Aston academic wins prestigious Joseph Lister Award

7 May 2008 – for immediate release

Would you like to know how the analysis of text messages can put criminals behind bars?

Dr Tim Grant from the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston University will give the prestigious BA Joseph Lister Award Lecture ‘Txt crimes, sex crimes and murder - the science of Forensic Linguistics’ at the BA Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool and across the city this September. Tim has scooped a prestigious award for science communication from the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

He said: ‘I’m delighted, excited and above all honoured to receive the Joseph Lister Award from the British Association.

‘Forensic linguistics is really coming of age and I feel receipt of the award is recognition for the status of the discipline as much as for my individual efforts.The lecture for which I’ve received the award focuses on identifying the writer of suspect text messages and reflects leading edge research carried out, with colleagues, at the new Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University.Such work is having increasing impact in the courts with a number of recent convictions based on text messaging forensics.

‘Forensic linguistics is also at the heart of public debates about the intrusions of the surveillance society and of the scientist’s role as an expert witness, and so I’m particularly pleased to be given the opportunity to engage with the public in these debates at the Festival of Science.’

Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA said: ‘The BA Award Lectures are always an extremely popular feature of the Festival programme, appealing to a broad audience.

‘They are given by outstanding communicators who bring their subjects to life with great enthusiasm and passion, explaining their current innovative work and its relevance to our everyday lives. The Awards seek to reward their ability to explore and discuss the social aspects of their research with the general public via thoroughly entertaining lectures.’


For further press information please contact Sally Finn, Senior Press/PR Officer at Aston on 0121 204 4552 or Lisa Hendry, Press Officer for the BA on 020 7019 4946.

Notes for editors

The BA Festival of Science will take place in Liverpool from 6-11 September bringing over 350 of the UK’s top scientists to discuss the latest developments in science with the public. In addition to talks and debates at the University of Liverpool, there will be a host of events happening throughout the city as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations. For more information, visit

This year’s BA Festival of Science is organised in partnership with the University of Liverpool. It is supported by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, the Liverpool Culture Company and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering. Established in 1831, the BA organises major initiatives across the UK, including National Science and Engineering Week, the annual BA Festival of Science, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges. The BA also organises specific activities for the science communication community in the UK through its Science in Society programme. For more information, please visit