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Director's Message: Australians and NIJ to Collaborate on Forensics

Date

Dr. John H. Laub, Director

Recently, I traveled to the Australian Embassy here in D.C. to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Australia-New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA). The agreement provides for more than just knowledge-sharing on how the forensic sciences are used in criminal justice. It also establishes a framework for criminal justice forensic communities in the U.S. and Australia to collaborate in performing new research and development — and in evaluating and using new forensic technologies. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) makes clear that this is not a joint venture, per se, but rather an agreement to determine and leverage areas of mutual interest.

The spectrum of areas in which NIJ and ANZPAA may collaborate is wide and could include:

  • Technology
  • Training
  • Standards development
  • Information management and exchange
  • Quality assurance and quality control systems
  • Social science research in forensic sciences

I shared the signing pen with ANZPAA's Director of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences, Alastair Ross, who also presented NIJ with a lovely framed certificate, commemorating the occasion. Later that afternoon, NIJ's forensics R & D team met with Mr. Ross and identified mutual areas of interest in ongoing R & D work, including micro-fluidics, statistics and cognitive bias in fingerprint identification.

This is NIJ's second international partnership on the forensic sciences. In November, I signed an MOU with the Netherlands. I continue to be a believer in the multiplying force of such partnerships to spark scientific synergy and creativity.