Federal Forensic Science Research and Development Programs – A 2021 Update

Federal Forensic Science Research and Development Programs – A 2021 Update


June 2021


In response to the 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the federal government accelerated its investment in forensic science in recent years. The NAS report advocated for additional coordination and investment by the federal government in research related to the forensic sciences. Federal investments have transformed the ability of forensic laboratories to analyze DNA and other forensic evidence, decreased turnaround times, and increased the capacity for forensic analysis - demonstrating the power of science to address criminal justice challenges. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the primary federal funder of forensic science research across all forensic disciplines. NIJ awarded over $264,000,000 through nearly 600 grants between 2009 and 2020 for research and development (R&D) projects. Several other federal agencies fund forensic research relevant to specific disciplines or agency missions; however, despite increased investments, a coordinated, current accounting of forensic science R&D activity across the federal government is still needed.

This landscape report provides a summary of agency interests, funding opportunities, and published research needs to assist interested researchers. This compilation lists government agencies and sub-agencies that offer funding opportunities for forensic science researchers, as well as sub-agencies and organizations that offer support for the forensic science research community.

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence report was provided 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 report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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