The CLHC represents a dynamic and diverse forensic network in the Netherlands connecting science domains, forensic expertise areas and academic scholars and experts from the criminal justice system including legal professions. The centre officially started September 13th, 2013 when the founding partners, the Faculty of Science of the UvA (FNWI), the Amsterdam Medical Center (now Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location AMC) and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) signed the agreement. In the years that followed the number of partners readily increased and the CLHC now also includes the VU University Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), the Engineering Faculty of Delft University (3mE) and Avans University of Applied Sciences Breda.
The centre aims to develop forensic science and education in the Netherlands through national and international collaboration. At the interface of academia and forensic practice, innovations and insights emerge and new projects are established. Interdisciplinary initiatives emerge from the CLHC network as academic scholars from several science areas meet and discuss their ideas. The unique 2-year master programme in forensic science of the UvA is supported by the centre as CLHC coordinators, professors in forensic science and associated institutes provide dedicated courses and offer forensic topics to the students for literature assignments and research projects. More information on forensic science and education can be found in separate sections of this website.
The CLHC is a network organization with minimal overhead. The centre stimulates forensic science but individual projects are hosted and conducted at its partner institutes. Therefore, the centre does not have dedicated personnel nor laboratory infrastructure and can therefore be operated at a very modest annual budget. The CLHC is housed within the van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) of UvA’s Faculty of Science at Amsterdam Science Park. Primary responsibility for the centre sits with the CLHC Board consisting of two professors representing the Faculty of Science and the Amsterdam University Medical Centers (AUMC).
The Board is supported by a the so-called CLHC Bureau with two representatives of these faculties. The CLHC Board meets twice a year with the CLHC Steering Group consisting of representatives of all primary institute partners. The primary partners of the centre provide an annual financial contribution that makes up the yearly budget for the forensic network activities. The CLHC Steering Group is chaired by two professors representing the institutes of the CLHC Board members. The annual plans and budgets of the Board need to be agreed and ratified by the Steering Group. The CLHC Steering Group also provides advise on the direction of the centre and defines actions and goals based on annual reports and the evaluation conducted by the Board every 3 years. The CLHC Board maintains a direct link with the associated partners through the CLHC Coordinators. These representatives are directly involved in the forensic scientific and educational activities of the associated institutes. They form a vital ‘forensic link’ to the institutes making sure that new developments and initiatives are communicated from the centre to the institutes and vice versa. The CLHC Coordinators are also informed by the Board on forensic initiatives and opportunities outside their traditional scope thus providing new (funding) options for forensic projects and collaborations. The CLHC Coordinators meet annually with the Board but are continuously informed on new developments. The Coordinators thus form the critical forensic scientific ‘lifeline’ within the CLHC.