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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
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Appendix C


Committee Questions to NIJ

AFTER MEETING 1, FEBRUARY 25-26, 2015

  1. 1. What was the effect of moving OIFS out of OST?
  • Is there a memo describing this process and the rationale? Why was digital forensics left with OST?
  • What are the benefits of OIFS having its own office? How is it different than the other offices at NIJ? What processes and operations are the same?
  1. 2. Provide budgetary figures fiscal 2009 to 2014 including
  • appropriated funding with sources;
  • forensic science expenditures breakdown for NIJ by R&D, Testing & Evaluation, Technical Assistance, Capacity Building, and Standards Development or other categories if they have changed;
  • forensic science expenditures breakdown for NIJ by discretionary and nondiscretionary; and
  • transfers to ORE, OST, and other federal agencies.
  1. 3. Provide a list of R&D projects awarded over the last 5 years, including PI(s), PI Affiliation (laboratory, university, private laboratory, etc.), abstract, award amount, project status (ongoing or completed), and length of duration.
  • What is the percentage of applications funded?
  • What is the average amount and length of award?
  1. 4. Provide a list of R&D projects awarded from 2004 through 2009, including PI(s), PI Affiliation (laboratory, university, private labo-
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×
  1. ratory, etc.), abstract, award amount, project status (ongoing or completed), and length of duration.

  2. 5. Provide a description of the peer-review process and procedures, both the standing scientific review panels and the ad hoc committees.
  • Provide description of composition—academia versus practitioners, variations and requirements in expertise.
  • Is there a written Standard Operating Procedure?
  • Provide a description of the scoring system.
  1. 6. Provide a description of process for setting research priorities.
  • Identify how research priorities in forensic science are assigned to ORE and OST.
  1. 7. Does NIJ have a mechanism to measure the impact of their R&D portfolio on actual forensic practice? Can NIJ show impact for scholarly community, publications, and citation downloads?
  2. 8. Do you have a communications and dissemination strategic plan and process? What is it and what are your goals?
  • How do you currently disseminate research to the field?
  • How do you track impact?
  1. 9. Provide a list of partnerships/MOUs/collaborations with other federal agencies and the nature of those relationships (including budgetary support).
  • If releasable provide the MOU for each organization.
  1. 10. Description of the Forensic Technology Center for Excellence and its activities.
  • What funding stream supports the center?
  • What is the length of the current award?
  • Does it issue solicitations and give awards?
  1. 11. Provide an OIFS and NIJ current organization chart, including vacant positions.
  2. 12. Provide a breakdown of graduate student support for last 5-7 years including fellowships and those supported through grants.
  3. 13. Is there a feedback mechanism? How does OIFS receive feedback from the various stakeholders?
  4. 14. Independence—Can you discuss how independent OIFS, as an office within NIJ, is in regard to ability to (1) establish research and evaluation priorities; (2) control the grant making process, from solicitation to grant approval; (3) make budgetary recommendations to the highest level of the parent agency; (4) make staffing decisions including recruitment and hiring; and (5) issue reports and other dissemination activities.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×

AFTER MEETING 2, APRIL 1-2, 2015

  1. 15. Does NIJ and/or OIFS have a research strategic plan or goals? If so, please provide. How is the plan/goals communicated to researchers? Communicated to practitioners in the field? Do you have a strategic plan for capacity building?
  2. 16. The FTCoE has developed a process for collecting information on R&D awards over time and for supporting technology transition (response to Question 7). How is or will this information be used by OIFS staff? Are there plans to maintain this database if it is useful?
  3. 17. It seems most of OIFS grants to researchers are considered research and development (basic or applied research). Have there been any projects/grants in the last 4-5 years that would have been considered testing or evaluation? Does the FTCoE currently conduct any testing or evaluation in-house or do they just make connections when applicable?
  4. 18. Of the funding available for awards, how much money expired for fiscal 2010 to 2014?
  5. 19. Of the funds awarded, how much was not used by awardees for fiscal 2010 to 2014?

FINAL QUESTION, APRIL 27, 2015

  1. 20. Grant managers in the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program are now asked to use a new Performance Measurement Tool (PMT) when submitting progress reports to NIJ. Please describe the PMT—both its quantitative and qualitative components and the process for the collection and reporting of the data gathered.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×
Page 91
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×
Page 92
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×
Page 93
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Questions to NIJ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Support for Forensic Science Research: Improving the Scientific Role of the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21772.
×
Page 94
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Reliable and valid forensic science analytic techniques are critical to a credible, fair, and evidence-based criminal justice system. There is widespread agreement that the scientific foundation of some currently available forensic science methods needs strengthening and that additional, more efficient techniques are urgently needed. These needs can only be met through sustained research programs explicitly designed to ensure and improve the reliability and validity of current methods and to foster the development and use of new and better techniques. This task is challenging due to the broad nature of the field.

Concerns have been raised repeatedly about the ability of the criminal justice system to collect and analyze evidence efficiently and to be fair in its verdicts. Although significant progress has been made in some forensic science disciplines, the forensic science community still faces many challenges. Federal leadership, particularly in regard to research and the scientific validation of forensic science methods, is needed to help meet the pressing issues facing state and local jurisdictions.

This report reviews the progress made by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to advance forensic science research since the 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward and the 2010 report, Strengthening the National Institute of Justice. Support for Forensic Science Research examines the ways in which NIJ develops its forensic science research priorities and communicates those priorities as well as its findings to the scientific and forensic practitioner communities in order to determine the impact of NIJ forensic science research programs and how that impact can be enhanced.

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