Email Print Share
NSF 23-150

Dear Colleague Letter: Graduate Research Internships in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Contexts (NSF-NIJ INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity

September 11, 2023

Dear Colleague:

In the past decade, the forensic science enterprise has focused on assessing the scientific foundations of existing forensic methods while also pursuing scientific innovation. Collaboration between research scientists, forensic practitioners and other members of the criminal justice community has proven to be an effective way to bring together research acumen and innovative ideas with an appreciation of the needs of the practitioner and the broader criminal justice landscape. These collaborations often include graduate students who represent the next generation of forensic scientists and practitioners. In 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) renewed a memorandum of understanding to advance shared interests in fundamental research in the social, behavioral and forensic sciences, including the goal of supporting education and training opportunities that bridge basic research and forensic application. This NSF-NIJ INTERN Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) encourages submission of INTERN supplemental funding requests for graduate students who are currently supported on NSF-funded projects to pursue non-academic research internships in forensic science and criminal justice contexts. Examples of such contexts include but are not limited to public or private forensic laboratories or research and development units, nonprofit organizations focusing on forensic or criminal justice matters, law enforcement agencies, and the medico-legal and judicial systems.

This opportunity is aligned with and conforms with the NSF INTERN opportunity described in the Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity. Recipients submitting an INTERN supplemental funding request are required to have a policy or code of conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. For more information, read about NSF policies regarding harassment and the "Promising Practices" that NSF is encouraging.


NSF will consider supplemental funding requests that enable a Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI to request up to six months of additional support for a graduate student supported on an active NSF award with the following goals:

  • To provide graduate students with opportunities to augment their research assistantships or NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowships with forensic science or criminal justice research internship and training opportunities that will complement their academic research training.
  • To allow graduate students to engage in professional development experiences that will enhance their preparation for multiple career pathways after graduation.
  • To encourage the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


To be eligible, graduate students must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate programs (master's or doctoral) and be making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree.

Recipients with awards that include funding for graduate students, including institutional Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) awards, are eligible to submit a supplemental funding request. The PI for an active GRFP fellowship (not the GRFP fellow) should contact GRFP ( regarding specific requirements before submitting a supplemental funding request on behalf of a GRFP fellow.


Given the potential breadth of forensic science and criminal justice contexts in which graduate student research internships might occur, interested students and PIs may identify internship opportunities through a variety of advertised and non-advertised channels. The NSF-NIJ internship opportunity web page lists federal agencies, professional societies, and legal and other organizations that have provided points of contact or informational links regarding potential internship programs or opportunities. The list will be updated as needed. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Students and PIs are also encouraged to consider potential local and regional opportunities.


Each supplemental funding request must include the NSF-NIJ INTERN DCL title and DCL number in the summary section of the request and include the components described in INTERN Supplemental Funding Opportunity DCL (NSF 21-013).


The total amount of funding requested must not exceed $55,000 per student for one six-month period. NSF plans to fund about 10 supplements per fiscal year, depending on the availability of funds.


The supplement funding will provide up to six months of support for an internship. Note: only one supplemental funding request may be submitted for a given student. A PI or co-PI may submit no more than one request per year of their award if there are multiple graduate students supported by the award, with the exception that GRFP will consider requests for internships for more than one GRFP Fellow from a single GRFP award.


Supplemental funding requests may be submitted at any time.


Requests for supplemental funding must be submitted via A PI or Co-PI with an NSF award should contact the program director who manages the award prior to submission. GRFP INTERN supplement requests are submitted by the GRFP PI, not by the GRFP fellow or the fellow's research advisor. Requests for supplemental funding submitted in response to this DCL will be reviewed internally by NSF program officers. All supplements are subject to (a) the availability of funds and (b) merit review of the supplemental funding request.

For further information, please contact: Dr. Rebecca Ferrell,, or Dr. Prakash Balan,


Sylvia Butterfield, Acting Assistant Director
Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

Susan Marqusee, Assistant Director
Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)

Margaret Martonosi, Assistant Director
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

James L. Moore, Assistant Director
Directorate for STEM Education (EDU)

Susan Margulies, Assistant Director
Directorate for Engineering (ENG)

Alexandra Isern, Assistant Director
Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)

Sean L. Jones, Assistant Director
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)

Alicia Knoedler, Office Head
Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Erwin Gianchandani, Assistant Director
Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)