Criminalistics Section Membership Update – National Science Foundation


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Source: Karolyn L. Tontarski, MS, Workshop Co-Chair

As the attendees of the 2016 Criminalistics Section Business Meeting are aware, there wasn’t enough time to cover all of the desired section liaison updates. Because of this, throughout this coming year the section leadership will provide updates for groups that either were not able to present during the business meeting due to time constraints or those whose presentations were cut short for the same reason.

The first “business meeting extension” installment is courtesy of Dr. Rebecca J. Ferrell of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Many thanks to Dr. Ferrell for her understanding with respect to the need to present her report via the Academy News Feed. Dr. Ferrell’s report to the Criminalistics Membership for 2015-16 is as follows:

The NSF is an independent federal agency whose mission is to support basic and fundamental research in science and engineering. Dr. Kelsey Cook (Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate) and Dr. Ferrell (Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate) are leading NSF’s forensic science efforts and would like to report on two activities NSF supported during the past year.

  1. The NSF and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) jointly sponsored a Forensic Science Research Evaluation workshop, held at George Washington University in May, 2015, led by Dr. Edward G. Bartick. The workshop included participants from a range of forensic science subdisciplines. Presentations and discussions addressed ways to improve research design, reporting of research results, and the peer review process in the forensic sciences. The workshop report is anticipated to be available soon through the NIJ’s website. A follow-up activity is planned to further develop and apply specific tools for evaluating the scientific literature and formulating research designs.
  2. The NSF, with co-funding from the NIJ, has now supported a total of eight planning grants, with the goal of launching a Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science. A full proposal for a multi-site Center is anticipated in 2016. The Center would be an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC), which is a long-standing NSF program designed to build research collaborations between academic researchers and industry/agency partners. I/UCRC research sites are supported with a combination of NSF (and in this case NIJ) funding and membership funds from industry/agency partners. These partners play an active role in the direction of the research undertaken across a Center. The I/UCRC model is flexible, allowing for the addition of research sites to expand an existing center.

Keep your eyes open for the next business meeting extension installment on the Academy News Feed next month.