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The National Institute of Justice — At the Forefront of Forensic Science Research

Date Published
July 16, 2019

NIJ has a unique dual mission when it comes to forensic science. We support strengthening the accuracy, reliability, and validity of the forensic sciences through research, funding, and training opportunities.

The value of forensic testing has been increasingly recognized and the demand for forensic analysis has grown exponentially especially  with DNA analysis.

To help combat these issues, NIJ provides funding directly to state and local laboratories to increase laboratory capacity and reduce the backlogs of evidence, because providing timely information to law enforcement and the courts ultimately bolsters the administration of justice.

Here are some of the ways you can work with us to push forensic sciences forward:

Rigorous Research

The demand for tools and technologies in all areas of forensic science, including DNA testing, far exceed the current capabilities of the field. To help meet that demand, the NIJ has funded forensic DNA research and development projects for over a decade.

Our Fiscal Year 2017 Funding for DNA Analysis, Capacity Enhancement, and Other Forensic Activities explores the recent funding awards we made, including continued evaluation of massively parallel sequencing (also known as MPS, or next generation sequencing, NGS) platforms, and continued investment in the development of rapid technologies (such as Rapid DNA analysis).

Our research publications based on these efforts offer direct support to practitioners who are looking to increase efficiency.

Direct Funding

NIJ is committed to a sustained national effort that recognizes research and development as a long-term solution while providing support to forensic laboratories to address the immediate concerns of DNA capacity enhancement and efficiency improvement.

NIJ supports the direct funding of state and local forensic laboratories with three important programs:

Training Opportunities

The NIJ Forensic Technology Center of Excellence is committed to effective knowledge transfer and education, and comprehensive dissemination of best practices and guidelines to agencies dedicated to combating crime.

One of the key ways they accomplish this is through the many webinars they offer. They also recently completed the Emerging Forensic Research Webinar Series, and the archived webinars are available to view on their website.

Forensic Laboratory Needs Working Group

As part of our efforts to improve federal coordination with state, tribal, and local forensic science laboratories, we convened a Forensic Laboratory Needs Working Group (FLN-TWG). The group, comprised of selected crime lab directors from across the country, will explore new ways to increase casework efficiencies and help transition research that’s completed into practice in laboratories. Some of this work will be featured in an upcoming Forensic Laboratory Needs Assessment publication.

National Institute of Justice, "The National Institute of Justice — At the Forefront of Forensic Science Research," July 16, 2019, nij.ojp.gov:
Date Created: August 27, 2019