This is a report on the 2016 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research and Development Symposium, which was held to promote collaboration and enhance the transfer of knowledge gained from NIJ-funded research.
The symposium brought together practitioners and researchers in fields relevant to criminal justice and forensic science, with the intent of discussing, discovering, and sharing new research approaches and applications that promote the advancement of forensic sciences. During the symposium, cutting-edge research was presented to an audience of just over 350 attendees. Opening remarks were provided by Gerald LaPorte, the Director of the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, followed by four sessions that included 16 oral presentations. One presentation involved a description of the partnership between NIJ and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in advancing fundamental research in forensic science. This report contains symposium multiple presentations under each of the following topics: 1) impression, patterns, and trace evidence; 2) forensic biology/DNA; 3) anthropology and microbial forensics; and 4) controlled substances and toxicology. The intent of the symposium and the scientific projects funded under the NIJ Research and Development Program is to “direct the findings of basic scientific research, research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science, and ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective, and rapid methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.”