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Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program - Formula

Grants to USA Agencies to
Improve Forensic Services

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

Deadline Date:

06/19/20 11:59 PM Eastern Time


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Grants to USA and territories state and local government agencies for projects that advance medical examiner services and forensic science services. Funding is intended to improve both efficiency and quality of services. A portion of funding is allocated for projects addressing the opioid epidemic.

With this solicitation, BJA seeks proposals for formula funding under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (the Coverdell program). This program awards grants to states and units of local government to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services. Under the Coverdell program, State Administering Agencies (SAAs) may apply for both formula and competitive funds. This solicitation is ONLY for SAAs applying for the formula funds.

A state or unit of local government that receives a Coverdell grant must use the grant for one or more of the following six purposes:

  1. To carry out all or a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner/coroner services in the state, including those services provided by laboratories operated by the state and those operated by units of local government within the state.
  2. To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence, including, among other things, a backlog with respect to firearms examination, latent prints, impression evidence, toxicology, digital evidence, fire evidence, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence.
  3. To train, assist, and employ forensic laboratory personnel and medicolegal death investigators, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog.
  4. To address emerging forensic science issues (such as statistics, contextual bias, and uncertainty of measurement) and emerging forensic science technology (such as high throughput automation, statistical software, and new types of instrumentation).
  5. To educate and train forensic pathologists.
  6. To fund medicolegal death investigation systems to facilitate accreditation of medical examiner and coroner offices and certification of medicolegal death investigators. 

Note: The alarming proliferation of opioids and synthetic drugs have had a crushing effect on many crime laboratories. Medical examiners and forensic pathologists have also been overwhelmed by the volume of autopsies as a result of opioid and synthetic drug related overdose deaths. To address these issues, BJA plans to allocate approximately 64 percent of available funds to specifically target the challenges that opioid and synthetic drugs have brought to the forensic science community. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184314

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Maximum number of awards BJA expects to make: up to 55 awards

Estimated Size of Grant:

Estimated maximum dollar amount for each award: based on population

The approximate amount each eligible state would receive if $26,469,758 were made available for FY 2020 is listed in Appendix 1 on page 24 of the Grant Solicitation document in Supporting Documents below.

Term of Contract:

- Period of performance start date: October 1, 2020
- Period of performance: 24 months
- Applicants should be aware that the total period of an award, including one that receives a project period extension, ordinarily will not exceed 3 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The following entities are eligible to apply:
- States (including territories).

For purposes of this solicitation—
- A state/local government entity performing forensic science services is considered a “forensic science laboratory” if it employs one or more full-time scientists: - With a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a natural or formal science (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, or a closely related field) and
- Whose principal function is to examine, analyze, and interpret physical and/or digital evidence in criminal matters and provide reports and testimony to courts of law regarding such evidence.

- Law enforcement units operating outside of the crime laboratory function, such as crime scene units and other entities that engage exclusively in evidence collection and documentation, are not forensic science laboratories for these purposes.
- Medical examiner and coroner offices are treated as forensic science laboratories.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 19, 2020

Applicants must register in the OJP Grants Management System (GMS) at prior to submitting an application under this solicitation. All registrations and applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 19, 2020.

All applicants should complete the following steps:
1. Acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number): Call Dun and Bradstreet at 866–705–5711 to obtain a DUNS number or apply online at A DUNS number is usually received within 2 business days.
2. Register or maintain registration with SAM. Access and complete the online registration process. If the applicant already has an Employer Identification Number (EIN), the SAM registration will take up to 2 weeks to become active. If the applicant does not have an EIN, then the applicant should allow 2 to 5 weeks for obtaining an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service. For more information about EIN, visit
3. Acquire a GMS username and password. New users must create a GMS profile by selecting the "First Time User" link under the sign-in box of the GMS home page. For more information on how to register in GMS, go to

OJP Grant Application Resource Guide:

How to Apply:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Grants Management System:

For technical assistance with submitting an application, contact the Grants Management System Support Hotline at 888-549-9901, option 3, or via email at The GMS Support Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including on federal holidays.

For assistance with any other requirements of this solicitation, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center: toll-free at 1-800-851-3420; via TTY at 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only); email; fax to 301-240-5830; or web chat at The NCJRS Response Center operates from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., eastern time on the solicitation close date.

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Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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