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Research Project Description

Research Participation Program
Laboratory Division
Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Quantico, VA

FBI-CFSRU 2010-01

Project Description:

Postgraduate and/or faculty research training opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. Appointments will be served in the Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit’s (CFSRU) Visiting Scientist Program (VSP).

The CFSRU ( provides technical leadership for the FBI as well as for other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The CFSRU sponsors the VSP ( which offers participants an opportunity to enhance their professional development and increase their research capabilities and contributions by participating in forensic research initiatives utilizing state-of-the-art equipment under the mentorship of CFSRU scientists. The VSP additionally exposes participants to a work environment in a high security government facility and provides an opportunity to perform research in areas of interest unique to law enforcement and national security.

The CFSRU has available project openings for visiting scientists in multiple disciplines. Areas of current research include:

Human identification

  • Detection of Bio-threat agents
  • Detection of explosives and drugs
  • Characterization and comparison of forensic materials
  • Elemental analysis of trace evidence
  • Mass spectrometry applications to chemical and biological analyses, including IRMS
  • Development of instrumental methods
  • Evaluation of field portable instrumentation
  • Advancement of forensic chemistry, specifically in toxicology, human scent analysis, and trace volatiles
  • Advancement of techniques for Imaging and Visualization 

Participants will be involved in some or all of the following:

  • Conducting searches of scientific literature
  • Designing experimental plans
  • Conducting field tests
  • Performing analytical laboratory analyses
  • Analyzing instrumental data/ documenting results
  • Preparing and presenting research findings to diverse audiences, both orally and in writing 

Participants will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment in the research commensurate with their level of training. Participants with advanced research experience will have the opportunity to conceptualize and execute an original plan of research, establish research priorities and deadlines, perform sophisticated laboratory techniques using emerging technologies, judge the completeness and accuracy of research results, perform statistical analyses on data, and prepare written manuscripts for FBI review and publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Release of any information acquired during participation in this program is at the sole discretion of the FBI.


Applicants must have received a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree within five years of the desired starting date or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date, or a full-time faculty member at an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants will need to possess a degree in a science appropriate to current project needs (biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, geology, environmental science, toxicology, anthropology, or statistics).

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship is required and the applicant must be willing to undergo an extensive FBI background investigation ( Acceptance into the VSP is dependent upon receiving a FBI clearance which grants access to FBI facilities. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications well in advance of their desired start date since background investigations can take many months. 

The appointment may be part- or full-time for one year and may be renewed for up to four additional years depending upon educational level and availability of funding. The participant will receive a competitive monthly stipend based upon educational level. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an FBI employee.

Funding is available to reimburse the participant's travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences.

The FBI Laboratory is located on the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. There is no public transportation or housing available on the Marine Corps Base, so participants must be able to provide their own transportation and housing.  

How to Apply:

The Research Participation Program for the FBI is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Please reference Project # FBI-CFSRU 2010-01 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application materials contact: Research Participation Program/FBI, Attn: Betty Bowling, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-0117, Phone: (865) 576-8503 FAX: (865) 241-5219 e-mail:

An application can be found at