Jurian Hoogewerff

Associate Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Projects in Forensic Geochemistry, Taphonomy, Forensic Chemistry.

1992 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Hoogewerff studied geochemistry (M.Sc.) and volcanology (Ph.D.) at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands (1984-1993). The emphasis of his work was, and still is, using geochemical analysis to trace natural materials to their geographical origin.

During his PhD research he investigated the contribution of the Australian crust to volcanism in Eastern Indonesia.  In 1993 Dr Hoogewerff joined the Department of Health Sciences of University Maastricht to teach environmental sciences and develop tracers for the origin of pollutants from their source to environmental and biological targets including human tissues.  Dr Hoogewerff transferred to the Geotechnical Institute Arsenal Research in Vienna in 1996 where he continued his environmental exposure research, combining epidemiological data with newly created geochemical maps. Here he also started to apply his techniques for forensic casework and archaeological provenancing. His study on 5000 year old "Otzi" was the first isotope provenancing study on the Tyrolean Iceman.

With an EU grant in 1999 Dr Hoogewerff established the global analytical forensic network NITECRIME that included major national forensic research institutes like the NFI, BKA, US Customs and FBI. In 2006 NITECRIME almagated with the Forensic Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry network and Dr Hoogewerff was involved in its management until 2014. In 2000 Dr Hoogewerff moved to the Institute of Food Research in Norwich to manage their isotope facility for food forensics applications and human metabolism studies. Together with other colleagues he initiated the EU funded TRACE project (Euro20M) using the compositional links between soil and food for determining the geographical origin of food products to combat counterfeiting.

Dr Hoogewerff was Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia in Norwich UK from 2006 to 2011 and developed and managed their "Forensic and Investigative Chemistry" four-year MChem program. In September 2011 he relocated to Dunedin in New Zealand and first served one year as part-time Chief Scientist and Co-Director of Oritain Ltd. and then continued as Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Otago to expand their Forensic Analytical Science Program until December 2014.

In January 2015 Dr Hoogewerff moved to UC, initially to join the National Centre for Forensic Studies NCFS (Director 2019-2023) where he convened a number of on-campus and online units e.g. “Environmental and Forensic Geochemistry” and “Forensic Chemistry” and was the course convener of the Online Forensic Science MSc until the NCFS closed down in 2023.

Currently Dr Hoogewerff is the deputy lead of the System Ecology Capability in the Faculty of Science and Technology, and responsible for the forensic and environmental geochemistry research and a well-equipped analytical laboratory. Dr Hoogewerff convenes 2nd year’s Environmental Tools and Technologies field-based unit and the lab-based 3rd year Chemical Applications unit, focussing on field sampling, analysis and mapping of environmental pollutants like heavy metals, nutrients and microplastics.

Current main research focus and funding is on developing new methods to analyse microplastic in water and sediments, to support “forensic” mapping of microplastic distribution and sources in the Canberra region, to assist policymakers with spatial data to reduce plastic inputs in the environment.

An additional recent research interest is the acoustic monitoring of flies and general insect activity in nature reserves and waterways, based on the experience gathered from a PhD project on monitoring fly activity and succession on human remains for Time of Death estimation, using ample recording and machine learning data analysis.

Dr. Hoogewerff is actively engaged in forensic casework and contributed to 70+ scientific papers and over 80 conference presentations including many invited keynotes, and currently has a Scopus h-index of 41 (June24).

Current research interests

  • Creation of geochemical maps for environmental and forensic applications.
  • Analysis of micro-plastics in soil, water and animal tissues.
  • Ecoacoustics and machine learning.

Students with a good degree in geochemistry or environmental science, confident in maths and stats, and interested in Honours', Master's or PhD projects related to any of the topics above can contact Dr Hoogewerff by email.

Recent media highlights:

BBC Online: Isdal Woman Case

ABC Radio RN Drive: Isdal Woman Case 

Publication of Urban ACT geochemical map

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Isotope and trace element systematics of Eastern Indonesian Volcanoes, Utrecht University

Award Date: 24 Sept 1999

Master, • Petrologie, Geochemie en gasholten van de puimsteen van Yali, Griekenland, Utrecht University

Award Date: 1 Jul 1989

External positions

Vice-president ANZFSS ACT Branch, ANZFFS



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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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