Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Reference Code
How to Apply

This is an open announcement to collect applications for future research opportunities.

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. All transcripts must be in English or include an official English translation. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • Two educational or professional recommendations

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

If you have questions, send an email to Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

Postgraduate research 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) located in Quantico, Virginia.

The CFSRU provides technical leadership for the FBI as well as for other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Additional information about CFSRU may be found at CFSRU 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 research participant may be involved in research including:

  • 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, and trace volatiles
  • Advancement of techniques for Imaging and Visualization

Under the guidance of a mentor, participants may 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.

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and FBI. The initial appointment can be for the summer or for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of FBI contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Funding is available to reimburse the participant's travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. The appointment can be full-time or part-time at FBI in the Quantico, Virginia, area. Participants do not become employees of FBI, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.


Candidates must have received a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

The candidate must be willing to undergo an extensive FBI background investigation and meet suitability criteria ( Acceptance into the VSP is dependent upon receiving an FBI clearance which grants access to FBI facilities. Candidates are encouraged to submit applications well in advance of their desired start date since background investigations can take many months.

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.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (1 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (2 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (4 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (1 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (2 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (1 )