Nearly all forensic science research funds are channeled through DOJ. NIJ and the FBI are the two primary federal sources of funding for forensic science research.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

NIJ provides the bulk of funds for research. The BJS 2002 census found that of the 12 percent of laboratories that had resources dedicated to research, the primary source of funding for this research was NIJ.

NIJ has two operating offices: (1) the Office of Research and Evaluation develops, conducts, directs, and supervises research and evaluation activities across a wide variety of issues and (2) the Office of Science and Technology manages technology research and development, the development of technical standards, testing, forensic science capacity building, and technology assistance to state and local law enforcement and corrections agencies.34 NIJ’s forensic science programs relevant to research include the President’s DNA Initiative; General Forensics R&D; the Forensic Resource Network; and Electronic Crime. These programs vary in their direct support of research. Research decisions are managed through a peer-review process.35 Total expenditures for forensic research were $78 million in FY 2002, but they decreased to $33 million by FY 2009. According to John Morgan, Deputy Director, NIJ, the agency is able to fund 5 to 7 percent of the applications submitted.36 Commentators have noted that NIJ funds often are not awarded to working members of the forensic science community.37

In 2003, the President announced a five-year, $1 billion initiative to improve the use of DNA in the criminal justice system. The President’s DNA Initiative pushed for increased funding, training, and assistance to ensure that DNA technology “reaches its full potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons.”38 Congress has appropriated more than $300 million to date for the initiative, although only a small fraction is directed toward research. Since 2003, DOJ has made grants in excess of $26 million for new research on forensic tools and techniques,39 with grants tending to go to population geneticists, medical geneticists, molecular biolo-




J. Morgan, Deputy Director National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Presentation to the committee. January 25, 2007.




K. Pyrek. 2007. Forensic Science Under Siege: The Challenges of Forensic Laboratories and the Medico-Legal Investigation System. Burlington, MA: Academic Press (Elsevier), p. 448.




Morgan, op. cit.

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