The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) is committed to improving the practice and strengthening the impact of forensic science through rigorous technology corroboration, evaluation, and adoption; effective knowledge transfer and education; and comprehensive dissemination of best practices and guidelines to agencies dedicated to combating crime.

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), led by RTI International, is supported through a Cooperative Agreement from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (awards 2016-MU-BX-K110 and 2011-DN-BX-K564). NIJ is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. The FTCoE supports the implementation of new forensic technology and best practices by end users and is dedicated to elevating the status of forensic science through advancing technology, sharing knowledge, and addressing challenges. The FTCoE bridges the gap between the scientific and the justice communities.

Advancing Technology

The FTCoE evaluates innovative research and technology and assists in the transition of tools into practice.

Sharing Knowledge

The FTCoE provides objective and reliable information to the forensic science community in the form of reports, webinars, podcasts, social media, and the website.

Addressing Challenges

The FTCoE convenes forensic science stakeholders to develop solutions to complex problems in the community.

This project was supported by Award No. 2016-MU-BX-K110, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

About the National Institute of Justice

NIJ — the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice — is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. NIJ provides objective an​d independent knowledge and tools to inform the decision-making of the criminal justice community to reduce crime and advance justice, particularly at the state and local levels. 

NIJ’s pursuit of this mission is guided by the following principles:

– Research can make a difference in individual lives, in the safety of communities and in creating a more effective and fair justice system.
– Government-funded research must adhere to processes of fair and open competition guided by rigorous peer review.
– NIJ’s research agenda must respond to the real world needs of victims, communities and criminal justice professionals.
– NIJ must encourage and support innovative and rigorous research methods that can provide answers to basic research questions as well as practical, applied solutions to crime.
– Partnerships with other agencies and organizations, public and private, are essential to NIJ’s success.

Learn more about the NIJ


About RTI International

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit institute that provides research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide. Our mission is to improve the human condition by turning knowledge into practice.

Combining scientific rigor and technical proficiency, we deliver reliable data, thorough analysis, innovative methods, novel technologies, and sustainable programs that help clients inform public policy and ground practice in evidence. We scale our approach to fit the demands of each project, delivering the power of a global leader and the passion of a local partner.

Our experts hold degrees in more than 250 scientific, technical, and professional disciplines across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development fields. Our staff of more than 5,000 works in more than 75 countries—tackling hundreds of projects each year to address complex social and scientific challenges on behalf of governments, businesses, foundations, universities, and other clients and partners. Learn more about RTI

Meet the FTCoE Team

Together, the FTCoE partners encompass all of the forensic disciplines, providing to the FTCoE unparalleled experience, knowledge, resources, and expertise vital to the advancement of forensic science. Our academic partners are educational institutions accredited through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission and have a proven history of providing state-of-the-art education and research contributing to the forensic sciences. Our industry partners utilize a combination of science and advanced, novel technology to resolve criminal casework, further catalyzing the adoption of new methodologies and technologies into the field of forensic science.


A Snapshot of Our Collaborators

Want to Partner with the FTCoE? Submit a Partnership Proposal.


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Just Science Podcast

RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences presents Just Science, a podcast for forensic science professionals and anyone with an interest in learning more about how real crime laboratories are working to do their job better, produce more accurate results, become more efficient, and solve more crimes. This podcast deals with a range of issues, including leadership in the crime lab, new technologies, sexual assault response, and broader challenges for science and public security. We cover every type of forensic discipline, including DNA, fingerprints, trace evidence, toxicology, controlled substances, crime scene investigation, and much more!

Just Science was developed by RTI International and funded in part by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence,  a program of the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice and funded in part through cooperative agreement [2016-MU-BX-K110].

Listen on our website, Stitcher, or Soundcloud.

Listen on Google Play Music 


News Articles about the FTCoE

Techbeat Articles about the FTCoE

TechBeat is the award-winning newsmagazine of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System. Their goal is to keep you up to date with technologies currently being developed by the NLECTC System, as well as other research and development efforts within the federal government and private industry.

“NCSU faculty teaches law enforcement to find where bodies are buried” in The News&Observer, August 2016

This article discusses “Discovery and Recovery: Death Investigation in Natural Environments,” a 3-day workshop hosted by the FTCoE in collaboration with North Carolina State University.