The National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) is a research center at the University of Central Florida with an 18 year history of research and partnership with the forensic science community. Over the past few years NCFS has lost several faculty and staff members and undergone a change in Director. In 2013, NCFS undertook the process of rebuilding with the goals of increasing the number of faculty, expanding the research funding portfolio and building new partnerships, both within UCF and with the forensic community. Several initiatives underway at NCFS include, appointment of new Faculty Secondary Joint Appointments, development of an International Database of Ignitable Liquids and the development of new research programs.
NCFS was formed in support of an industrial need as expressed in the results of a 1994 survey of UCF Forensic Science graduates working in crime laboratories. The survey identified a need for more research and training in the areas of fire and explosion debris analysis. The survey results came to the attention of Representative Bill McCollum, Florida’s 8th Congressional District, and with his support, NCFS was established in 1997. In 1998 and 1999 the Florida Board of Regents provided planning funds and the University of Central Florida Center for Forensic Science was established on April 12, 2001 as a State of Florida Type II Research Center. There are two other forensic-focused Type II Research Centers in Florida, the W.R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at the University of Florida, and the International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) at Florida International University.
Professor Bill McGee established NCFS and served as the first Director. Ms. Carrie Whitcomb served as the second Director from 2000-2012. Professor Jack Ballantyne served as interim Director from 2012-2013 and Professor Michael Sigman was appointed Director in 2013.
The NCFS has focused on research in the areas of Physical Evidence (ignitable liquids, explosives, etc.), Biological Evidence (DNA, RNA, body fluids, etc.) and Digital Evidence (recovery of digital evidence, digital tools validation, etc.). Since the retirement of Director Whitcomb in 2012, NCFS retains a strong focus on research in the areas Physical Evidence and Biological Evidence. The Center’s faculty were the recipients of three newly awarded grants from the National Institute of Justice in 2013.