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Research and Evaluation in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories

The Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories (Public Labs) program’s intent is to fund projects that direct the findings of research and evaluation toward the identification of the most efficient, accurate, reliable, and cost-effective methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.

With this program, NIJ typically seeks applications for research and evaluation projects that will:

  • Identify and inform the forensic community of best practices through the evaluation of existing laboratory protocols.
  • Have a direct and immediate impact on laboratory efficiency and assist in making laboratory policy decisions.

When applying for an award under this program, please read carefully the specific solicitation as requirements may changes from year to year. 

Program Overview

The Public Labs program is specifically targeted toward applicants from publicly funded laboratories and has the following objectives:

  • Assessing existing laboratory protocols.
    • Improve understanding of the rationales underpinning existing laboratory processes.
  • Evaluating emerging methods.
    • Assess the value of emerging laboratory processes.


Applicants must be, or be partnered with, publicly funded forensic science laboratories that are currently accredited by an independent accrediting or certifying forensic science organization. Publicly funded forensic science laboratories include State, regional, county, municipal, and tribal agencies.

Date Created: April 1, 2019