof Ruth Morgan

Centre Director
Professor of Crime and Forensic Science

35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ


Professor Ruth Morgan (MA (Oxon), D.Phil) is a Professor of Crime and Forensic Sciences at the Department of Security and Crime Science, and the Director of the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences. The Centre facilitates a network of UCL academics from a wide range of different disciplines and departments, to enable a strategic and multidisciplinary research programme in collaboration with external partners and forensic science stakeholders.

Research: Ruth's research group is focused around the role of physical evidence in the detection of crime and concerns the interpretation of forensic evidence and intelligence. The research falls into two main areas; trace evidence dynamics and the interpretation of evidence

The group is actively seeking to establish empirical evidence bases for understanding the evidence dynamics of trace evidence (soil, sediment, pollen, DNA, gun-shot residue, explosives etc.).  It is also conducting research that addresses the need to develop our understanding of decision-making and the interaction of multiple variables in crime investigation and detection. By addressing both of these areas, we hope to develop an evidence base that will enable us to enhance our ability to interpret the analysis of forensic materials more effectively, in order to generate valuable and robust intelligence and evidence.

Current projects include:

  • Developing forensic applications of Scanning Electron Microscopy in the analysis of quartz grain surface textures and establishing complementary suites of techniques for establishing provenance of soil/sediment materials of interest to a forensic investigation.  
  • Addressing the creation of empirical bases for the development of frameworks that illustrate the interaction of different types of evidence and development probabilistic approaches for assessing the weight of evidence.
  • Assessing the capabilities of forensic trace materials to act as valuable intelligence for the disruption, prevention and detection of terrorism, trafficking and other criminal activities.

Ruth was the co-recipient of the PW Allen Award (The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences) for best publication in Science and Justice in 2006 and 2016. Her research is regularly presented at international conferences and featured in the media. Ruth is an advocate for high quality research-led forensic science, and for creating innovative and creative approaches to the challenges forensic science is facing. Her recent TED talk on the misinterpretation of forensic science evidence is available here.

Engagement:  Ruth is the Senior Editor (Europe) for the journal Forensic Science International: Synergy. She serves on a number of national committees, is the Vice Chair of the London Geological Society Forensic Geoscience Group, and sits on the editorial board for the journal 'Medicine, Science and the Law'. She also contributed to the 2015 Annual Report of the Government Chief Scientific Advisor on Forensic Science, and is the Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee for their inquiry into Forensic Science.

Teaching: Professor Morgan is the Director for the UCL MSc Crime and Forensic Science and regularly contributes to the MSc Crime Science, MSc Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism and to the BSc Geography and BSc Archaeology programmes. She won a Provost's Teaching Prize in 2015.  She was also part of the group that put together the QAA benchmark statement for Forensic Science and acts as External Examiner for a number of UK Universities. 

Prof Ruth Morgan


35 Tavistock Square


  • Professor of Crime and Forensic Sciences
    Dept of Security and Crime Science
    Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL