George Mason University has been selected by the Department of Homeland Security to lead a consortium of universities and law enforcement agencies to investigate patterns of criminal activities and forensics, and develop strategies to predict and disrupt transnational crime.
The 10-year, multimillion-dollar grant is among the largest research awards the university has received, with $3.85 million committed for its first year of operation.
“Mason, as a top-tier research university, has demonstrated a culture of excellence across the different disciplines required for this high-impact center.” noted Peggy Agouris, College of Science Dean. “Our innovative research and programs in geospatial, forensics and computational social science continually push boundaries in these important, emerging fields.”
Anthony Stefanidis, Chair of the Geography and Geoinformation Science Department in the College of Science will serve as the Principal Investigator and director of this DHS Center of Excellence in Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis. “We took a fresh new approach to this difficult problem and are honored to receive this highly competitive opportunity,” Stefanidis explained. “Mason has established our expertise as a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Center of Excellence and our team of computational social scientists tap innovative methodologies to bring cyber into the physical science world.”
The leadership team of this multidisciplinary effort will also include professor Mary Ellen O’Toole, director of Mason’s Forensic Science Program, University Professor Louise Shelley, director of Mason’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center; Paulo Costa, associate professor of systems engineering and operations research; professor David Weisburd, executive director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy; Allison Redlich, professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and Jim Jones, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.
“Mason’s team is uniquely qualified and will apply decades of FBI and law enforcement expertise.” shared Mary Ellen O’Toole. “We are honored the Department of Homeland Security puts its confidence in Mason and our high-caliber faculty. This important research can help sustain a safer world.”