NIST Establishing Forensics Excellence Center

The center will focus on improving the statistical foundation for fingerprint, firearm, toolmark, dental, and other pattern evidence analyses, and for computer, video, audio, and other digital evidence analyses.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced it has awarded Iowa State University up to $20 million over five years to establish a Forensic Science Center of Excellence focused on pattern and digital evidence. The announcement was made May 25 during the 46th Annual Training Seminar of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners in Dallas.

The center is a partnership that includes Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Virginia, and the University of California, Irvine. Research conducted there will focus on improving the statistical foundation for fingerprint, firearm, toolmark, dental, and other pattern evidence analyses, and for computer, video, audio, and other digital evidence analyses.

"The creation of the Forensic Science Center of Excellence marks a significant milestone in the national effort to establish more rigorous, science-based standards and practices for forensic evidence analysis," said NIST Director Willie E. May, who is under secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. "The work of the center will help reduce measurement errors and increase confidence in the results achieved with improved statistical tools and methods."

According to NIST's announcement, the center also will develop and implement a training program to help judges, lawyers, and forensic science investigators decipher the results of statistical analyses on pattern and digital evidence.

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