Centre of Applied Research Technology

Forensic Science

From DNA testing to chemical analysis: modern techniques enable examination, in minute detail, of crime-scene materials. However, success and fairness depend on correct interpretation and evaluation. The Forensic Science research group, at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), is making an important contribution via its work with the police and other parties in the criminal justice chain.

Reconstructing crimes is a complex process. Thanks to modern techniques for the detection and analysis of, for example, DNA and chemical substances, even the smallest traces might qualify as evidence and, increasingly, they can be examined at the crime scene itself. Forensic intelligence is also on the rise: technology that links data from different, apparently unrelated, sources to analyse and even predict crimes. For example, the presence of certain substances in drug samples can provide clues about their production and distribution.

The abundance of information at our disposal today, however, can make it difficult to identify what is or is not useful data. For instance, how do you distinguish DNA traces caused by a crime from DNA traces originating from everyday life? And is there enough DNA at a crime scene from which to infer anything about what actually happened? Added to this is the human factor: our observations and their interpretation are unconsciously influenced by our expectations.

Efficient operations

The Forensic Science research group investigates how to use modern techniques in the investigation and reconstruction of crimes. The research group takes a multidisciplinary approach, interfacing natural, behavioural and legal research. Knowledge generated will enable parties in the criminal justice chain to operate more efficiently: better, faster, with reduced costs. An important benefit is the elimination of errors, leading to and supporting fairer outcomes for crime suspects under investigation.

Solid knowledge base

The research group’s staff are creating a solid scientific foundation for forensic research. They are also contributing to better information sharing throughout the criminal justice chain. “With the knowledge we can gather, parties in the criminal justice chain can reconstruct crimes faster and with greater accuracy”, says Christianne de Poot.

The professor

Christianne de Poot has been Professor of Forensic Research at the AUAS and the Police Academy since 2010. In 1996, she earned her PhD at the Free University of Amsterdam through her research into the use of leading questions during interrogation. De Poot is also Professor of Criminology at the Free University Amsterdam and a member of the Board of the Dutch Register of Judicial Experts.


Insights from the research inform various courses within Forensic Science at the AUAS, Forensic Investigation at the Police Academy, Forensic Science at the University of Amsterdam and Investigative Criminology at the Free University Amsterdam. Furthermore, it is reflected in the Minors From Bits to Evidence and Forensic Research Skills. One example is the Continuous Learning Path, Scenario Thinking, which teaches students to think broadly, reconstructively and creatively when investigating crime. The research group also provides education for various groups of professionals in the criminal justice chain.

Students are involved in research, through graduation internships and final assignments. Collaboration takes place particularly in the third and fourth years of the program, in the so-called graduation labs, where students graduate in clusters around specific research questions.


The Forensic Science research group addresses the entire criminal justice chain – police in the lab and on the street, the Public Prosecution Service, and Magistrates. The Netherlands Forensic Institute, the Police Academy and other knowledge institutions are key partners. The research group is part of the Co van Ledden Hulsebosch Center (CLHC) . The CLHC is an interdisciplinary center of expertise for forensic and medical-scientific research in Amsterdam.

Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 23 November 2023

  prof. dr. C.J. de Poot (Christianne)

Professor of Forensic Science

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