The Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS) will be based at Iowa State University as the lead institution. The mission of the proposed Center is to provide a multidisciplinary forum for advancing research and innovation in forensic sciences, enhancing education in relevant scientific disciplines, and improving the interpretation and ethical communication of forensic practitioner findings. CARFS will address the human, analytical, and statistical foundations of forensic science evaluations, including topics such as human observer biases and the interpretation of evidence, assessment and innovation in forensic analysis to include computational and technological innovations, and statistical sampling and measurement approaches for improving the validity of inferences drawn from forensic evaluations.
The proposed multidisciplinary Center will offer important opportunities for training new scientists and provide environment for cross-disciplinary engagement. Coordination with Iowa State University's Science Bound Program will facilitate important research and mentorship experiences for underrepresented high school and undergraduate students. The CARFS research team is distributed across key disciplines in science, social science, education, engineering, and statistics, with interests that will directly contribute to forensic practice in a number of important disciplines including toxicology, firearms and toolmarks, questioned documents, trace evidence, controlled substances, biological screening, fracture patterns, impression evidence, and bloodstain pattern analysis. The Midwest Forensics Resource Center at Iowa State University will also provide support to this I/UCRC effort by enabling scientist-practitioner collaborations and ensuring important opportunities for the dissemination of findings through an established network of practitioners.