National Courts and Sciences Institute

Welcome to the National Courts and Sciences Institute (NCSI), the American Home for Judicial Training in Science & Technology.

Our mission is to enhance the capacity of courts to resolve complex cases involving novel scientific and technical evidence, and, thereby, to contribute to the independence of, and public confidence in, the Judicial Branch of government.


Our Mission

NCSI implements this general mission in two ways. Our first education parameter is orientation of judges in general principles of case-related science, technology, data, and methods for determining the weight of evidence. Our second education parameter is the training of judges to be long-term resources within their jurisdictions in one of six concentrations described below. NCSI has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a public charity under section 501 (c)(3) of the Tax Code of 1984. Contributions to NCSI are deductible from federal taxation. NCSI’s EIN (employer identification number) is 46-3017128.

Learn More


NCSI Programs

All active judges of Federal and State courts are invited to NCSI’s Boot Camps, described below, but resource judges enrolled in an NCSI concentration are required to do more; in addition to  scientific orientation, they are exposed to a full spectrum of all aspects of their chosen evidence topics.  Resource judges are selected by their home jurisdictions for training scholarships.  NCSI will certify them when it determines that they have mastered the tools key to their Constitutionally established duties for assuring the fitness of the evidence in complex cases and adjudications.  Certification requires participation in a 60-hour program block, usually requiring two on-site programs and several on-line programs, over the course of a year.


Genetic Engineering Evidence

With new biochemical tools capable of surgical intervention shaping the heredity of all life forms, including humans, this concentration anticipates that new and emerging biotechnological enterprises will convert myriad ethical controversies into freshly minted legal disputes. Resource judges participate in on-line seminars and on-site technical workshops in a 60 hour curriculum. Jurisdictions’ chief judicial and administrative officers also may invite NCSI’s traveling science and legal advisors - complete with laboratories - to provide programs of various length and depth in human genetic treatments, environmental genomics and agricultural genomics.


Developmental Neurobiology, Brain Function and Risk Assessment

This concentration’s goal is to prepare judges in every jurisdiction who are familiar with several converging pathways producing brain function assessment technologies and derived test reports. NCSI will highlight their scientific foundations, their current limitations, and their forecasts. Valid, flawed and bogus brain function evidence will be discussed following heads-on experiences with neuro-imaging technologies.

Ecosystem and Climate Sciences

Environmental impact and climate status reports have taken front and center stage in the Nation’s life and debates over impact and remedies. We take no position with respect to climate change causation, for example, but will assure resource judges that they have a durable understanding of the scientific tools and measures currently adopted to assess environmental distress and shifts. This concentration emphasizes the accepted, questioned, and rejected research expected to underpin environmental cases and climate restoration initiatives, particularly those that will deal with environmental restoration controversies. Resource judges will be able to distinguish between valid and junk science and between qualified and bogus expert witnesses keyed to such cases

Molecular and Comparative Forensics

NCSI initiated this concentration in June 2017 as a laboratory-based training segment at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce, in Boulder, Colorado. Laboratory based instruction proved highly popular, a hands-on experience supports by workshop lectures and demonstrations.  Plans are being made to initiate a judges’ forensics summer school in 2019 and 2020 with collaboration from the Metro State University’s Department of Chemistry.

Health Care Outcomes Research Evidence

With health care technologies in flux, regulatory regimes struggling to keep up, and new disputes arising from every corner of the health sectors from insurances to drug prices, courts can expect a surge in civil and criminal cases over the next several years as the result of high-stakes, novel evidence of treatment outcomes.  In June 2019, NCSI will certify 20 judges in heath care outcomes research methods, clinical trial evidence, and multiple means to interpret reported evidence. Special attention in this Concentration is paid to determination of the strength of evidence claims proffered by parties.

Data Science, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence

Debuting in 2020, NCSI will recruit 20 judges and 6 judicial educators to become familiar with data science evidence and data science expert testimony likely to appear in criminal and civil cases over the next decade. Massive data troves stored in huge computer "clouds" can be mined to support or oppose claims of every kind and nuance. We explore the underpinning of such data analytics and prepare judges with the kinds of questions they can pose with respect to discovery motions and to qualify expert witnesses in pre-trial hearings and management of jury instructions. Artificial intelligence-based technologies such as facial recognition will also be assessed for validity, accuracy, strengths and weaknesses.


Our People

NCSI brings together experts in science, law, and public policy. Meet the people who make NCSI happen.