In recent decades, a rapid transition from fundamental discoveries to forensic method development has improved the quality of evidence in many types of forensic investigations. However, there has also been a call, at the national level, for forensic disciplines to address their scientific limitations and expand fundamental research that can underpin and improve existing and developing forensic applications. Investigators at Florida International University (FIU) and the University of South Alabama (USA), along with affiliated collaborators at Northeastern University (NE), George Washington University (GWU), Texas A&M University (TAMU), and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), will address aspects of this broad challenge through the formation of the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS). This Industry University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) will serve as a platform for innovative and, in many cases, interdisciplinary forensic science research activities at the interface of academia, government, and industry. CARFS will initially include digital forensics/data analytics (USA), forensic chemistry (FIU/NE/GWU), forensic molecular biology (FIU/GWU), and forensic microbiology (TAMU/UNT), with the possibility of future expansion to include other forensic disciplines. The Center is anticipated to provide new findings and tools to a range of stakeholders, including forensic science practitioners, research laboratories, industrial partners, and government and private forensic science end users, and will ultimately support safety and justice for the nation. The Center's research sites will also provide training opportunities to a diverse group of students, thus supporting the pipeline of future forensic researchers.As part of CARFS, the FIU site, including affiliates at GWU and NE, will focus on forensic chemistry and molecular biology, with additional interests in computer science and psychology. At FIU, research will focus on topics including epigenetic markers for age estimation and trace forensic body fluid identification, rapid and portable tools for the organic and inorganic characterization of materials, and explosives detection techniques. FIU will collaborate with GWU and NE on topics including rapid DNA profiling and mass spectroscopic characterization of designer drugs. Fundamental research in molecular biology, separation science and mass spectrometric detection at these institutions will address scientific challenges in forensics as well as in other areas such as drug discovery/development, homeland security, and the fuel industry. Across the six institutions involved in CARFS there is also potential for innovative projects that span and integrate digital and laboratory sciences. This grant is jointly supported by NSF (Division of Chemistry, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate; and Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate) and the National Institute of Justice (Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences).