March, 1

NIJ Announces New Forensic Science Grants at UT-Knoxville Event

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NIJ Announces New Forensic Science Grants at UT-Knoxville Event

Dr. Nancy La Vigne, addresses a group at the University of Tennessee

NIJ Director Nancy La Vigne joined University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman, state and local officials, law enforcement experts and NIJ staff and grantees on Monday, December 4, to highlight the impact and advances of forensic science and substantial new NIJ grant awards in the field. The event included a visit to the University’s Forensic Anthropology Center, a recipient of NIJ grant funding, and a panel discussion of forensic science experts led by NIJ’s Lucas Zarwell, director of the Institute’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences. The panel included forensics researchers, a cold case investigator, a medical examiner and a family member of a person who was identified after decades through advances in DNA technology. The panel also highlighted NIJ’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), the nation’s only public access, national database of missing persons, which helps law enforcement, medical examiners, and families of missing and unidentified people match long-term cases and resolve them.

Panel discussion at the University of Tennessee
Panel discussion at the University of Tennessee.

Director La Vigne announced NIJ has awarded $17.9 million in competitive grant funding to support forensic science research and development projects in FY2023. This funding will advance trailblazing work to identify skeletal remains, locate hidden graves and improve the accuracy of determining time of death. 

“NIJ is at the forefront of cutting-edge innovations in forensic science, and the outcomes from these NIJ-funded projects will further enhance the field’s methods, strengthen evidence in court, help solve missing person cases, improve public safety and create a more fair and equitable justice system,” said Director La Vigne. 

Lucas Zarwell, address group at University of Tennessee
Lucas Zarwell, address group at the University of Tennessee.

Since 2009, NIJ has contributed nearly $340 million to forensic science research. This long-term investment makes NIJ the leading funder of extramural forensic science research – supporting projects in academia, crime laboratories, federal agencies, and private and non-profit entities. The program covers all forensic science disciplines including forensic biology, forensic anthropology, forensic pathology, seized drug analysis, toxicology, pattern evidence and trace evidence.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at


CONTACT: OJP Media at [email protected]

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