In police and sheriff’s departments across the county, forensic science plays a crucial role in solving crimes. Biology, physics, computer science, chemistry, and other disciplines are essential in evidence evaluation. Ballistics, DNA testing, and toxicology are all forms of forensic science. Since it is so critical , the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has devoted over $127 million since 2009 in a R&D portfolio for cutting edge technology. Currently, the NIJ is offering a grant for Research and Development to Advance Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes. Its aim is to support research and development projects that can ultimately lead to more accurate, reliable, cost-effective methods of evidence collection in the criminal justice system.
Goals and Priorities
The program has three basic priorities: nanotechnology, microbiomes and fatal head trauma. Applicants for funding should also address at least one of the three goals:
- Basic Research - to advance the understanding of accuracy, reliability and measurement validity of practices in the forensic sciences.
- Applied Research - to advance criminal justice policy in relation to forensic science.
- Development Goals - to produce materials, devices, systems or methodology that can be used in forensic science.
Areas of Benefit
Forensic disciplines that may benefit from the program include:
- DNA and forensic biology
- Crime scene analysis
- Questioned documents
- Blood stain pattern analysis
- Controlled substances
- Fire debris analysis and arson investigations
- Latent print
- Tire tread examination
- Trace evidence
- Forensic toxicology, anthropology, odontology and pathology
Local Governments as Recipients
Although many of the recipients of this program have been universities, departments within local governments have also received funding:
- The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York was awarded the grant on multiple occasions for project topics that include: molecular autopsies in unexplained infant deaths, and parallel sequencing to identify missing persons.
- The City and County of Denver Police Department received funding to investigate the effectiveness of a computer ballistics system.
Applying for Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes Funding
Eligible applicants include Native American tribes, state and local government, academic institutions, consortia, non profits and those in the private sector. Matching is not required. Apply by February 28. 2016. The resource page offers links to other funding opportunities from the National Institute of Justice as well online trainings, published research and networking opportunities in the area of forensic science.