U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, Fiscal Year 2021

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $4,200,000)

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) supports the forensic science research and development program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) through efforts to transition technologies from research into practice. RTI International has partnered with NIJ on the FTCOE since 2011 to provide objective support to forensic science stakeholders. As a world-renowned research institute, RTI has assembled a wide range of academic partners (including FEPAC-accredited partners), forensic laboratories, and practitioners to accomplish NIJ’s objectives and to satisfy the needs of the forensic and criminal justice communities. The FTCOE advances technology through the assessment of NIJ research & development programs for testing, evaluation, technology transition and implementation, dissemination, and collaborative partnerships. It shares knowledge about evidence-based best practices using a wide variety of strategies, including forums, reports, webinars, blended live and online meetings, podcasts, social media, and its website. The FTCOE also addresses challenges to the forensic science community by promoting the exchange of ideas and connecting researchers, practitioners, industry, and other stakeholders in open dialogues at conferences. During the proposed period of performance, and subject to NIJ direction under the cooperative agreement, the RTI Team will provide technology assistance, facilitate the demonstration of new technologies, provide access to research and educational materials, and develop and communicate the social impact of forensic science to the field. Along with the NIJ, the RTI Team will work to develop criteria to evaluate these and other programs. proposed initiatives such as technology implementation workshops and assistance programs, in-field evaluations, guides for best practices, and interlaboratory comparison studies will help guide research dissemination and technology assistance. By directly engaging the community through discussions among laboratory directors and researchers (FLNTWG, Virtual Round Tables), participating in national conferences with practitioners (AAFS, ASCLD, IAI, IACME), working with legal professionals (Expert Witness Workshops), and assisting the medicolegal community (Workload Analysis), the FTCOE will provide a stable platform for NIJ initiatives. Proposed outreach activities (guidance documents, forums) specifically designated for diverse populations would promote inclusion within the forensic community. Development of a National Forensic Science Library and additional library based repositories (scholarly products, validated methods, forensic court decisions, laboratory standard operating procedures) by the FTCOE would provide researchers, laboratory directors, and practitioners invaluable, easily searchable resources. NIJ and its FTCOE team will work toward a new strategic future of providing evidence-based resources about forensic technologies and emerging challenges to enable forward-leaning methods to agilely drive innovation.

Date Created: September 28, 2021