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Home About Us Laboratory Services Scientific Analysis Counterterrorism & Forensic Science Research

Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research

Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research


The Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit (CFSRU) provides technical leadership and advancement of forensic sciences for the FBI—as well as for federal, state, local, and international agencies—through applied research and development. Our research focuses on three primary goals: (1) the development of new capabilities; (2) improvements to existing capabilities; and (3) the defensibility of current and future capabilities.

The Team

CFSRU personnel consist of research scientists, program managers, technical and administrative support staff, and participants in the Visiting Scientist Program. Together they make up a highly-skilled team with expertise in a broad range of scientific disciplines.

The Work

CFSRU provides the FBI Laboratory’s foundation for innovative scientific research and development as well as advanced technical support and subject matter expert consultation as needed to support operations. The Laboratory Division Library, managed by CFSRU, provides informational support to both research and casework initiatives throughout the division.

The goal of research and development is to cultivate and deliver new scientific technology and methods to support the operational requirements of the FBI as well as partner law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Research is conducted on a wide range of topics designed to support advancement in biological, chemical, and physical forensic analyses; operational response; and biometrics. Results are presented at scientific conferences and are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, the unit provides subject matter expertise as needed to support the FBI and the intelligence community. CFSRU is established as an international leader in forensic science research.

Visiting Scientist Program (VSP)

The goal of the Visiting Scientist Program is to enhance CFSRU’s research and development capabilities by providing highly qualified scientists from outside institutions to complement staff scientists and assist in performing duties consistent with the mission and needs of the FBI. Program participants enhance their education by participating in mentored forensic research initiatives in CFSRU laboratories using state-of-the-art equipment. Participants are afforded a unique work experience that offers professional development and increases their research contribution in their chosen field of study within the realm of forensics. University professors, post-graduates, as well as doctoral, masters’, and bachelors’ level students qualify for the program. For additional program information, see the Visiting Scientist Program webpage on FBI Jobs.

Advanced Technical Support and Consultation

CFSRU provides advanced technical support as needed through formal classroom instruction as well as specialized hands-on expertise in the laboratory to transfer new technology and methods into operations. In addition, staff scientists participate in scientific and technical working groups and provide consultation as subject matter experts on operational matters when needed.