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Last Friday the first ever online edition of the lecture series Frontiers of Forensic Science was organised on Zoom. The series is part of the Forensic Science Master’s programme but is open to all with an academic forensic interest. Everyone who had subscribed to the event received a link to the meeting and a password. This edition’s theme was: Meeting the NPS challenge in Illicit Drug Analysis. In total there were around 125 attendants during the entire event including experts from the NFI, police and customs. A nice turnout for a first online version!

After Arian van Asten (Programme director of the Master’s Forensic Science) welcomed the crowd and asked a few questions, that the audience could answer via a poll, it was time for the three guest lecturers to share their knowledge. The first guest speaker was Jorrit van den Berg, from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), speaking about New Psychoactive Substances – legal challenges and solutions in Europe. He was followed by Jennifer Bonetti from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. She gave a presentation about Chemometric EI-MS Differentiation of Positional Isomers for Drug Analysis. Last but not least, Ruben Kranenburg from the Dutch Police (Illicit Drug Analysis Laboratory Amsterdam), informed the audience about Infrared Ion Spectroscopy: An MS based approach for reference-free NPS drug isomer identification. After each of the presentations there was a moment to “unmute for applause!”, or in other words to make some noise in appreciation of the speakers.

Afterwards, there were three parallel Zoom sessions organised, each one with a different guest speaker, so interaction between the speakers and the audience was possible and encouraged. There was room for an informal chat, a scientific discussion and a social drink. Our American guest had to proceed with her workday on the other side of the ocean, while for the audience in Europe it was time to start celebrating their weekend. We are happy the online event was a big success! We look forward to the next edition in the fall.