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NIST Announces SDO Grant for Forensic Science Standards; September 12 Informational Webinar to Provide More Information


Apply by September 30

In an effort to support science documentary standards and to ensure that the work produced by Forensic Science Service Providers (FSSPs) is reliable, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standards Development Organization Grants for Forensic Science Standards (SDO GFSS) seeks applications from eligible stakeholders for grant funding to develop, approve, disseminate, maintain, and review forensic science voluntary consensus standards and best practices that will be made available to the public free of charge.

NIST’s Special Programs Office will host a free webinar on September 12 from 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. ET to offer general guidance on preparing proposals for applicants that are interested in the funding opportunity. Registration is required.

NIST created the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science in 2014 as a response to the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council report entitled, “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States - A Path Forward.” This report recommended that NIST help strengthen the scientific basis and harmonize forensic science standards.

The OSAC will perform technical reviews on the forensic science standards produced under NIST’s Notice of Funding Opportunity to determine if standards should be placed on OSAC’s Registry, which signals to FSSPs across the U.S. that the standards should be adopted.

Ultimately, implementation of standards by FSSPs will assist in improving consistency within and across forensic science disciplines, ensuring confidence in the accuracy, reliability, and reproducibility of results, and positively impacting admissibility and expert testimony in courts of law.

Relevant applicants must submit applications by September 30 and address several issues:

  • What objectives will be accomplished with the federal funding
  • What activities will be supported to achieve the objectives
  • How the SDO will measure and report on achieving the objectives
  • How applicants intend to measure and report the extent to which standards developed with federal funding will be implemented and used in practice
  • How scientific and technical rigor will be integrated into the SDO’s process by detailing how the SDO’s processes improve and strengthen the scientific and technical basis of standards
  • How applicants will develop, document, and publicly share any research and development (R&D) needs that are identified during the standards development process
  • How applicants plan to become self-sufficient, and over what time period, to support continuing forensic science standards development, dissemination, and maintenance, independent of federal funding
  • The extent (amount and duration) to which non-federal funding is being leveraged to advance the scope of this funding opportunity


Award Funding and Eligibility

NIST anticipates funding up to five awards in the approximate range of $50,000 to $500,000 per award, with a project performance period of up to one year. NIST reports that it anticipates that a total of $1,000,000 will be made available for this program.

Relevant stakeholders include nongovernmental standards development organizations (including associations or technical societies), located in the United States or its territories, that plan, develop, establish, or coordinate voluntary consensus standards using a voluntary consensus standards development process and operate in conformity with the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards.

Access more information on NIST’s grant opportunity. 


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]