A West Virginia University faculty member was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research in biometric systems.

Arun Ross, an assistant professor in WVU s Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, received the NSF s Faculty Early Career Development Program Award (CAREER). The grant will be used for biometrics research over a five-year period.

The CAREER Program is the NSF s most prestigious award in support of the early career development activities of junior faculty who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.

Biometrics is the science of establishing human identity based on physical or behavioral traits. WVU has the only undergraduate degree program in biometric systems in the nation.

Despite the successful deployment of biometric systems in several applications, a number of fundamental issues in biometrics are yet to be addressed in a comprehensive fashion,said Ross.Our objective is to develop methods to overcome the limitations of existing biometric systems, thereby advancing the state of the art.

We expect this research to have a positive impact on the design and development of large-scale multibiometric systems for identity recognition management. In addition, this research will enhance the current biometrics curricula, engage students in cutting-edge research and promote the use of biometric technology in diverse applications.

Ross is one of the key faculty members conducting research for the WVU Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), an industry/university cooperative research center that provides a method to leverage research conducted in academia into industry. Along with CITeR founding director Larry Hornak, Ross also has been instrumental in establishing the Multibiometric Data Collection Laboratory at WVU .

Dr. Ross is only in his fourth year on our faculty,said Gene Cilento, dean of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.But he is increasingly becoming recognized as one of the leading experts in his field. We are extremely fortunate to have him at WVU .

In 2005, Ross and his colleagues won a Major Research Instrumentation Program grant from the NSF that has enabled the department to obtain state-of-the-art biometric sensors for research and education. Additionally, Ross co-authored theHandbook of Multibiometrics,a comprehensive volume on multibiometric systems, published by Springer in 2006.