Forensic Science Research and Development: Dear Colleague Letter From Nancy Rodriguez, Fiscal Year 2017

December 16, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, is pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes (pdf, 46 pages). The purpose of NIJ’s forensic science R&D program is to advance forensic science by supporting research and innovation to protect the public and ensure justice for all.

The breadth of disciplines invited under this funding opportunity is representative of the wide variety of physical evidence whose scientific analysis informs the criminal justice system. NIJ recognizes the need for new and improved approaches to identify, collect, and analyze diverse types of physical evidence. With this Dear Colleague Letter, NIJ calls attention to its core program supporting forensic science R&D across a wide range of disciplines, including, but not limited to: forensic biology, chemistry, physics, anthropology, and pathology. NIJ also encourages researchers with expertise in other relevant sciences to partner with forensic scientists to enhance and grow existing research efforts.

The Forensic Science Research and Development program supports NIJ’s mission by sponsoring research to provide objective, independent, and evidence‐based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the state and local levels. In fiscal year 2016, NIJ awarded more than $23 million to support forensic science R&D, bringing the total to approximately $179 million since 2009. Funding for fiscal year 2017 is currently pending congressional appropriation.

Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes

This solicitation seeks proposals for basic or applied research and development projects that will: (1) increase the body of knowledge to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice, or (2) result in the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods that have the potential for forensic application. The intent of this 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. 

Download the solicitation (pdf, 48 pages). The solicitation can be found also at Grants.gov Funding Opportunity Number: NIJ-2017-11080.  A webinar will be held on January 11, 2017 for those interested in learning more.

Application deadline: February 28, 2017.

Submission Process: Proposals in response to this Dear Colleague Letter must meet the requirements of the Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes solicitation, and be submitted to Grants.gov by February 28, 2017.  Find general information on applying for NIJ awards on our Funding page.

Additional information:


Nancy Rodriguez's signature

Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D.
National Institute of Justice


Date Created: December 16, 2016