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Dr M. Sjerps has been named professor by special appointment of Forensic Statistics at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science (FNWI).

Marjan Sjerps

Dr M. Sjerps (1965) has been named professor by special appointment of Forensic Statistics at the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Faculty of Science (FNWI). The chair was established by the Criminalistics Chair Foundation (Stichting Leerstoel Criminalistiek) and is part of the FNWI's Korteweg de Vries Institute for Mathematics.

Marjan Sjerps studies statistics and probability theory, applied to forensic science and criminal law. This field is called ‘forensic statistics' and is concerned with the interpretation of forensic evidence. A main topic is the derivation of evidential force, which is expressed as a ratio of two probabilities. In her line of research, the key questions are: how can (forensic) researchers determine the evidential force of their observations? How can they report this to the police or the court? What is the evidential force of a combination of several pieces of evidence?

In forensic statistics, mathematical models are used to examine these questions. The result is a mixture of new applications for statistical techniques and the development of new theories, as well as fundamental research. The latter involves questions about the essence of statistical evidence and dealing with probability in the courtroom.

Sjerps combines her professorial duties with her work as a statistician for the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague. This offers significant added value to education as well as the NFI. A firm academic foundation is crucial to forensic research and casework.

Sjerps studied mathematics at Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (currently called Radboud University Nijmegen) and graduated in statistics and operations research. She has been employed as a statistician for the NFI since 1993. Sjerps advises forensic scientists on statistical issues, occasionally serves as an expert in court cases and conducts research in the field of forensic statistics. Sjerps obtained her doctorate from Leiden University in 1994 based on a dissertation in the field of theoretical biology. Sjerps is a member and co-founder of the European Forensic Statistics Research Group.