Aston academic awarded OBE for services to engineering and forensic science

Sarah Hainsworth

28 December 2018

  • Aston University professor awarded an OBE
  • Renowned researcher with expertise in knife sharpness, stabbing and dismemberment
  • Champion of diversity and inclusion in engineering 

Professor Sarah Hainsworth FREng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and a Professor of Materials and Forensic Engineering at Aston University, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year 2019 Honours List for her services to Engineering and Forensic Science. 

A renowned researcher with an international profile, Professor Hainsworth is a leading forensic science expert on stabbing, tool marks in dismemberment and knife sharpness, providing reports to police forces across the UK. Her research gives an understanding of the factors involved in creating knife wounds and provides a framework for assessing the level of force used in knife crime. 

Professor Hainsworth joined the School of Engineering and Applied Science in September 2017, since when she has built on its reputation for encouraging women into, and advancing their careers in, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The School, which outperforms national averages for female staff in Engineering and Applied Science, is known for its leadership in diversity and inclusion. It holds a silver Athena SWAN award which recognises progress in addressing gender and other inequalities in academia. 

In 2013, whilst at the University of Leicester, Sarah’s expertise helped establish the manner of King Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth through analysing wound marks found on his skeleton. 

She was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Tribology Bronze Medal in 1995, the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in 2008 and was nominated as one of the Women's Engineering Society's Outstanding Technical Women in 2009. 

In 2015, she received the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Engineering Sciences Section Andrew H Payne Jr Special Achievement Award in recognition of her contributions to forensic engineering sciences. In 2016, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

Professor Hainsworth said: 

“This award is totally unexpected and I was surprised and absolutely delighted that my work has been recognised in this way.  As someone with a background in materials engineering, I would never have dreamt that I would end up working on stabbing, dismemberment and the remains of a 500-year-old king.”


Notes to the editor

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About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

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