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A symposium marked the opening of the Amsterdam Centre for Forensic Studies (ACFS) on Wednesday, 14 December 2011. This new centre brings together the knowledge and expertise of scientists from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) and the Faculty of Science (FNWI) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

A symposium marked the opening of the Amsterdam Centre for Forensic Studies (ACFS) on Wednesday, 14 December 2011. This new centre brings together the knowledge and expertise of scientists from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) and the Faculty of Science (FNWI) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

After the symposium, Dr Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi (director NFI), Professor Marcel Levi (dean AMC) and Prof. Bart Noordam (dean FNWI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. By signing this Memorandum, the NFI, AMC and FNWI entered into an agreement with regard to confidentiality and the sharing of information and databases. It also legally formalises the cooperation between the three parties by establishing programme coordinators and a steering committee.

The ‘ACFS R&D Matrix’

AFCS coordinator, Prof. Jan Wiegerinck, opened the symposium. In his speech, he explained how the Master’s programme in Forensic Science at the FNWI, which has existed since 2005, led to the inception of the AFCS. This two-year Master’s programme is focused on research and thus benefits from good and intensive cooperation with those working in ‘the field', such as the NFI and the AMC.

To help determine a joint research agenda, the NFI, AMC and FNWI jointly developed the ‘ACFS R&D Matrix’. In this matrix, forensic themes are connected to scientific knowledge and expertise. As a result, interdisciplinary teams will be created, leading to new research proposals. This ‘ACFS R&D Matrix’ was introduced during the symposium with explanations given by the two main driving forces behind it: Dr Arian van Asten (NFI) and Dr Maurice Aalders (AMC).