CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that West Virginia University (WVU) will receive $705,000 to purchase new equipment to update their forensic science laboratories, while the University of Charleston (UC) will receive $385,000 to enhance the quality of biomedical and chemical research opportunities. This funding was made available through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and are Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) requests by Senator Capito. In total, Senator Capito secured $241,135,000 in direct spending measures for initiatives and projects across West Virginia through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations omnibus package.

“Just last month, I met with leaders at WVU and UC about the capacities of our higher education intuitions in West Virginia and the potential they have to make major impacts. I’m proud to have secured this funding through the Congressionally Directed Spending process, which will give resources directly to WVU to support efforts to combat the opioid crisis, and to UC to strengthen research initiatives in their biology department. I am continually impressed by the work both of these institutions do, and will continue to use my role as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide the resources they need to make a difference in matters important to West Virginia,” Senator Capito said.

“I would like to thank Senator Capito for her continued support to combat drug abuse and violent crimes not only within our state, but also nationally. This requested CDS funding will enable the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science at West Virginia University to enhance current capacity through technology innovation, boost the technical skills of the forensic workforce and improve development of standards in forensic practice,” Dr. Casper Venter, Chair of the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science at WVU, said. “The project will also allow the modernization of fingerprint imaging methods, as well as a faster, safer and more cost-effective portable screening methods for drug and gunshot residue detections. Moreover, incorporating these novel analytical tools into current protocols will provide a streamlined decision-making process at the crime laboratory and on site. Through education and training with the broader forensic and law enforcement community, this will provide a leap of knowledge and increased reliability in drug, fingerprint and firearm investigations.”

“The University of Charleston is excited to enhance our biomedical and chemical instrumentation through the NIST grant award,” UC President Marty Roth said. “The new equipment will provide applied learning opportunities for many of our students.  It will also enhance the quality of biomedical and chemical research opportunities at the University of Charleston. The equipment will enable faculty and students to produce research suitable for presentation at scientific conferences and publication in journals.”

Individual awards listed below:

  • $705,000West Virginia University: Procurement of Technology and Equipment to Respond to Opioid and Violence Epidemics in WV
  • $385,000University of Charleston: Advanced Biomedical Instrumentation and Research Training

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