Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $300,000)
To maximize the impact of science and technology, it is critical to invest in a strategic research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) process. While research and development (R&D) are recognized as a fundamental need in the forensic sciences, it is equally critical to implement a rigorous testing and evaluation (T&E) program to facilitate the transfer and adoption of promising methods, tools, and technologies into practice. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) provides opportunities for R&D that focus on accurate, reliable, cost-effective, and rapid methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of forensic evidence. With these investments in R&D, there is a vital need to transition promising research into practice that will ultimately strengthen the forensic sciences and improve operational challenges.
Florida International University (FIU), through its Global Forensic and Justice Center (GFJC), will leverage the strengths of an unprecedented partnership to administer and manage the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE). The FTCoE will provide and facilitate the necessary transition assistance of technology innovations for use by forensic science service providers, medical examiner/coroner offices, law enforcement, and other criminal justice agencies to improve safety and mitigate crime. The FTCoE Team will include the University Central Florida, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, Sam Houston State University, American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD), International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME), MRIGlobal, and a team of consultants that have worked in the forensic science and criminal justice community for decades.
The FTCoE will provide technology transition assistance, knowledge transfer, and support to the forensic science, law enforcement, broader criminal justice community. Our team will identify technologies, tools, and methods that are ready for transition, and evaluate them for operational suitability. We plan to use various delivery strategies, including in-person, virtual and hybrid engagements, such as: 1) Researcher-Practitioner workshops; 2) Hands-on workshops for practitioners for specialized technologies; 3) Virtual symposia; 4) Podcasts; 5) Targeted communications (e.g., digital media, YouTube videos) of innovative technologies, tools, and methods; 6) Technology Landscape Reports (TLRs); 7) Best practices; 8) Conference presentations; 9) Webinars; and 10) Primer Reports. Finally, FIU will become the home of a dedicated Forensic Library Service that will provide thousands of publicly accessible forensic-related reports, journal articles, drug monographs, and topical news at no charge to forensic professionals across the globe, medical examiners, forensic pathologists, law enforcement, and other interested parties.