Texas A&M is collaborating with center-lead Florida International University and Sam Houston State University within the nation’s only forensic science Industry-University Cooperative Research Center. CARFS brings together top academic forensic science researchers to develop solutions to industry partners’ top needs.
CARFS Phase II represents a five-year $4.25 million investment by the National Science Foundation.
Aaron Tarone, Ph.D., CARFS associate director and Texas A&M site director as well as professor in the Department of Entomology at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the designation will increase the collaborative opportunities for the university’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences program to meet the center’s mission.
“The Industry-University Cooperative Research Center model is distinct and meets a basic national need for research in forensic science,” Tarone said. “Phase II creates incredible potential for more collaboration across the Texas A&M campus and with our partnering institutions. Everyone involved in the center is excited about the opportunity to tackle initiatives related to the forensic sciences and to improve the forensic fields through innovative research.”
CARFS to accelerate and support national forensic science priorities
CARFS focuses its research efforts on prioritized submissions addressing top research needs submitted via Industry Advisory Board members. In total, CARFS has 14 Industry Advisory Board members including representatives from the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Members review proposals from CARFS universities and affiliated researchers and vote on which are funded. The research funds stem via a combination of support from members of the Industry Advisory Board as well as from the National Science Foundation’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Center base award.
Research within CARFS is focused on a wide range of forensic disciplines, including behavioral sciences, cyber and digital forensics, forensic anthropology, chemistry, engineering, molecular biology and statistics as well as legal psychology.
During CARFS Phase I, 20 industrial partners collaborated and supported more than 40 faculty and 75 students. These individuals were involved in 65 different projects, culminating in hundreds of conference papers, more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and six patents.
“Each university truly brings unique strengths to this partnership,” said Kenneth Furton, CARFS director and executive director of the Global Forensic and Justice Center at Florida International University. “It’s called a cooperative research center for a reason – and it’s because, in the end, we’re all working toward a common goal of strengthening justice through forensic science.”
The first projects will be awarded this spring.