The recently-formed Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE)—co-led by Dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and Professor of Statistics Hal Stern—has landed on a White House Impact Report that features 100 examples of President Obama’s leadership in science, technology and innovation during his presidency.
Funded by a five-year $20 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), CSAFE is a consortium of four universities—UC Irvine, Iowa State University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Virginia. It “marshals the breadth and strength of the statistical community in the U.S. and abroad to collaborate with forensic and statistical scientists at NIST, the FBI, and state and local crime labs to ensure the quantification of uncertainty associated with various pattern and digital evidence analyses,” according to the consortium’s website. CSAFE aims to improve criminal evidence analysis and reduce wrongful convictions nationwide.
“Following publication of a 2009 National Academy of Sciences report questioning the adequacy of the scientific underpinnings of a number of forensic-science disciplines, the Administration created the National Commission on Forensic Science to help address the issue, launched a Center of Excellence in Forensic Science funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to strengthen the statistical foundation for pattern and digital evidence, and explored ways to strengthen the medico-legal death investigation system,” the White House Impact report says of CSAFE and its related efforts.
Headquartered at Iowa State University, CSAFE has focused on developing innovative, statistically sound, and robust methods for digital and pattern forensic evidence since its founding in 2015.