Forensic science department receives grant from national justice organization

Michael Pasco
Contributing Writer

VCU’s department of forensic science has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice.

VCU, along with partners RTI International, Duquesne University’s Center for Forensic Science and Law and the University of North Texas Health Science Center Department of Forensic Investigative Genetics and Center for Human Identification, is on the track to becoming a new Center of Excellence for Forensic Science Technology Transfer.

The general purpose of this award is to allow VCU and its partners to identify, test and evaluate emerging technology in the field of forensic science through independent research. This research will allow for the training support for criminal justice professionals to effectively use this technology.

Obtaining this title will allow VCU to become an authority in the use and creation of forensic science technologies. This is to help transition law enforcement technology from the laboratory to the field.

The specifics of how this money will be used are still to be decided. Representatives from the department of forensic science will be meeting with their partners and the Institution of Justice next week in order to formulate a plan of how to use this money. Whether the grant will be used to enhance the education of VCU students is still up in the air.

This grant rides on the coattails of another grant received by the department of forensic science. Two VCU students received a $6,900 grant from the National Institute of Justice and the Forensic Science Foundation for the purposes of research.

Undergraduate students Bailey Glasscock and Nicolle Hardell plan to use this grant to address methods for separating cellular material from superabsorbent polymer materials and evaluating the impact on DNA sequences.

VCU and its partners created and submitted the proposal for the grant in April and were notified of their awards last month. Between the four universities that received the grants, a total of $1 million dollars.

VCU’s department of forensic science was created in 1984 and is one of four programs in the country to be accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission for both its undergraduate and graduate programs.

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