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Focus Areas

Research, Technology, and Evaluation

Focusing on investigative approaches and technologies impacting criminal justice and forensic practitioner communities

The Research, Technology, and Evaluation program in the RTI Center for Forensic Sciences assesses the transition of investigative approaches and technologies impacting criminal justice and forensic practitioner communities globally. Our team of scientists and engineers have the advanced capabilities to discover solutions to scientific and public health challenges faced by all aspects of the criminal justice community. Leveraging these advanced capabilities, our activities include: 

  • The execution of dynamic evidence-based translational research to engage stakeholders to expand best practices on how forensic evidence is collected, interpreted, and presented in court. 
  • The development of life-safety performance standards, testing protocols and advanced methods for realizing and analyzing emerging technologies and equipment across all criminal justice, scientific, engineering, and technology fields. 

Reinforcing these areas of engagement and beyond, our specialized technical program management capabilities are proven performers when it comes to monitoring and controlling complex contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements serving our criminal justice and defense stakeholders.

Our program guides research and evaluations in areas such as: 

  • civil disturbance equipment
  • decision-making and human factors 
  • drug detection and surveillance 
  • in-field instrumentation
  • juror comprehension of forensic evidence 
  • laboratory efficiency
  • less-lethal weaponry
  • personal protection innovations 
  • safety and performance of ballistic and stab resistant equipment and materials
  • safety and performance of law enforcement weaponry
  • simulation-based performance testing 
  • technology adoption
  • white and black box studies

We have experts across multiple disciplines and functional areas, including:

  • 3D graphics development
  • analytical chemistry
  • civil disturbance
  • crime scene investigation
  • death investigation
  • DNA analysis
  • drug detection
  • explosive detection  
  • materials engineering 
  • molecular biology
  • officer safety and wellness 
  • pattern evidence 
  • seized drugs 
  • software engineering
  • standards development
  • technology evaluations 
  • textile sciences
  • toxicology
  • UAS and counter-UAS technologies

Our expertise in implementing a multidisciplinary approach to research, technology, and evaluation is our strength, and allows us to develop innovative solutions to improve criminal justice technologies and the practice of forensic science.