West Virginia's Biometrics industry leads the nation. With the Federal Bureau of Investigation Fingerprint Identification Center located in Bridgeport, WV, the state has become internationally renowned as the center for research and development in the area of biometrics.
The Biometrics Fusion Center (BFC), located in Bridgeport, WV, serves as a biometrics technology center of excellence. The BFC interacts with industry, academia, government, and Department of Defense (D.O.D.) users to establish biometric standards and performance measures that will be used to perform world-class test and evaluation of biometric technologies for D.O.D. consumption. The BFC will operate and maintain a D.O.D. Biometrics Repository to support test and evaluation of biometrics and provide operational back-up support to D.O.D. organizations. The BFC will ensure the effective implementation of biometrics within D.O.D. by providing technical implementation and integration support to D.O.D. organizations.
The state-funded Biometric Knowledge Center (BKnC), at West Virginia University in Morgantown, conducts cutting-edge biometric research leading to economic development. The BKnC is actively seeking to expand its network with major institutions and federal and state agencies supporting and using biometric research. The four main research issues are technologies, measures of effectiveness, political and societal implications, and economics and workforce. It is dedicated to investigating the interactions of natural science, engineering, economics, social science, political science, and other disciplines as they relate to biometrics.
Also located at West Virginia University is the Center for Identification Technology and Research (CITeR). CITeR is the first National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) focusing on serving its membership in the rapidly growing area of Biometric Identification Technology. The Defense Department, the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services, and the West Virginia Army National Guard also recently began a pilot project testing various applications of biometrics technology that will become a member of CITeR. The project. The Department of Defense's decision to join a research center developed by West Virginia University is further evidence of the federal government's continuing recognition of West Virginia as a leader in the field of biometrics.
West Virginia brings together the essential elements the biotechnology and biomedical industry needs to grow.
The state provides access to:
- One of the nation's highest concentrations of agricultural feedstock, chemical and pharmaceutical industries
- Research hubs such as the state's major research universities, attracting resources and collaborative partners
- Governmental programs that stimulate biomedical/biotechnology research, funding and commercialization
Industry giants such as Dow, DuPont, Bayer, PPG, BASF and Proviron have each established a presence here. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the No. 1 U.S.-based manufacturer of generic pharmaceutical products, and Alcon Laboratories Inc., the world's second largest manufacturer of consumer vision care products, operate in West Virginia.
West Virginia is also home to biotechnology startups such as Protea Biosciences, Vandalia Research and Progenesis.
Read on to see what key players in the biometrics industry have to say about our state:
"We see West Virginia becoming the Silicon Valley of biometrics. We are very excited to be West Virginia's partner in bringing biometrics solutions to homeland security as well as to our everyday lives. In addition, it's a great opportunity to tap the technical talent in West Virginia, create new jobs and new employment opportunities, and increase the economic base."
Mark O'Hare, founder and CEO of Ethentica by Security First Corp., which develops and commercializes a variety of biometric security technologies, products and services that couple biometric recognition devices with a distributed security-based software system.
"We view the state as first in biometric education and research, first in understanding the economic potential of this exciting technology and first in the political initiatives that were necessary to make it happen, thanks to the efforts of Senator Byrd and Governor Wise."
John E. Siedlarz, chairman of the National Biometric Security Project, which will facilitate the application of positive human identification for the security of the civil national infrastructure in direct response to any terrorist threat.