Director's Corner: NIJ and the Dutch Agree to Work Together to Improve the Use of Forensic Sciences

Dr. John H. Laub, Director

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and the Netherlands took place at the residence of the Dutch Ambassador, Renee Jones-Bos. In this photo: Danielle Weiss, forensic scientist, NIJ; Tjark Tjin-a-Tsoi, CEO, Netherlands Forensic Institute; Dr. John H. Laub, Director, NIJ; Dr. Louis B.J. Vertegaal, Director of Chemical and Physical Sciences Division at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Recently, I was able to turn words into deeds: Since I came to NIJ, I have argued that partnerships are crucial for the advancement of science.

On November 15, 2011, NIJ formally launched a new partnership with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Netherlands Forensics Institute. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our two countries at the Dutch Ambassador's residence in Washington, DC. This groundbreaking partnership will allow us to learn from each other and share specialized skills and technology as we work to improve the use of forensic sciences in our respective criminal justice systems.

After the MOU signing, my Dutch counterparts and I were eager to get started. Our staffs met the following day to further hone collaborative opportunities and identify goals and milestones. We decided that our first project will be a workshop this coming spring to examine research development, evaluation, and operational use of forensic science technologies. Topics might include, for example, training, policy and program evaluation, strategic planning and resource management, technology performance standards, digital and eForensics, forensic radiology, capacity building, and international forensic standards development.

Partnerships are a multiplying force; they spark synergy and creativity; and they strengthen all the parties involved. As we look for strategic opportunities in times of fiscal austerity, partnerships — such as this one with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Netherlands Forensics Institute — will certainly be at the top our list.

Date Created: December 1, 2011