The Forensic Examiner publisher Robert O’Block reposts the following article:

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The FBI Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit sponsors a “Visiting Scientist Program” in order to bring outstanding students and faculty to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

Program Overview

The FBI Laboratory is one of the largest and most comprehensive crime laboratories in the world and provides forensic and technical services to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies at no expense to these agencies. The Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit (CFSRU) provides technical leadership and the advancement of forensic science for the FBI as well as state and local law enforcement agencies. Scientists in the CFSRU are leading experts in their respective fields and are responsible for research and development activities; validation studies; and the transition of new forensic techniques, procedures, and protocols to the case working units within the FBI Laboratory. The results and findings of completed research projects conducted by the CFSRU scientists are published in scientific journals and presented to the forensic science community at professional meetings. In addition, the scientists provide advanced technical training in specialized fields to federal, state, and local laboratory personnel.

Since 1982, the CFSRU has sponsored the Visiting Scientist Program. Visiting Scientists include university faculty, postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates, and both graduate and undergraduate students. Postgraduate appointments are typically for one year, renewable for up to four additional years upon the recommendation of the CFSRU staff. Student and faculty appointments are normally for three months during the summer, but appointments during the academic year are also available. Participants receive monthly stipends based on the level of their education.

The Visiting Scientist Program provides a valuable connection between the FBI Laboratory and academia. Participants are afforded a unique work experience to enhance their professional development and increase their research contributions in their chosen field of study by participating in forensic science research initiatives utilizing state-of-the-art equipment at the CFSRU. Participants in the Visiting Scientist Program conduct laboratory and/or computer research, primarily involving analytical chemistry, molecular biology, or the computation of large datasets. Research is guided by experienced FBI scientists who serve as mentors. The program also serves as a mechanism for the continual transfer of knowledge from the academic community to the FBI Laboratory.

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Program Status

The FBI Visiting Scientist Program is currently accepting applications. Applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. The Visiting Scientist Program is an educational opportunity provided in cooperation with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). For additional program information and instructions on how to apply, please see “How to Apply” below.

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Required Qualifications

Students, postgraduates, and faculty are eligible to apply for the FBI Visiting Scientist Program. Applicants should have an interest in forensic science and be adept at acquiring new laboratory skills. Individuals with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, or Post-Doctorate credential in an appropriate science, engineering, or technology discipline are invited to apply. College and university faculty in the areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and other technically-related fields are also invited to apply. Preferred disciplines include Forensic Sciences and all Chemistry and Biology sub-disciplines.

Only individuals possessing strong academic credentials, outstanding character, and a high degree of motivation will be selected. In order to be considered, individuals must meet all of the following qualifications at the time that they apply:

  • Students must be attending a college or university that is accredited by one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.
  • Student applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale and be in good standing with their undergraduate or graduate degree program.
  • Postgraduate applicants still pursuing their degree must be on track to complete their degree prior to the starting date. Postgraduate applicants with degrees must have received their degree within five years of the desired starting date.
  • Faculty applicants must be full-time, permanent faculty members at an accredited U.S. college or university.
  • All candidates must be citizens of the United States.
  • Candidates must meet all FBI Employment Requirements, be able to pass an FBI Background Investigation, and receive a Secret Security Clearance.

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How to Apply

The FBI Visiting Scientist Program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). All applications must be submitted directly to ORISE. For application materials and instructions on how to apply, please see the FBI Visiting Scientist page (“Research Participation Program at the FBI”) of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities web page. Due to the time required to process the application and complete the required FBI Background Investigation, applicants should apply a minimum of six months before their desired start date (earlier applications are strongly encouraged).

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Selection Process

Participants are selected based on academic records, recommendations, applied research interests, and compatibility of background with applied research programs and projects at the CFSRU. Selection is also dependent upon availability of funds, staff programs, and equipment. Final selection of participants is made by CFSRU. The initial offer to participate in the Visiting Scientist Program is conditional because candidates selected must undergo an extensive FBI Background Investigation and receive an FBI Secret Clearance in order to be eligible to participate in the program.

The program is open to U.S. citizens without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical disability, national origin, or veteran status.

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Participants receive monthly stipends based on the level of their education. Participants are responsible for providing their own transportation and lodging. It is important to note that participants in the Visiting Scientist Program are not FBI or government employees; are ineligible for benefits associated with government employment; and participation in the program conveys no special advantage when applying for FBI job vacancies.

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