This Fact Sheet of the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) reports the features, goals, and achievements of BJA’s Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (the Coverdell Program}.
The Coverdell Program awards grants to states and units of local government to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services. State Administering Agencies (SAAs) may apply for both “base” (formula) and competitive grants. Units of local government may apply for competitive funds. Coverdell grants must be used for one or more of six purposes: 1) To improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services in the state; 2) To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence; 3) To train, assist, and employ forensic laboratory personnel; 4) To address emerging forensic science issues (such as statistics, contextual bias, and uncertainty of measurement) and emerging forensic science technology; 5) To educate and train forensic pathologists; and 6) To facilitate the accreditation and certification of medicolegal death investigators. Of 1,590 Coverdell awards funded since fiscal year 2002, 953 formula awards were received by states. Program funding and awards are reported for fiscal years 2002 through 2021.