Question and Answers for Specific Solicitations

NIJ posts on this page links to questions and answers related to specific solicitations. Select a solicitation title below to view associated questions and answers. If you do not see the specific solicitation to which you are applying in this list, then no questions and answers have been posted.

Fiscal Year 2015 Solicitations


Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

Q-1: Can we submit applications in more than one category?
A: Yes.
Q-2: Can my local or state education agency (LEA or SEA) use this grant to purchase a school safety service or product? 
A: Yes, but the purpose of this funding is not simply to purchase school safety services or products. As stated on page 12 of the solicitation, “The goal of this CSSI solicitation is to fund rigorous research that produces practical knowledge that can improve the safety of schools and students across the nation.”  On page 6, “Every award made under CSSI must include a carefully developed research strategy with clear potential for producing findings that have practical benefits for schools, students and communities at large.”  
Q-3: My business or organization provides school safety services or products to local education agencies. Can I tell local education agencies to apply for funding under this initiative to pay for my service or product? 
A: Yes. However, the purpose of this funding is not simply to purchase school safety services or products (see the answer to Q-2 above).  Also, developers, service providers, and manufacturers should understand that NIJ is seeking diversity in funded projects.  NIJ is very unlikely to make multiple awards to examine the exact same service or product.  From page 5 of the solicitation, “While studies looking at similar topics will be considered, NIJ may give priority in award decisions to well-designed research that expands the range of issues and strategies beyond this current pool of funded projects.”
Q-4: Does the application have to be submitted by a research entity?
A: No. However, NIJ strongly recommends that the research entity serve as the applicant in cases where local or state education agencies are partnering with a researcher. (see page 6 of the solicitation for further discussion). All applicants are encouraged to carefully consider the capabilities and competencies of all proposed project staff and make provisions to ensure research and evaluation independence and integrity (see pages 26-27 of the solicitation). 
Q-5: In Category 1, must applicants propose to study efficacy, effectiveness, and cost/benefit?
A: No. Individual applicants are not required to address efficacy, effectiveness, and cost/benefit. An individual applicant may propose to address one or more of these. 
Q-6: Is funding under categories 2 and 3 restricted to only research, or can an applicant include funding for school safety activity costs under these categories?
A: No. .  Applicants may propose expenses in these areas if such expenses advance the purposes of the proposed research. The solicitation does not specify a mandatory portion of the budget be applied to school safety personnel, programs, equipment, materials, or activities.
Q-7: If two or three awards will be made in Category 4, how is it intended to produce “a single comprehensive school safety framework?”
A: Awards under Category 4 will be cooperative agreements that involve a higher degree of coordination between NIJ and the grant recipients. Each applicant to Category 4 is expected to propose an initial framework and those that receive awards will further develop and test that framework during the award period.  NIJ anticipates peer-to-peer sharing of information between projects funded under this category. NIJ will work with funded projects to seek a single evidence-based framework. The final outcome may be a single unified framework, a single framework with variations, or multiple related frameworks that apply in different circumstances.   
Q-8: Is there a program officer at NIJ with whom I may speak directly about my proposal idea?
A: All inquiries for this solicitation should be submitted to NIJschoolsafety@usdoj.gov. In order to maintain fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not provide guidance on research scope and design. Other inquiries will be responded to via email. 
Q-9: Will NIJ help connect interested local education agencies with research entities?
A: No.

Collecting Digital Evidence from Large-Scale Computer Systems and Networks

Q-1: What do you define as a large-scale computer system?
A: For the purposes of this solicitation, a large-scale computer system is a large network – not to include the cloud. The best way to picture this is an instance where a crime scene (e.g., a business) has a large onsite network that may contain evidence of whatever crime is in question (e.g., theft of trade secrets, embezzlement, child pornography).
Q-2: Is this solicitation specifically targeting digital forensic research on high performance computing clusters, enterprise level networks comprised of individual desktop/servers, or some other type of system?
A: The solicitation is targeting an enterprise network comprised of individual desktop/servers configuration.
Q-3: What is meant by focusing on the collection of evidence regarding criminal intent and criminal activity not necessarily affecting the network?
A: The objective of the solicitation is the collection of evidence where the network may be used to commit the crime (e.g., embezzlement, theft) or conceal the crime (e.g., child pornography). This solicitation is not directed at the collection of evidence where the network itself is the target (e.g., botnets, malware).
Q-4: Is there a stronger emphasis on “wiretap” type evidence collection on a network or the extraction of evidence from devices connected to the network?
A: We are interested in the extraction of evidence from the network, and attached devices, being used to commit a crime.
Q-5: What are the primary pain points, such as usability or scalability, that law enforcement agencies have using existing network forensics tools in large-scale computer systems?
A: The application should include an identification of the issues faced by the criminal justice community and to propose a solution that best serves the criminal justice community. The relevance of the identified problem will be weighed along with the proposed solution in the application review process.
Q-6: Do you define large-scale computer networks to include peer-to-peer technologies?
A: For the purposes of this solicitation, a large-scale computer system is a large network – not to include the cloud. NIJ and other organizations have already made significant research and technology development investments that have led to the introduction of innovative means for collecting and processing digital evidence from peer to peer networks. For reference, please see Digital Evidence Analysis: Peer-to-Peer Analysis. Please also note that one of the selection criteria on which proposals that are submitted to this solicitation will be evaluated is their potential to produce significant scientific or technical advance(s).

Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Q-1: Is Geographic Information Science an eligible discipline under GRF-STEM?
A: Yes. This is an eligible field of study under the category "computer and information sciences and engineering."
Q-2: Will the GRF-STEM opportunity be offered again in the future?
A: We anticipate similar calls for applications to be announced annually, pending the availability of funds.
Q-3: Can you explain what is meant by the "management plan and organization" to be included in the program narrative?
A: This refers to a brief description of the people to be involved in the execution of the project, their specific roles, and any framework to be used for ensuring that tasks are fulfilled.
Q-4: Can my proposed thesis research overlap with research included in a currently funded NIJ grant under my research advisor?
A: Yes. This is not itself a disqualifying factor. However, the GRF-STEM proposal must be sufficiently detailed, in addition to contextualizing the proposed doctoral work relative to, or within, the work being conducted under the existing NIJ award, which must be specifically identified. If the student will commit measurable time and effort to both awards, then these commitments should be clarified as part of the student’s project management plan. Furthermore, because payment for the same work or research materials cannot be duplicated by two grant sources, the budgets of the two awards in question will have to be reconciled.
Q-5:Has the closing date for the STEM GRF solicitation been changed to May 30, 2015.
A: No. The closing date remains March 30, 2015.

See also general frequently asked questions about the Graduate Research Fellowship Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.


Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes

Q-1: Are Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) eligible to apply to the Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes solicitation?
A: Yes. As stated on page one of the solicitation, “NIJ may also enter into interagency agreements with Federal entities in appropriate cases.”  This includes Federally Funded Research and Development Center laboratories, as listed on NSF’s master government list (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdclist/).
Q-2: Are foreign entities eligible to apply?
A: No. As stated on page one of the solicitation, “Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.”
Q-3: Are foreign entities eligible to partner with a US-based entity?
A: As stated on page one of the solicitation, “Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.”  However, the recipient of an award may make a subaward or subcontract to a foreign entity.

Please note that any subawards/subcontracts to foreign entities may also undergo a review by our Office of General Counsel prior to being approved. Awards that involve sub-awards must comply with the requirements of Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Furthermore, sub-contracts over $150K may require approval through a “Sole Source” grant action, if an award were made.
Q-4: Can NIJ provide guidance on whether or not a proposal idea would be appropriate for this solicitation?
A: No. Until a full proposal is reviewed, we cannot fully determine responsiveness to the solicitation. The intent of this program is to direct the findings of basic scientific research, research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science, and ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective and rapid methods for the identification, analysis and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.

We suggest you carefully read the solicitation, with special attention to the “Program-Specific Information” section, as well as the “What will not be funded” section. This should assist you in assessing whether or not your concept for proposal is appropriate for submission to this solicitation. The applicant agency must determine the appropriateness of the scope of their proposal. In order to maintain fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not provide guidance on research scope and design. All submitted applications that meet eligibility and content requirements as described in the solicitation will undergo an external peer review process.
Q-5: Is there a program officer at NIJ with whom I may speak with directly about my proposal idea?
A: All inquiries to the solicitation should be submitted to forensic.research@usdoj.gov. In order to maintain fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not provide guidance on research scope and design. Any other inquires will be responded to via email.
Q-6: Is the “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form a requirement even if we will not be lobbying, and if so, how do we complete the form if we do not intend to lobby?
A: The “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” requirement is associated with any lobbying activities that apply under 31 USC 1352. If you do not have any applicable activities, then “N/A” should be entered for any required field. Please note that this requirement is not solely associated with a use of awarded funds for lobbying (grant funds under this program may not be used for lobbying activities) – any lobbying activities that qualify should be reported.
Q-7: If my project will not involve human subjects, is this form still required?
A: Yes. The “Protection of Human Subjects” form is mandatory for all R&D applications. If this project will not involve human subjects then simply complete boxes 1-5 and 9-17, and under box 8 “Comments” simply state: “This project will not involve human subjects”. Leave items 6 and 7 blank. 
Q-8: Where do I upload my program narrative, budget narrative, budget detail worksheet and other related attachments?
A: When submitting the application to Grants.gov, there is a document titled “Attachment.”  This document can be used to upload any required files (such as program narrative, budget detail worksheet, etc.). It will accept multiple attachments. There is no required order for uploading the attachments. Please keep in mind that OJP strongly recommends that applicants use appropriately descriptive file names (e.g., “Program Narrative,” “Budget Detail Worksheet and Budget Narrative,” “Timelines,” “Memoranda of Understanding,” “Resumes”) for all attachments.
Q-9:What is the maximum consultant rate per day? What if the consultant compensation would exceed that rate?
A: Anyone who is used in a consultant capacity — that is paid an individual paid hourly for their time — must be compensated at less than the $650/day maximum or receive a waiver.  Please note that waivers are difficult to obtain and not often granted. One exception to this is if the consultancy is contracted out through a documented fair and competitive process. Alternatively, if an entity is contracted to perform a certain scope of work for a flat fee, this could be listed under contracts and would not be subject to the $650 per day maximum. Such a line item would need to be approved as being an appropriate cost for the scope of work.
Q-10: May a collaborative proposal be submitted to this solicitation by multiple researchers from different agencies?  
A: Yes, a collaborative proposal may be submitted, however only one eligible entity may serve as the applicant agency. If an award were made, this institution would receive the award and funds used to financially support colleagues or Co-PIs at partnering institutions would have to be supported through a sub-award. Please note that awards that involve sub-awards must comply with the requirements of Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Furthermore, sub-contracts over $150K may require approval through a “Sole Source” grant action, if an award were made.
Q-11: Would it possible to have the funds directly awarded to subrecipients or is it necessary for the funds to be transferred from the primary applicant to subrecipients?
A: NIJ cannot fund cannot fund subrecipients directly. If an award were made to the applicant agency then the applicant agency is responsible for the transfer of funds to any proposed subrecipients. Please note that awards that involve sub-awards must comply with the requirements of Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Furthermore, sub-contracts over $150K may require approval through a “Sole Source” grant action, if an award were made.

Developing a Method to Valuate Law Enforcement Data

Q-1: Two NIJ programs are referenced in the “Program-Specific Information” section of this solicitation; 1) Mapping of the national criminal justice architecture and 2) The development and testing of an evaluation methodology to measure the outcomes of existing information sharing systems. Is the in-progress work on these two programs available for use in preparing responses to this solicitation?
A: No. NIJ has no in-progress work that it can share.

You can access to the description of the two ongoing projects on NIJ.gov: You also can view the solicitations under which those projects were funded:

Use of Suicide Prevention and Intervention Strategies by Law Enforcement Agencies

Q-1: Does “agencies” in this context include only police agencies, or does it include correctional agencies as well?
A: For purposes of this solicitation, “agencies” are defined to include police departments and sheriff’s offices and not to include correctional institutions.

Review general funding FAQs from NIJ.

See FAQs from past year solicitations.

Date Modified: May 15, 2015