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Federal Forensic Science Research and Development Programs – A 2021 Update

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021
37 pages

This report is a 2021 update of federal government agencies and sub-agencies that offer funding opportunities for forensic science researchers, as well as sub-agencies and organizations that provide support services for the forensic science research community.


Federal investments in research relevant to forensic science encompass all forensic science disciplines. The U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the primary federal funder of forensic science research. NIJ awarded just over $264,000,000 in nearly 600 grants for forensic research and development (R&D) between 2009 and 2020. Several other federal agencies fund forensic science research relevant to specific disciplines and agency missions. Despite increased investments in forensic science research, however, a coordinated, current accounting of forensic science R&D investments across the federal government is still needed. The forensic-science and related research topics of interest to each agency are outlined in this report and summarized in a supplemental table. The researcher users of this report should examine each agency’s websites, linked throughout the report, to access more in-depth information. In addition, researchers should attend conferences or agency briefings relevant to their field. Researchers and practitioners can review past and current NIJ-funded forensic science R&D projects at NIJ.gov and on the FTCoE website, which also provides archived webinars on scientific topics of interest.