NFI and the University of Lausanne exploring collaboration

Scientists from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and from the University of Lausanne will meet this Tuesday and Wednesday to explore potential fields for mutual cooperation.

The NFI is organizing the ‘Beyond the Source’ mini-symposium, in which the institute will present the innovations they are working on with regard to the questions when and how traces were left behind at a crime scene.

The Lausanne delegation visiting the NFI is led by Professor Christophe Champod. “The department of forensic science of the University of Lausanne is leading in the field of forensic science, and Professor Champod is one of the most prominent forensic scientists of our time”, says NFI scientist Reinoud Stoel, the organizer of the symposium.

Beyond the Source

The name of the mini-symposium – Beyond the Source – parallels the name of one of the NFI’s seven innovation programmes. “Within this programme, we develop methods and techniques – in close collaboration with the police and the public prosecution service –that provide information on when and how traces were left behind at a crime scene”, Stoel explains.

These methods can help the criminal justice system in crime reconstruction. “They help us answer questions as to where, when and how something happened, and thus provide information beyond the source – either a person or an object – of a specific trace.”


During the two-day symposium, NFI scientists in the various fields present the innovations they are working on within the ‘Beyond the Source’ innovation programme. “We have reserved plenty of time to discuss matters and to explore ways in which we can complement each other. Professor Champod and his colleagues have made a significant contribution towards the development of criminalistics as it stands today. The combination of their know-how and experience with the NFI’s know-how obtained through forensic casework is highly promising.”

Scientists and students from Lausanne may “be able to help us with the scientific research and experiments that are necessary for the new forensic methods”.


To give an example, it is sometimes relevant to know how many traces – such as fibres from clothing – are transferred by different forms of contact between a victim and a suspect, ranging from a pat on the back to a struggle. “Scientific research and experiments can provide this kind of information. And such information can subsequently contribute towards the scientific underpinning? of conclusions concerning the question of whether a suspect only gave the victim a pat on the back or whether a serious struggle took place.”