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About Us

CSAFE, a nationally recognized center including 4 universities, over 60 researches, research institutes, and national practitioners, is coordinated by Iowa State University. Funded by NIST, our interdisciplinary team works on building a statistically sound and scientifically solid foundation for interpretation of pattern evidence (including fingerprints and bullet marks) and digital evidence (including data from cell phones and computers). Additionally, the center provides education and training in these new methods, and transfers the new tools to forensic practitioners and other stakeholders.

To address this issue, CSAFE 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.  Read more about


December 1, 2016

CSAFE researchers were invited to participate in the Forensics@NIST2016 event which takes place every two years. This event was held on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland and about half of the program highlighted on-going research at CSAFE. A full recording of the event can be found here

November 9, 2016

A new 3D microscope will help CSAFE to develop objective measures and standards that can be used to evaluate ballistic forensic evidence. The importance of this work was underscored in the 2016 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, which called a CSAFE study “the first appropriately designed black-box study of firearms.”

October 20, 2016

Alicia Carriquiry Alicia Carriquiry, CSAFE Director and Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of statistics, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

September 2, 2016

Shelby KhandasammyThis summer, Shelby Khandasammy from the University of Central Florida spent 10 weeks, participating in the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) Program at the Ames Laboratory – US Department of Energy on the campus of Iowa State University.  Both undergraduate and graduate students from around the country are part of this program every year, working with faculty mentors.  This

May 20, 2016

cover page of statistical thinking presentationCSAFE staff visited the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office crime lab in early March along with students and faculty from our partners at Eastern New Mexico University, Albany State University and Fayetteville State University.  After  a day of laboratory tours, the CSAFE staff presented a minicourse (pdf) on Statistical Thinking for Forensic Practitioners to the staff of the Laboratory, guests from crime labs around the state of Florida and our university partners.

Recent Reports

New PCAST report calls for stronger scientific standards related to forensic science

The President’s, Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a crucial new report which calls for stronger scientific standards in the field of forensic science. The PCAST report on Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods provides recommendations on actions to strengthen the scientific underpinnings of the forensic disciplines and steps to promote the use of these disciplines. More information found here