Demands for forensic DNA analysis have increased every year from 2009 to 2014, with a 28 percent increase in cases submitted to forensic DNA laboratories from 2009 to 2014. The growing demand for DNA testing comes from two primary sources: (1) improved analysis techniques that have led to the recovery of DNA profiles from items of evidence from which it was not previously possible to retrieve such profiles, and (2) the increased collection and processing of DNA from crime scenes; victims of sexual assault; reference and elimination samples; arrestee and convicted offender samples as required by applicable state laws; unidentified human remains; cold case investigations; and postconviction relief efforts.
Often, a single case submission includes requests for forensic analyses in DNA and non-DNA disciplines. Enhancing capacity and improving efficiency in the processing and testing of non-DNA evidence from cases that also involve a request for DNA analysis will ultimately reduce the backlog of DNA evidence. NIJ’s DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) program does not permit the use of funds for non-DNA disciplines. The Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement (EI&CE) program is intended to help address that gap.
The EI&CE program awards funding to eligible entities, through a competitive application process, with two (2) program objectives:
1. Enhancing the capacity and increasing the efficiency of crime laboratories to process, record, screen, and analyze DNA and other forensic evidence; and
2. Decreasing the turnaround time to process and analyze DNA evidence.
The deadline for applications under this funding opportunity is March 13.
Special notice: On January 12, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. eastern time, NIJ will be holding a webinar regarding funding opportunities available for publicly funded crime labs. During this webinar, presenters will discuss the background, goals, application expectations, and recommendations for successful applications surrounding four NIJ programs, one of which is a new program being offered this fiscal year:
• Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program
• Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly
Funded Forensic Laboratories
• The DNA Capacity and Backlog Reduction (DNA CEBR) program
• The Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement (DNA