AMES LABORATORY MIDWEST FORENSICS RESOURCE CENTER RECEIVES $3 MILLION IN FUNDING

For release: May 29, 2008

Contacts: 
David Baldwin, MFRC, 515-294-2069
Steve Karsjen, Public Affairs, 515-294-5643

AMES LABORATORY MIDWEST FORENSICS RESOURCE CENTER RECEIVES $3 MILLION IN FUNDING

AMES, Iowa – The Midwest Forensics Resource Center, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University’s Institute for Physical Research and Technology, will receive approximately $3 million in 2008 from the National Institute of Justice. 

According to U.S. Rep. Tom Latham who announced the award, the money will be used to work on cutting-edge developments in analysis and evaluation techniques in forensics.  The money for the MFRC is part of an overall $8.23 million federal appropriation for projects at Iowa State University.

“The Midwest Forensics Resource Center continues to demonstrate its importance in cutting-edge developments in forensic analysis and evaluation," said Congressman Latham. "It is because of its demonstrated leadership that I am proud to secure funds for the center.”

The MFRC has been in existence since 2002.  Thirteen states across the Midwest make up the membership of the MFRC, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Iowa.

The MFRC’s mission is to identify and provide access to university and laboratory resources for use in casework, serve as a regional focal point for the production and provision of innovative training, provide a collaborative network for Midwestern forensic science educators, conduct advanced research and development, or R&D, in forensic science, and advance innovative technology and management practices in crime laboratories.

According to David Baldwin, MFRC director, the center has had many accomplishments in its short time in existence, both in training and research.  “We’ve provided dozens of training courses to hundreds of forensic analysts and examiners,” said Baldwin.  “We’ve also funded approximately 50 R&D science projects, which have either gone on to become even larger R&D projects or have solved problems for crime laboratories.” 

Although the National Institute of Justice funds will be available in 2008, Baldwin said the money can be spent over the next few years.  During that period, Baldwin said the MFRC will continue to focus its efforts on funding R&D projects in forensic science.  “We are the only program outside the NIJ that the NIJ funds to run an R&D program,” said Baldwin.  “This is due to our efforts to use external peer reviewers to make sure we’re running a solid program.”

In addition to research, the MFRC will continue its training efforts.  Some key topical areas in training include drug analysis, fiber and hair analysis, bloodstain pattern analysis and toxicology.  “We have a close relationship with people in the field and know in what areas they’re asking for professional assistance,” said Baldwin.  “We’re proud of the program we’ve put together by focusing on the needs of the crime labs.”

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University. The Lab conducts research into various areas of national concern, including the synthesis and study of new materials, energy resources, high-speed computer design, and environmental cleanup and restoration .

The Institute for Physical Research and Technology is a network of scientific research centers at Iowa State University.  IPRT Company Assistance assists Iowa companies with product development, process improvement and technical problem solving, promoting industry/university collaborations and encouraging economic development in Iowa.

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