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OSAC Research and Development Needs

Forensic science standards are created to help address a certain need within a specific discipline. As a standard is being drafted, other needs and ideas may be uncovered that lend to future research and development activities.

OSAC documents and publicly shares with the forensic science community any research and development (R&D) needs that are identified during the standards development process. These needs may benefit a wide variety of stakeholders both associated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and external to the agency. For example, R&D needs can help inform NIST researchers and NIST’s Forensic Science Center of Excellence, also known as the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Science (CSAFE), of valuable projects to consider as they perform research to advance the practice of forensic science. They can also serve as useful input for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) when making decisions about funding opportunities as NIJ awards various grants and agreements for research, development and evaluation projects that support the forensic science community. Additionally, universities that sponsor forensic science programs with research components can leverage these needs for undergraduate and graduate student research projects that will provide a tangible benefit for the field.

The following R&D needs have been identified by OSAC’s subcommittees. OSAC encourages agencies to consider them when developing new solicitations and research projects so that efforts can be strategically advanced in areas where they are needed most.

Biology | Chemistry: Seized Drugs & Toxicology | Chemistry: Trace Evidence | Digital/Multimedia | Medicine | Physics/Pattern Interpretation | Scene Examination


Human Forensic Biology 

Wildlife Forensic Biology

Chemistry: Seized Drugs & Toxicology

Forensic Toxicology

Seized Drugs

Chemistry: Trace Evidence

Ignitable Liquids, Explosives, & Gunshot Residue

Trace Materials


Digital Evidence

  • There are no research and development needs identified by the Digital Evidence Subcommittee. 

Facial & Iris Identification

Speaker Recognition

Video/Imaging Technology & Analysis


Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Nursing

Forensic Odontology

Medicolegal Death Investigation

Physics/Pattern Interpretation

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Firearms & Toolmarks

Footwear & Tire

Forensic Document Examination

Friction Ridge

Scene Examination

Crime Scene Investigation & Reconstruction

Dogs & Sensors

Fire & Explosion Investigation

Created November 16, 2015, Updated January 26, 2024