RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International and its partners were awarded a grant from the National Institute of Justice to form a new Forensic Science Technology Center of Excellence.

As part of the $6 million grant, RTI and its partners will increase the capabilities of state and local criminal justice agencies to effectively and professionally serve the public in matters involving forensic science technology.

The center will provide testing, evaluation, technology assistance and other services with regard to technologies intended for use by crime laboratories, forensic service providers, law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies to combat crime. The center will be a part of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System.

"Forensic science is a critical and rapidly growing field in the United States and abroad," said Michael Baylor, Ph.D., co-director of RTI's Center for Forensic Sciences, who will lead the new center. "As forensic science evolves, we greatly enhance the ability to successfully apprehend and convict criminal offenders. We're proud to be leading this new center, helping to increase efficiencies and performance of crime laboratory and law enforcement personnel."

RTI's partners include the UNT Health Science Center, Duquesne University Center for Forensic Science and Law, and Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Forensic Science.

RTI and its partners will identify technology needs and evaluate technologies and forensic processes, provide effective in-person technology-transition workshop content that will be accessible to individuals online, and improve dissemination and support mechanisms to help effectively transition forensic technologies into the field.

The center will also leverage the experience and infrastructure associated with RTI's existing web-based training program as a foundation for training and outreach in the United States.

RTI International has conducted research on forensic science, violence, and justice systems for more than 30 years. The work has spanned numerous forensic science research areas including technology transfer, assessment of new technologies, evaluation of forensic operations and reporting systems, data collection and analysis, workplace drug testing, proficiency testing, postmortem forensic toxicology, and drug testing in various biological matrices such as urine, hair and oral fluids.