Dr Sarah Morris, Lecturer in Forensic Computing at Cranfield University, has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution category of this year’s Women in Defence UK Awards.

Dr Morris, who is Head of the Digital Forensics Unit (DFU) and Course Director for the Digital Forensics MSc at Cranfield’s School of Defence and Security, based at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham, is the only shortlisted nominee from a university alongside military personnel and staff from civil service, intelligence and industry organisations.

Dr Morris was nominated for her exceptional contribution to the development of the DFU at Cranfield since 2008 and her commitment to the student learning experience. In 2016, she was also successful in obtaining GCHQ certification for the Digital Forensics MSc, the first digital forensics MSc to gain the full certification.

Professor Mark Richardson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Defence and Security, said: “Congratulations to Sarah on being shortlisted for this award. Under her leadership, Cranfield’s Digital Forensics Unit has become widely recognised as the UK’s centre of excellence for digital forensic education, research and casework, and one of the most well-regarded forensic units in the world.

“Sarah is well liked among students and colleagues for her positive approach and always being willing to go above and beyond. She has won several teaching awards and played a key role in increasing student numbers at the DFU.”

Dr Morris, who also provides expert witness support to a range of police forces, said: “Women in Defence seeks to broaden diversity within the defence sector and to highlight achievements from women within the sector – it is wonderful to be recognised for my contribution, and I hope it will provide greater awareness of digital forensics within the defence industry.” 

The shortlisting event follows on 26 September and winners will be announced later this year.

Notes for editors

About Dr Sarah Morris

Dr Morris completed her PhD at Cranfield and has been responsible for the University’s digital forensic laboratories since 2008. She has evolved the capabilities of the labs and introduced enhancements to improve the student learning experience, including a range of teaching-based initiatives such as a hi-tech crime research lab environment and a crime scene room.

Since becoming a Lecturer in 2012, Dr Morris has been nominated for multiple categories of the student-led teaching awards at Cranfield each year and has won four awards: 2018 – Outstanding Teaching, Sensational Supervision; 2017 – Outstanding Teaching; 2015 – Technology Enhanced Learning Champion.

After taking over as Course Director for the Digital Forensics MSc in 2016, Dr Morris successfully obtained GCHQ certification for the programme and conducted a major course review in order to maintain its leading edge role in building the UK’s digital forensics capability.

In addition to her teaching workload and supervisor responsibilities for several PhD students, Dr Morris also attends University open days and liaises with potential students. She runs summer courses, takes on work experience students and regularly delivers outreach work such as a digital forensic day, teaching children the importance of online safety.

In 2016, Dr Morris took part in the Aurora Women in Leadership development course. She is an active STEMnet Ambassador and member of the Computing at School Group. As part of this role, Dr Morris acts as a formal mentor to young females considering a career in computing.


About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.