The MFRC administers an applied Research & Development program to support the practical needs for improvements in current practice, as well as next generation methods that will change the nature of forensic science.
Administering the Program
- Periodic calls for proposals are issued by the MFRC to our partners and participants.
- Proposals are accepted from Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, and government-funded crime laboratories in the states of Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Proposals will also be accepted from other institutions within this region if accompanied by a letter of support and intent from one of the above organizations and includes a significant degree of participation in the form of collaboration, oversight, or periodic consultation by crime laboratory personnel from one or more of these organizations.
- The MFRC R&D Advisory Group reviews the submitted proposals to guarantee that the projects selected for funding by the MFRC are grounded in science and technology areas that will impact the forensic science community.
The MFRC requires collaborations with crime laboratories, both to ensure that research problems emerge from forensic science practice and to increase the likelihood that successful projects will be implemented.
- Forensic science topics, from bench-level analytical procedures and tools to statistical studies of error rates in analyses, are included in the R&D program.
- Projects in the past have included research on topics such as chemistry, digital evidence, patterned evidence, and DNA analysis.
- Types of Chemistry-related projects from the past have included: the analysis of automotive clear coat paints, the application of chemometric procedures, and the determination of heavy metals in whole blood using mass spectrometry.
- Projects in Digital Evidence analysis have included the development of tools for steganalysis and methods for imaging patterns on magnetic tapes.
- The application of a crystal orientation method to forensic physical matching of metal surfaces along fracture lines, high-speed digital video analysis of bloodstain patterns, and quantification of the individual characteristics of the human dentition are some of the projects that have been carried out involving patterned evidence.
- DNA research has consisted of testing DNA samples for population of origins.