U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced that funds he added to federal appropriations legislation are on the way to Morgantown for West Virginia University (WVU)’s Forensic Science Initiative.

“WVU’s forensic science programs are leading the way in national forensic research, education, training, and academic curriculum development. The Forensic Science Initiative is answering the call for cutting-edge forensic technology and highly-trained forensic specialists. The university’s efforts are helping to convict criminals and make America safer,”Byrd said.

Byrd added the $4 million for WVU ’s Forensic Science Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2005 Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill. Those funds were released by the Department of Justice this week.

The initiative supports forensic science research and professional training, including WVU ’s first-of-its-kind specialized undergraduate degree program; develops new methods for collecting and examining evidence; and provides resources to improve forensic science in crime labs across the nation.

“Through Senator Byrd’s continuing support, the WVU Forensic Science Initiative has grown to not only be one of the largest research programs here at WVU , but also to play a critical role in the protection of our local and national security. The three crime scene houses, as well as the development of nine interdisciplinary research projects, create a unique educational environment at WVU for the study of the forensic sciences. We look forward to the continued expansion of the FSI ,”President Hardesty stated.

Benefitting from the Forensic Science Initiative, WVU ’s forensic degree program is the fastest growing undergraduate curriculum at the university and is attracting students from throughout the nation.

“A growing number of students are eager to pursue careers in the forensic field, and practicing forensic specialists continuously need to update their skills. With my support, WVU ’s forensic degree program educates hundreds of students each year, and the Forensic Science Initiative is developing new ways to combat crime and expand the capabilities of state and local forensic labs throughout the nation,”Byrd said.