A new generation of fire investigators will be equipped with the range of skills needed to accurately pinpoint the cause of blazes in buildings, following two new appointments at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Jim Lygate of IFIC Forensics has joined the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering as Rushbrook Visiting Professor of Fire Investigation with Dr Rory Hadden taking up the post of Rushbrook Lecturer in Fire Investigation.

Enhance fire safety engineering
The new posts are designed enhance teaching in areas of fire safety engineering and fire investigation, such as how fires start and spread within buildings, and ultimately help fire investigators more accurately analyse a scene in the aftermath of a blaze.

The professors will seek to ensure support, mentoring, industry links and collaboration for staff, and to contribute to teaching and research within the School of Engineering's BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering. Both appointments will aid the creation and development of a postgraduate MSc degree in Fire Investigation.

Academic research
Professor Luke Bisby of the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering said: "Fire investigation will be an exciting new strand in the fire safety team's pioneering research and teaching portfolios, and builds on our strong international reputation. Today, the Centre is globally recognised and its graduates are in great demand in academia and consultancy."
Both appointments are named after Dr Frank Rushbrook, a former firemaster with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Services, and a long-term supporter of academic research and teaching in the field, particularly at Edinburgh. He was pivotal in creating the Department of Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 1973. Dr Hadden's appointment has been made possible by a £200,000 gift to the University from Dr Rushbrook.

Dr Lygate said: "The regulation of forensic science and Law Commission's report on the admissibility of expert evidence require that fire investigators base their findings in fire science that takes account of the latest research. The University of Edinburgh is uniquely placed to train fire investigators in the science and practice of fire investigation that meets the needs of the criminal justice system and insurance industry worldwide."