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 2016 Solicitations


W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Race and Crime

Download the solicitation W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Race and Crime (pdf, 33 pages)

Q-1: Is a JD considered a “terminal degree?”
A: The JD is considered a terminal degree and meets the eligibility criteria for the solicitation.

Evaluation of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

Download the solicitation Evaluation of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (pdf, 32 pages).

Q-1: Is the current Sexual Assault Kit Initiative training and technical assistance provider eligible to submit a response to this solicitation or is this considered to be a conflict of interest?
A: Yes, it would be a conflict of interest. Members of the proposed evaluation team must not have any role in the TTA, unless the applicant intends to recuse themselves from the training and technical assistance.

Longitudinal Cohort Study of Interpersonal Violence Among College-Aged Women and Men: Planning Phase

Download the solicitation Longitudinal Cohort Study of Interpersonal Violence Among College-Aged Women and Men: Planning Phase (pdf, 31 pages)

Q-1: Is OMB approval needed in order to pilot a survey instrument and study protocols or is OMB approval required only for the administration of the larger survey after the two-year planning period?
A: OMB approval needs to obtained in order to pilot the instrument and study protocols.
Q-2:The solicitation states that “Initial funding under this solicitation will cover an initial 24-month planning phase. NIJ anticipates that additional funding will become available to support implementation of a longitudinal study involving the recruitment and retention of five waves of students over six years (4-5 years of college plus 1-2 years post-graduation) attending four-year residential colleges and universities.” Can NIJ clarify whether this means recruitment of the sample during freshman year and following that cohort over the 6 year period or does it mean recruitment of the baseline sample across several years of the college career (freshman-seniors) and following those individuals over the six years?
A: Recruitment of the college-based sample should occur prior to the start of freshman year and the same time-frame should be used for recruitment of the comparable community based/non-residential 4-year college sample.
Q-3: Does NIJ envision a cross sectional study design in which a sample of students and a comparison group are measured each year for a 6 year period?
A: This particular question should be answered as part of the planning phase. There are different design approaches that can be used that are not necessarily cross-sectional. NIJ is interested in each cohort (students and comparison) measured at minimum once per year, however, during the planning phase different approaches can be proposed and evaluated such as interviews more or less often over the course of the study.
Q-4: A comparison group of individuals not attending four-year residential colleges and universities should be included.” Can NIJ clarify what the ideal comparison group should look like?
A: The applicant can consider proposing an appropriate comparison sample, however, this will be refined during the planning phase.
Q-5: Per page 4 of the solicitation, "Initial funding under this solicitation should cover an initial 24-month planning phase in anticipation of additional funding becoming available to support the recruitment and retention of five waves (over six years) of college students and individuals not attending four-year residential colleges." Can these “waves” be assessment periods or do they have to be staggered cohorts?
A: Per the solicitation language, "NIJ anticipates that additional funding will become available to support implementation of a longitudinal study involving the recruitment and retention of five waves of students over six years (4-5 years of college plus 1-2 years post-graduation) attending four-year residential colleges and universities. A comparison group of individuals not attending four-year residential colleges and universities should be included." These should be separate cohorts recruited over 5 consecutive years. We anticipate that each cohort will be followed for 6 years.

Research and Evaluation on Domestic Radicalization to Violent Extremism: Prevention and Intervention Demonstration Programs

Download the solicitation Research and Evaluation on Domestic Radicalization to Violent Extremism: Prevention and Intervention Demonstration Programs (pdf, 33 pages)

Q-1: Will the government provide a definition of what is considered a program?
A: A: For the purposes of this solicitation, we choose to use the definition of program found on CrimeSolutions.gov: “A planned, coordinated group of activities and processes designed to achieve a specific purpose. A program should have specified procedures (e.g., a defined curriculum, an explicit number of treatment or service hours, and an optimal length of treatment) to ensure the program is implemented with fidelity to its model.”
Q-2: Are efforts to counter violent extremism via internet-based initiatives within the definition of a program?
A: Yes. Programs focused on the ways in which radicalization to violent extremism manifests itself online will be considered under this solicitation.
Q-3: May an offeror present an application to evaluate an existing program with a budget split closer to 50 percent design and partner collaboration, and 50 percent partner collaboration and implementation?
A: Yes. The 75/25 percent split found in the solicitation is not a hard and fast delimitation. NIJ wants applicants to craft the budget that best fits the needs of the proposed evaluation, and will evaluate the budget in the context of the identified need, proposed activities and potential impact of the evaluation.
Q-4: Approximately how many applications do you receive?
A: This is the fifth year of this specific call for proposals. In this time, NIJ has averaged between 25 and 35 applications per year.
Q-5: How many of those applications are denied immediately for not meeting basic requirements?
A: There have been very few applications denied outright in past years, and all of them were duplicate applications. In each case, NIJ worked with the applicants to identify which application was the intended one. It does not appear that NIJ has denied any applications due to lack of proper documentation.
Q-6: Can you explain the 75/25 percent split requirement?
A: NIJ expects that demonstration program applications will propose to support costs related to implementation and development of the program itself. That might include personnel, program expenses, equipment, materials, training and other activities intended to counter violent extremism. In the case of demonstration programs, NIJ is willing to fund up to 75 percent of the award toward those expenses. The other 25 percent would support essentially the action research element — that is, for the research partners to support activities related to data collection, analysis, direct personnel costs to develop reports, etc.
Q-7: The budge split is suggested for demonstration programs. Is there a suggested budget split for evaluation of existing programs?
A: With regard to the evaluation of existing programs, applicants may propose to split costs somewhat differently. For example, an applicant may choose to replicate an existing program in a new location. In this case, they can use the same 75/25 split as a demonstration project. There may also be applications that are looking to evaluate existing programs. In those cases, the existing program may already have funding, and there may be latitude in terms of how to split funding. These applicants may have a greater proportion of their proposed resources going toward the evaluation.
Q-8: Is there a list of organizations that are conducting work on violent extremism?
A: NIJ does not have such a list, though NIJ.gov does have a list of all prior NIJ awards. Some organizations can be found online, and you can search online for published studies that mention such programs.
Q-9: The focus of this webinar has been on intervention and prevention. Will any consideration be given to research focused on understanding radicalization (i.e., research with an eye toward developing intervention and prevention efforts, but with no specific plan to do so)?
A: NIJ will consider applications that are focused more research than evaluation. Research-focused applications would not be rejected and will receive a full review. However, NIJ’s emphasis this year is on evaluation and demonstration efforts. It is difficult to say before all applications have been reviewed whether there would be enough funding for research. It will depend on the number of high-quality applications that will help NIJ to look at promising practices as they pertain to prevention, intervention, engagement and disengagement efforts in the United States.
Q-10: Would research conducted by previous awards be available?
A: Final grant reports for completed projects are available at www.ncjrs.gov. You can also find a list of funded projects, including completed projects, with links to their final reports on NIJ.gov. Of the 23 projects in this area that NIJ has funded to date, only a handful have been completed. NIJ is in the process of reviewing a number of reports, and those will be published in the coming months. Keep an eye on NIJ’s website and Facebook page for news on when these reports are released.
Keep in mind, however, that this particular solicitation is somewhat different from years. There is a two-year project period on this solicitation. In years past, the projects were often three years or sometimes longer.
Q-11: Do all peer reviewers have backgrounds specifically in countering violent extremism?
A: Most of NIJ’s peer reviewers on the technical side will have backgrounds in violence prevention; this background may or may not be specific to violent extremism. NIJ normally looks for technical reviewers that have a sufficient depth of scientific knowledge to comment on the methodology and on the technical design and viability of the approach. Then, NIJ will team these reviewers with practitioners who are more familiar with violent extremism, so that they can comment on the approach and the impact. This ensures that results from the completed study will have the intended results for the field.
Q-12: What is the extent of evidence expected during proposal submissions pertaining to coordination with other stakeholders, communities and organizations?
A: NIJ request that applicants provide letters of support when proposing to partner with stakeholder agencies or organizations. Especially when talking about a program that will be evaluated, NIJ would like to see a letter of support stating that the program wants to participate in the evaluation. Likewise, the demonstrated history of collaboration with those stakeholder organizations or partners is also encouraged. There are organizations that cannot provide of these letters: law enforcement agencies, government agencies, U.S. attorney’s offices, and others that may have policies in place against providing those sorts of letters. It is okay to discuss in the application that you tried to make contact with those organizations.
​​

Research and Evaluation on Victims of Crime

Download the solicitation Research and Evaluation on Victims of Crime (pdf, 32 pages)

Q-1: Does this grant opportunity fund international research or research on domestic issues only? We would be applying as a for-profit organization but our research would be on the topic of foreign government/organizations.
A: Like other NIJ grant programs, NIJ’s grants may support transnational research or research that is conducted (in full or in part) outside the United States. Keep in mind, however, that NIJ’s core mission is to support research that informs criminal justice policy and practice in the U.S. Any proposed transnational or international research will be evaluated in terms of its relevance and practical value to U.S. criminal justice policy and practice.

FY 2016 Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

Download FY 2016 Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (pdf, 40 pages)

Q-1: Would suicide prevention be considered a type of violence prevention under category 2 of the solicitation?
A: As stated on page 4 of the solicitation, “the CSSI initiative is concerned with all forms of interpersonal violence” that occur on school property, at school-sponsored events, and so on. Although suicide is certainly a safety concern for students, it is not a form of interpersonal violence.
Q-2: If an applicant applies under Category 4, Longitudinal Studies, can the cohort definition be applied to a cohort of schools or is that term solely reserved for cohorts of individual students?
A: The term cohort in this solicitation refers to a group of students.
Q-3: Can some of the funds for a category 3 proposal be used to support the programmatic activity, say in a pilot study?
A: Yes

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence- Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting Program (SAFE-ITR)

Download the solicitation Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence - Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting Program (SAFE-ITR) (pdf, 33 pages).

Q-1: Under this solicitation, can an application be submitted for a state-wide tracking program (involving multiple jurisdictions within the State) with a single (State) agency as the administrator, or can only a single jurisdiction (such as a unit of local government) apply?
A: As stated in the eligibility requirements on page 1 of the solicitation, a State, unit of local government, or federally recognized Indian tribe that collects, stores, maintains and/or sends forensic DNA evidence to an existing and accredited crime laboratory that complies with the DNA Quality Assurance Standards and participates in the National DNA Index System (NDIS) may apply.

NIJ would accept and consider for funding an application from an eligible State for a state-wide tracking program (involving multiple jurisdictions within the State) with a single (State) agency as the administrator. An example of this would be an application submitted by a “fiscal agent” such as a State Administering Agency, which would then provide federal award funds to multiple eligible jurisdictions (subrecipients) within the applicant State.

In this example, the applicant State (the “fiscal agent” submitting the application that would administer the grant, if funded) would be responsible for facilitating or otherwise coordinating efforts in the State with any units of local government that would be funded under a SAFE-ITR award to the State in order to gather information needed for the application, including any information regarding the inventory of unsubmitted SAKs. The applicant State would need to make a proper certification under the program. See page 5 of the solicitation, which has different certification requirements depending on the tasks for which funding would be requested.

It would not be necessary for the State fiscal agent submitting the application to have physical possession (or custody) of all SAKs to be covered under the State’s application. See page 7 of the solicitation for a definition of possession for purposes of this program. Under an application for a state-wide tracking program, however, all SAKs for which funding is requested under the program must be in the possession of the applicant State, whether by way of storage, custody, or control by an agency (or instrumentality) of the State; by an individual acting (as a legal matter) as an agent of the State; or by a political subdivision of a State that would receive funds as a subrecipient under the State’s application (if funded).

Speaking with regard to the certifying official (chief law enforcement officer of the applicant) for an applicant State’s SAFE-ITR inventory certification – again using the “fiscal agent” example described above – entities in the State that would receive funds requested under the State’s application would need to coordinate internally to provide any necessary documentation or information to the applicant State’s certifying official to support a proper (fully informed) certification under this program. Also note that on page 6, the solicitation states—
“The chief law enforcement officer of the applicant State, unit of local government, or Indian tribe must be the identified individual accountable for compliance and reporting within the applicant jurisdiction. The chief law enforcement officer can appoint a designee as long as the designee is not an employee of any governmental laboratory or vendor laboratory.”
Q-2: Do SAKs collected anonymously need to be included in our agencies inventory count? There could be circumstances when an anonymous SAKs are collected at our agency’s patrol office and kept as evidence but not sent to the crime lab to be tested. Therefore the crime lab (who maintains the database inventory) would not have those particular SAKs in their possession.
A: The intent of the program is to assist eligible States, units of local government, and tribal governments to inventory, track, and report all untested and unsubmitted SAKs and help these jurisdictions ensure accountability and transparency for the collection, processing and testing of SAKs. Per Task 1 on page 5 of the solicitation, “[a]pplicants must inventory all existing SAKs in the applicant’s possession,” where possession by a State or unit of local government includes the storage, control, or custody by an agency (or individual who is acting as an agent) of the State or unit of local government. Reporting is not required for SAKs that are not considered criminal evidence, such as a SAK collected anonymously from a victim who is unwilling to make a criminal complaint (see Exceptions from reporting on page 7). A secondary goal of the solicitation is to understand the movement of SAKs through the criminal justice system (see Additional goals on page 8), and therefore NIJ encourages applicants to identify all untested SAKs to gain a full understanding of all untested sexual assault kits.

Developing Improved Means to Collect Digital Evidence

Download the solicitation Developing Improved Means to Collect Digital Evidence (pdf, 34 pages).

Q-1: Who is eligible for NIJ awards?
A: Generally, NIJ provides funding to the following: educational institutions; public agencies; nonprofit organizations; faith-based organizations; individuals; for-profit organizations willing to waive their fees; federal agencies, unless specifically stated otherwise in the solicitation document; and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFDRC). If the solicitation does not indicate that applications from “federal agencies” will be accepted, a FFRDC has the option of applying as its private-sector entity type, whatever that may be (for-profit, non-profit, etc.), and a grant or cooperative agreement could be awarded to the entity that administers the FFRDC.
Q-2: What size agency (or what size digital forensic investigation department) is the tool envisioned in the solicitation targeted towards? We are considering ways to address learning curve issues that could arise from infrequent use of a potentially complex and highly technical tool suite.
A: While this solicitation is competitive and we cannot have individual conversations concerning the solicitation with prospective applicants, should an applicant want to propose a technology for a particularly sized agency, they should articulate why and the impact that will have in advancing the goals and objectives of the solicitation.
Q-3: Is NIJ aware of any notable historical state and local law enforcement cases or canonical cases where such a tool could be useful?
A: We would expect that such examples, if deemed needful, would be offered by the applicant in their proposal.
Q-4: Would we maintain ownership over the intellectual property or would NIJ now have joint ownership of any new technology developed under this solicitation?
A: NIJ follows standard practice with regard to intellectual property. In general, this means that an awardee may retain the entire right, title, and interest throughout the world to each invention developed under an award with Federal funding, subject to the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 203. With respect to any such invention in which the awardee retains title, the Federal government shall have a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice or have practiced for or on behalf of the United States the subject invention throughout the world.

The respective rights of the Federal government and the prospective awardee regarding intellectual property will be detailed in one or more award special conditions. If those conditions are not acceptable to the prospective awardee, it has the option of not accepting the award.


FY 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program

Download the solicitation FY 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program (pdf, 35 pages).

Q-1: In this year’s solicitation, there has been a change in the performance metrics from last year; that is, the phrase “by type” was added to the description of data required under the “Reduction in response time for requests” performance measure (p. 20). We have services in our LIMS system of serology, DNA, DNA/serology, and CODIS. Is that what is intended by the addition of “by type”?
A: The “by type” should be distinguished as either forensic biology analysis request or DNA analysis request.
Q-2: If there are multiple recipients in my state, how do I allocate the funds within my application?
A: If there is more than one public DNA laboratory within a State, funds generally are expected to be allocated among the eligible applicants on the basis of the UCR Part 1 Violent Crimes, UCR Property Crimes, and population of the State, in a fashion that ensures that the total funding requested by all applicant agencies from each State does not exceed the aggregate level listed for the State. The formula calculation for the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program used by NIJ is an internal formula to determine the allocations per State. NIJ expects applicants from States with multiple eligible applicants to coordinate among themselves to set a minimum level of funding for each applicant so that, if practicable, each eligible applicant within the State receives a minimum of $150,000, regardless of whether its proportion of available funding based on UCR Part 1 Violent Crimes, UCR Property Crimes and population of the State reaches $150,000.
Q-3: In past years, my laboratory has applied for funds under a single application and then dispersed funds to sub-recipients within our state. This year, all sub-recipients will apply separately for funding. Is this the correct method to remove all sub-recipients from my laboratories award?
A: Yes, having former-sub-recipient apply separately is the correct method to remove them from any 2016 award to your laboratory. However, any open/active awards will remain the responsibility of the original applicant.
Q-4: How detailed does the timeline called for in the plan need to be? For example, can we simply state that we will be purchasing a piece of equipment in the first half of 2017, or do we need to state a particular month? Do we need to state each specific piece of equipment with a specific date or can we be more open as to when the purchase will be done?
A: The project design and implementation timeline should be an overview of the activities proposed in the application. This is an estimated timeline that should outline milestones throughout the project period. For example, purchase equipment May 2017, validation of equipment July of 2017 and equipment in use September 2017.
Q-5: What is meant by "significantly involved in substantive aspects?" Forensic science staff, administrative staff (directly involved in implementing the grant), administrative staff (indirectly involved in the payment of purchase orders, etc.) As a state organization, there are several layers of bureaucracy. How much is needed to address this requirement?
A: Individuals that are paid for by the grant, scientists need to be identified by their title, hourly rate (pay grade) and number of hours to be worked. Administrative staff should be identified by title, hourly rate (pay grade) and number of hours worked.
Q-6: There will be several dozen forensic scientists participating in overtime. Do we need to identify each forensic scientist by name and submit CVs for all of them? Or can we simply mention that there will be multiple forensic scientists working overtime and give a general description of their job qualifications and duties? Same question for travel to conferences. There will be multiple people going to these and we have not identified these individuals yet.
A: Individuals working participating in overtime should be identified by their title, hourly rate (pay grade) and number of hours to be worked. A general description of each pay grade should be provided. As for travel, the number of individuals traveling will suffice.
Q-7: Should fiscal staff be included in the project if their only involvment is in paying purchase orders and keeping track of our spending?
A: If the fiscal staff are using DNA funds as administrative costs, they should be identified by their title, hourly rate (pay grade) and number of hours to be worked.
Q-8: Is retention and continued funding of additional analysts who were hired using prior year grant funds an allowable expense for th current solicitation?
A: The use of DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction funds may be used to continue the salary of additional analysts hired under prior year awards. However, the program narrative should include a justification of the continuation of the personnel and a statement of a plan to retain the personnel using State or local funds. The budget detail worksheet and budget narrative should include the name of the full time personnel, their job title, pay grade and the estimated number of hours to be worked.

Violence Against Women Research Consortium

Download the solicitation Violence Against Women Research Consortium (pdf, 32 pages).

NIJ also held a webinar to discuss this solicitation. Watch the recording​.

Q-1: Does NIJ have a maximum rate for compensating consultants?
NIJ has a maximum rate of $650 per consultant. Anything above that rate needs to go through an approval process at NIJ and all rates must be adequately justified.
Q-2: Can consultants be hired who are located internationally?
A: International consultants are allowed.
Q-3: Is this a new consortium or does a grantee currently have funding for this consortium already?
A: This is a new consortium for NIJ, and NIJ has not had one similar to this in any of its violence against women work before. This is a new initiative.
Q-4: Because the tasks have not been determined ahead of time, can the consortium annually subcontract with an agency for statistical services rather than budgeting for statistical personnel?
A: If budgeting for statistical analysis services is what works within your infrastructure, then you can propose that. As with any aspect of your proposal that you think might seem to differ from what the solicitation requests, NIJ would want you to provide justification for why your proposal is different. Such differences might, for example, relate to infrastructure or your ability to meet certain tasks.
Q-5: What does NIJ hope to see in a budget if applicants cannot budget specific projects?
A: The budget should contain information on topics like the communication infrastructure, if there are going to be meetings or travel to different locations for meetings. It should also include time and effort for the key personnel and any subcontracts.
Q-6: Are co-project directors allowed?
A: Yes, co-project directors are allowed and they can be from different institutions. One of the project directors needs to be from the grantee or the applicant organization, but other co-directors can be subcontracted or from other organizations.
Q-7: If the scope of work will vary from year to year, how can applicants budget for core as well as adjunct faculty? It seems it is going to be difficult to anticipate the needs ahead of time.
A: NIJ understands that it will be difficult to anticipate the needs ahead of time, and in the initial budget review NIJ would like you to budget for the core faculty and potentially unnamed adjunct individuals. Then, at the meeting at the start of the project, NIJ and the grantee will work on budget modifications within the first few months of the program to address specific key areas moving forward.
Q-8: Who at NIJ will be working with the consortium?
A: The grantee will work with many different NIJ scientists. Bethany Backes will most likely be the primary point of contact for the consortium, along with Christine Crossland, Carrie Mulford, Dara Blachman-Demner and any other staff that might be working on related topics.
Q-9: What is the process timeline for identifying and assigning new projects over the course of the grant period?
A: NIJ will be establishing a more formal process both for the consortium to propose projects and for NIJ to assign projects. NIJ anticipates that at any given time there might be five to six ongoing projects, as dictated by federal-level priorities and some of the more long-term objectives. At the very start of the award, NIJ will sit down with the consortium to plan out the longer-term targeted research agenda to be addressed. Within that conversation, there might be room to discuss ad hoc activities.
Q-10: Does the consortium need to be housed at the university, since the solicitation uses the term “faculty”?
A: No, it does not have to be housed in an academic university, but NIJ is asking for the core faculty to be research staff.
Q-11: Should the core faculty be organized around content?
A: It is up to each applicant to propose how they want to organize the core faculty. There are several areas listed in the solicitation, in terms of subject matter expertise, methods, program evaluation, and statistical skills that need to be met. It will depends on who you have on your team and how you would like to organize that content expertise.
Q-12: Would it be possible to name core faculty and continue to build that core faculty once the research agenda is developed?
A: Yes, and NIJ expects that. NIJ is aware that a lot of unanticipated things can happen, so it expects some changeover of core faculty later in the project or as priorities change, as well as some addition of faculty as needed.
Q-13: Will only one consortium be funded, or is it possible that two consortia might be funded?
A: As of now, NIJ is only planning to fund one consortium from the solicitation.
Q-14: To clarify, the consortium needs to address all content areas and all areas of methodology expertise, correct?
A: Yes, that is correct.
Q-15: Could individuals be listed as core faculty on multiple proposals?
A: Yes, that is permitted.
Q-16: If faculty are listed on multiple proposals, should that be disclosed in the proposals?
A: No, that is not necessary because NIJ reviewers will see any duplication during the review process.
Q-17: If funding is $1 million per year, is that a hard cap?
A: The hard cap is $5 million inclusive of everything over four to five years. The consortium will need to have the flexibility to either staff up or staff down, potentially on an annual basis; so, some years the consortium may be spending a little more and some years a little less. If any needed projects arise that cannot fit into the current budget, there is a possibility of providing continuation or supplemental funds.
Q-18: Does the $5 million include overhead?
A: Yes, the $5 million is inclusive of everything, all direct and indirect costs.
Q-19: Does the Principle Investigator (P.I.) equal the center director equal the project director?
A: Yes. The P.I. or project director can also be a core faculty member. Indeed, it is expected that the directors would probably be core faculty members.
Q-20: Should the applicant propose a budget for four to five years, or could the budget be proposed for one year, with the other years being built after the research agenda is set?
A: Applicants should submit a budget representing the entire award period of 48-60 months.
Q-21: In the program narrative, should we include only a description of how we would form and manage the research consortium or should we include a description of a specific major research project and how we would form and manage the research consortium?
A: The Project Design section should layout how the Consortium will be structured and its ability to implement and conduct short and long-term research and evaluation tasks. This section should elaborate on the applicant’s ability to address the gaps or issues noted in the Statement of the Problem and its ability to perform a wide variety of tasks including dissemination and publication efforts.
Q-22: Regarding scholarly products resulting from an award under this solicitation, does this mean NIJ will review and approval tasks and activities assigned to the Consortium, or will NIJ will review and approve all scholarly products (e.g., journal articles)?
A: Because this is a cooperative agreement, products stemming from the work of the consortium will require review and approval by NIJ. The level of review may vary depending on the type of product and intended audience.
Q-23: Should the program narrative include a description of how we would form and manage the research consortium or a description of a specific major research project and how we would form and manage the research consortium?
A: The Project Design section should layout how the Consortium will be structured and its ability to implement and conduct short and long-term research and evaluation tasks. This section should elaborate on the applicant’s ability to address the gaps or issues noted in the Statement of the Problem and its ability to perform a wide variety of tasks including dissemination and publication efforts.

Research on "Sentinel Events" and Criminal Justice Errors

Download the solicitation Research on "Sentinel Events" and Criminal Justice Errors (pdf, 34 pages).

Q-1: Would an application for research on juvenile shootings and juveniles in the system be eligible for funding?
A: Though NIJ’s research solicitations typically adopts a very inclusive approach to studying crime and justice, NIJ research grants tend to focus on adult criminal justice processes and crimes involving adult perpetrators. Nevertheless, some research on juveniles and the juvenile justice system may provide important research findings that advance NIJ’s research mission, and NIJ has previously funded some studies dealing with or focusing on youthful offenders. Applicants to this highly competitive research solicitation should develop and submit proposals that provide compelling yet highly feasible research opportunities to advance our understanding of crime and justice and to further NIJ’s mission to provide research evidence in support of criminal justice practice and policy.

NIJ FY16 Data Resources Program: Funding for Analysis of Existing Data

Download the solicitation NIJ FY16 Data Resources Program: Funding for Analysis of Existing Data.


Q-1: The solicitation calls for "research using existing data available from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) and other public sources." What is meant by "public sources?" Is data from a state agency allowed if it is obtained through a FOIA request?
A: The DRP program places a priority on supporting analysis of data held in the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) but will frequently fund research to analyze other data as well. Preferably, these other data will already be publicly archived and publicly available to the wide community of researchers and scholars. NIJ values the continued growth of the NACJD data holdings in order to support further research and analysis. Thus, when data proposed as part of a DRP grant application selected for funding are not already archived at NACJD, NIJ will expect that these data will be archived as a work product deliverable to NACJD at the conclusion of the project. This requirement would apply to data obtained for analysis from criminal justice agencies, other state agencies, or data obtained for research and analysis through a FOIA request. Even when the data being analyzed originated from NACJD, DRP grantees are required to submit a plan to archive their analyzed data set back at NACJD, particularly when these data comprise merged, modified, or concatenated data from several sources.
Q-2: Are applicants that are not listed as the main applicant required to follow the data archiving plan requirements (page 17 of the solicitation), specifically if the data is considered "state-owned"?
A: NIJ seeks to archive all data sets that are assembled or analyzed as part of NIJ-funded grants. The goal is to maximize the use of research data by other researchers for further analysis. NIJ requires Data Resources Program (DRP) grant applicants to submit a data archiving plan for depositing their analytic data at the conclusion of the project. The archiving requirement applies to the grantee and any sub-grantees if the application is funded.

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), supported by NIJ, has vast expertise in efficiently archiving and protecting criminal justice research data while providing access to archived data to advance additional scientific research. NIJ requires grant applicants to make NACJD archiving a central aspect of their plan for data archiving.
Q-3: If sub-grantees are subject to the same requirements, does NACJD have mechanisms in place to restrict access to the data by the public?
A: Through the NACJD, NIJ places on each data set appropriate protections (including restricted access where applicable). In some cases, research data sets may be archived with minimal restrictions; for instance, when grant data are already in the public domain or contain no information identifiable to a private person. In other cases, including when public-use data are joined with other non-public data, NIJ and the NACJD may place additional appropriate restrictions on access to the data.
Q-4: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is available via NACJD, but the data are restricted from general dissemination and require a Restricted Data Use Agreement application. Would NISVS data qualify for secondary analysis of data available through the NACJD even though those data are not immediately "publicly available"?
A: Like other data available through the NACJD, the NISVS data provide a meaningful context for secondary analysis. Grant applications proposing to conduct secondary analysis using NISVS data are appropriate to the DRP program and will be considered for funding. In every case, regardless of the data being analyzed, applicants to the DRP program should be attentive to all data use conditions and restrictions that govern use of the data.
Q-5: For this solicitation, the amount awarded will be up to $40,000 for a 12-month project period. Is the $40,000 limit direct costs only or total costs (direct + indirect costs)?
A: Total costs. A basic consideration in funding decisions is the expected yield relative to the total cost of the project, including indirect costs. Additional information on indirect costs can be found in the 2015 DOJ Grants Financial Guide, Section 3.11 Indirect Costs.
Q-6: I am a 2014 recipient of a NIJ Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF), for which I was not required to archive my dissertation data with the NCJRS. However, the data I obtained for my dissertation was far greater than what I used in my dissertation and I am eager to run additional analyses with the data. Is it allowable to submit a proposal for the Data Resources Program (DRP) with this data if it has not been archived though the NCJRS because it was collected through the GRF?
A: The focus of the DRP program is to support secondary analysis on data archived at the NACJD and other public archive sources. NIJ will consider DRP grant proposals for analyzing data that are not archived at NACJD as long as these data are publicly available (e.g., through another public data archive). If the data proposed for DRP analysis are not publicly archived, the proposal will not be eligible for consideration under the DRP program.

As a separate but related point, NIJ will consider DRP grant proposals in which the DRP principal investigator is analyzing data they helped collect (e.g., in an earlier research project), as long as these data are already archived at NACJD or otherwise publicly available.

Research and Evaluation in Support of the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

Download the solicitation Research and Evaluation in Support of the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (pdf, 38 pages).

Q-1: May a single applicant be awarded more than one award under this opportunity?
A: Yes. Single applicants can be awarded more than one award under this solicitation. Applicants should review the criteria in the solicitation for additional restrictions.
Q-2: Can funds under this solicitation be used to support intervention components, such as an evidence-based comprehensive training program, which will then be evaluated with solicitation funds through a high-quality research design consistent with what is articulated in the solicitation?
A: Because solicitations are competitive, NIJ cannot comment on a prospective applicant's concepts. In this particular instance, the allowability of the costs will depend on how that particular activity relates to the responsiveness of the applicant’s proposal to the category area of interest.
Q-3: Under Focus II, the solicitation says, "NIJ will support research that involves the implementation, use, and evaluation of technology and social media by law enforcement agencies." Does this mean that funds can be used to design and implement technology (for example, software development) to be used and evaluated by law enforcement agencies (as opposed to evaluating an existing technology that is already in use)?
A: Per the solicitation, NIJ is interested in proposals seeking to evaluate the impact of various technologies on crime control outcomes as well as how the adoption of these technologies may impact existing police resources. Funding requests that focus primarily on the development and evaluation of the technology from a functional perspective would not be allowable under this solicitation.
Q-4: Is training an allowable cost under this solicitation?
A: Per the solicitation, NIJ is interested in research that will evaluate the impact of training on police use of force decision making or CIT training programs that are adopted, implemented and deployed in the field to resolve situations involving the police and the mentally ill. A budget may include costs for training as long as they are necessary to evaluate the impact of the training program on measurable outcomes. However, funding requests that are primarily focused on the provision of training are not allowable.
Q-5: Is January 1, 2017, required as the start date? Can I propose a start date after January 1 2017, and could the project continue for 3 years from the proposed start date?
A: Although applicants are encouraged to propose a start date on 01/01/2017, this is not required. The three-year project period would start at the date designated by the applicant. The three-year project period should be properly listed on the SF-424 and the start date can be delayed after January 1, 2017.
Q-6: Is NIJ interested in studies proposing understanding the state and nature of academy curriculum and field training across academies at a regional or national level would be okay (or even site visits within specific academies) or only causal studies on the impact of training on recruits?
A: NIJ will accept proposals that respond to either of the training focus areas highlighted in the solicitation. Applicants should submit proposals that include a level of rigor in their research designs that will examine the impact of training on police recruits. Additionally, applicants should be mindful that their research designs are appropriate to answer the question(s) being considered by the research, regardless of the scope of the question(s).

New Investigator/Early Career Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Download the solicitation New Investigator/Early Career Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pdf, 29 pages).

NIJ also hosted a webinar to discuss this solicitation. Watch the recording.

Q-1: The solicitation states that applicants must hold a non-tenured assistant professor position. Must an applicant hold such a position as of the proposal deadline?
A: Yes, applicants must hold the position at th​e time of application.
Q-2: Is the solicitation restricted to social and behavioral sciences or does it also include some the hard sciences from the STEM disciplines?
A: This opportunity is not intended for the STEM disciplines.
Q-2: The solicitation states that applicants must not have previously served as principal investigator on an NIJ research grant. Is someone who worked on a previous NIJ grant as a co-investigator or graduate student be eligible under this solicitation?
A: Most likely yes but the applicant's role in the previous grant should be clearly explained in the application.
Q-4: The solicitation states that applicants must hold a non-tenured assistant professor position. Does this mean applicants must be in tenure-track position? Or would, for example, a non-tenure track research assistant professor be eligible?
A: Applicants do no need to be in tenure-track positions to be eligible. They simply must be non-tenured assistant professors.
Q-5: Does the entire project needed to be complete within the 2-year time frame or can some activities, such follow-up data collection, occur after the 2-year time frame?
A: The period of performance is two years from project start to finish.
Q-6: Are lecturers eligible to apply?
A: An applicant who performs the duties of an assistant professor but whose academic institution uses different terminology for the position satisfies the “assistant professor” criterion.
Q-7: Does the same recency requirement of four years apply to a Juris Doctorate?
A: Yes. The four-year requirement is for all terminal degrees in any field.
Q-8: Am I eligible to apply if my contract as a professor begins in the fall?
A: No. You must be working as an assistant professor at the time of application.
Q-9: Should I highlight my previous experience as a research assistant on an NIJ grant?
A: Yes. There is an opportunity for you to talk about qualifications, experience and capacity to conduct this type of research, and that would be a perfect time to highlight any relevant experience you have.
Q-10: Are postdocs eligible?
A: No. Eligibility is limited to nontenured assistance professors.
Q-11: I am faculty in the architecture department. Am I eligible as long as the research is relevant to the solicitation?
A: Yes, as long as you apply with the relevant research in the social and behavioral sciences.
Q-12: If there are multiple Primary Investigators (PIs) on a project, do all PIs have to have less than four years of experience?
A: No, but do keep in mind the purpose of this solicitation. If it is clear that someone with less than four years of experience is just brought on as a PI as a front for other more established researchers to conduct their research, that application would likely not get very far. Also, in general, most applications have a single PI. There may be co-PIs involved, and the various contributions to the project need to be clearly defined in the narrative. In general, there is one person that NIJ perceives and accepts as being responsible for the project.
Q-13: Must the methodological design be random control trial or can the project be purely qualitative?
A: Yes, it can be purely qualitative. It is extremely important to note that NIJ is interested in a range of methodologies. We are not looking for single methodologies and we do not only fund random control trials. There is a spectrum of relevant and appropriate methodologies to apply to criminal justice research and you should be thinking about the entire spectrum and what methodology is most appropriate to answer the research questions that you are posing.
Q-14: I am an assistant professor at a medical school in which there is no tenure. Do I qualify?
A: Yes. The only qualification is that you are not currently a tenured professor. There is no requirement that you be on a tenured track as an assistant professor.
Q-15: If I have applied for another NIJ award recently. Is it too late to submit that research idea for this award too?
A: The answer depends on under what other solicitation the application was submitted. We ask that you not submit the same research proposals to this and to one of our fellowship opportunities. However, if it was submitted under one of our more general research solicitations, you are able to submit both proposals. Also, you are free to apply to multiple fellowship opportunities, but you cannot submit the same proposal.
Q-16: What topics or type of research will likely be funded?
A: This is a very broad solicitation. We are interested in a full spectrum of social and behavioral sciences and research questions that would be relevant to advancing the practice of criminal justice. Keep in mind that NIJ is an applied science agency; we are generally interested in research that helps advance practice. That does not mean that it has to be an evaluation of a practice, but it needs to be the kind of research that can help inform practice. We cannot answer specific questions about an individual research project but we do encourage people to think broadly and even outside of the box on this.
Q-17: Do consultants and co-PIs have be based in the current institution?
A: No, they do not have to be based in the current institution. Remember that any subgrantee relationships must be included in your budget. You also will need to include information about the qualifications of anyone you have on your research team in your research proposal.
Q-18: Does forensic anthropology fall into social and behavioral sciences?
A: Forensic anthropology is a social science, but for the purposes of this solicitation it depends on what the subject matter is within that field. We encourage you to look at our solicitation Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to get a clearer sense of what is included in that solicitation. If it is included in that solicitation, then it will not be included in this one. That is one of the clearest boundaries we are trying to set with this solicitation.
Q-19: What is NIJ’s definition of applied research?
A: Applied research refers to the fact that the research should have a clear link to advancing the practice of some area of the criminal justice system. It does not have to be specifically programmatic but it has to be research that can inform programs and that ultimately has some connection to practice.
Q-20: Will this solicitation be offered again next year?
A: That will depend on the appropriations that we receive and our budget. We encourage you to register to receive an e-mail whenever NIJ releases a solicitation. NIJ’s commitment to investing in the advancement of careers in criminal justice research is a very serious commitment. So, while we cannot speak to exactly what funding opportunities will exist from year to year, the general commitment to career development is a long-term commitment in the agency.
Q-21: Are you interested in replication studies? For example, replicating a dissertation at a national level?
A: Yes, but we would encourage you to pay close attention to the budgetary constraints around this solicitation. While the review of your budget does not necessarily impact your score, if it is determined that your project is not feasible with the budget you propose, it will not go forward for consideration.
Q-22: If I have a joint appointment with the research center and the school of criminal justice, am I eligible?
A: Yes. If you have an assistant professor appointment in an academic institution, then you are eligible.
Q-22: If data is collected a few months prior to the funding period, would that still be considered primary data collection?
A: In terms of is it primary data collection, yes. However, for the purposes of this solicitation, it is very important that you do not start work on this project until you have cleared the institutional review board and your budget is approved by our financial office. What you could do if you have data collection under a different mechanism is to make sure you make that clear in your proposal, that you are leveraging additional funding elsewhere to complete the preliminary process of your evaluation.
Q-23: Can we include a mentor or more senior researchers in our proposal as part of an advisory board or as nonpaid advisors on the project? Will this be reviewed favorably by the reviewers?
A: Yes, you may include a mentor or more senior researchers in your proposal. In terms of whether or not it will be viewed favorably by the reviewers, reviewers are going to be looking for the quality of your research proposal and whether or not the team that you have pulled together has the capacity to actually make that research happen. If you are including somebody who is in a mentoring or advisory role, their role needs to be explicitly clear.
Q-24: Are elements like summer support and course release eligible for funding?
A: No. This is a research proposal. It is not a proposal with an educational component. Your budget and your proposal need to be for the research itself and not other elements that might be advancing your education. Such elements are allowable in our Graduate Fellowship programs.
Q-25: How important are letters of cooperation from organizations who are proposing to work with us?
A: Letters of cooperation and commitment are extremely important. They will definitely factor into whether or not reviewers think that you can actually do the research you are proposing.
Q-25: Does the funding cap include direct and indirect costs?
A: That is generally the case with all of NIJ’s grants.
Q-26: Will NIJ review a one-page abstract of my research project before the deadline?
A: Because this solicitation is competitive, we cannot have individual conversations concerning the solicitation with prospective applicants.
Q-27: Per the solicitation, the PI must commit to a 20 percent, full-time equivalent minimum level of effort. Is this 20 percent FTE required consistently throughout the duration of the award or on average, e.g., 30 percent in the summer and 10 percent during the academic year?
A: It is on average but be sure you are committing 20 percent of your time over the duration of the funded project.
Q-28: Does NIJ view public opinion data as applied research?
A: Public opinion data can be one data source involved in a research project. You need to put it in the context of the rigor of your research.
Q-29: How much assistance does NIJ give once the project is funded, given that the researchers are new?
A: You will have the standard support set any NIJ grantee would receive. However, we are cognizant of the fact that this will be the first time that you are going through the federal grant process. Generally, on NIJ grants, there are two people who are your points of contact for support. One is a program manager who will help you with substantive development, survey design, etc. The other is the grant manager, who you will be leaning on very heavily in terms of fulfilling federal grant requirements. Also, we often have the ability to fund research projects as grants or as cooperative agreements. Sometimes we will fund a project as a cooperative agreement if we think that it will be particularly helpful to have a more interactive process around the implementation and the science of the project itself. So the degree to which there is support around the science may vary on how the funding is ultimately awarded. But, our grant management staff are extremely helpful and available around the logistical elements of actually managing the grant process.
Q-30: Is an applicant eligible if he/she has accepted a position as an assistant professor but the start date is after the due date for the solicitation?
A: The applicant only meets the assistant professor eligibility requirement if the job from which they are transferring (which they hold at the time of application) is also as an assistant professor.
Q-31: Can primary data include the collection of information from a state agency?
A: Unless otherwise specified in a solicitation, NIJ is open to data being collected from a variety of sources for research. Applicants must demonstrate the rationale for selecting data sources, as well as confirming data availability in their submission. In addition, applicants should submit appropriate letters of support, if obtaining data will require third-parties.

Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories

Download the solicitation Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories (pdf, 30 pages).

Watch a recording or read the transcript of a webinar held to discuss this solicitation.

Q-1: Although the solicitation recommends the use of test samples from actual casework, can an applicant use a test set of fingerprints generated from a past NIJ-funded research where the ground truth is known and the difficulty of the samples has already been determined in a prior study?
A: There is no provision in this solicitation that excludes an applicant from using data generated under a previous NIJ award. However, applicants should review the regulatory requirements for human subjects protection and privacy on NIJ’s Human Subjects and Privacy Protection webpage. The page also contains links to guidance, necessary forms, and FAQs. In order to ensure fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not comment on project design or scope; therefore, we cannot address the merit of using these samples as opposed to casework samples.
Q-2: Is the purchase of instruments allowable?
A: Yes but only if the instrument is necessary to conduct the research proposed.
Q-3: Is there a limit on the cost of any allowable purchase of instruments?
A: No.
Q-4: How many proposals will be funded?
A: There is no set number of awards that will be made. That will be based on the available funding and the strength of the proposals received.
Q-5: Are the results of or methods developed in previously funded proposals under this solicitation available?
A: Not yet. We will disseminate the results of those projects as they become available.
Q-6: What is the timeline for this project?
A: It depends upon the projects. We typically fund projects that are in the 1- to 3-year range. We typically do not fund research beyond five years.
Q-7: Are there resources that can connect a public laboratory with post doc candidates?
A: NIJ does not maintain any but there may be with professional organizations or universities and other research institutes near you.
Q-8: Understanding that a dedicated researcher is preferred, what advice can you offer for utilizing current laboratory personnel on a research and development project to avoid supplanting?
A: Context is important when determining whether supplanting has occurred.  We refer the applicant to page 25 of the DOJ Financial Guide (pdf, 162 pages) for explanation and an example.
Q-9: Will proposals be looked upon more favorably there is collaboration with other accredited laboratories or university education program?
A: Not necessarily.
Q-10: Can both recipients and subrecipients research partners build indirect costs into their proposal?
A: There is no cap on indirect cost but they must follow the section about indirect cost rate within the solicitation.
Q-11: If the project is done in phases, what are the reporting requirement of each phase?
A: Reporting requirements are always the same. There will be a semi-annual progress reports as well as a final deliverable report.
Q-12: Will NIJ fund a multi-year grant all at once or over several fiscal years?
A:  Funding is released all at once in terms but can be drawn down over multiple fiscal years.
Q-13: Is it acceptable to use the 2016 Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service (SES) table as a reference point, rather than the 2015 table referenced in the solicitation?
A: Yes, it is acceptable to use Salary Table No. 2016-ES.
Q-14: For employees who charge only a portion of their time to an award, is the allowable amount based on a percentage of their time multiplied by the SES maximum or by the maximum salary limit (110 percent of SES salary)?
A: Please review the requirements for “Compensation for Personal Services” on pages 69-70 in the 2015 DOJ Grants Financial Guide. Per the guidance provided, “[f]or employees who charge only a portion of their time to an award, the allowable amount to be charged to that award is equal to the percentage of time worked on the grant times the maximum salary limit (110 percent of SES salary).”
Q-15: Would the cost of hiring staff be allowable under this solicitation?
A: Yes. Hiring of staff and personnel is not disallowed under this solicitation. The applicant should carefully consider the status of the hired personnel and the requirement that personnel hired with grant funding are required to dedicate 100 percent of their time to the grant project. For additional clarification pertaining to examples of allowable and unallowable costs, see the DOJ Financial Guide. The applicant should also carefully consider the issue of supplanting versus supplementing see page 25 of the Financial Guide.

Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Download the solicitation Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (pdf, 46 pages)

Q-1: Is it permissible to use of Coverdell funds to renovate a rented space?
A: The use of Coverdell funds for renovation may be allowable. However, justification in the program narrative and a breakdown of costs in the budget detail worksheet and budget narrative would need to be sufficient enough to warrant the renovation of a rental space.
Q-2: Is it permissible for a single agency to submit multiple applications for different projects under the competitive grant program, or must an agency only submit one application that contains everything the agency is seeking funding for that year?
A: An agency may submit multiple applications; however, based on the guidance on page 19: “No more than one application for competitive funds per unit of local government will be funded.”
Q-3: The project period stated in the solicitation — January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017 — is a change from all previous grant time periods for this program, which were October 1 to September 30. Is the time period in the solicitation correct?
A: The time periods in the solicitation are correct. As stated on page 12 of the solicitation under Federal Award Information, "Coverdell grants generally are limited to a 12-month period. Applicants are asked to establish a project period of January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017. Applicants should be aware that the total period of an award, including one that receives a project period extension, ordinarily will not exceed three years."
Q-4: We have subgrantees who use funding under this program for personnel or overtime. The change in grant period will result in a 3-month gap in grant funding for these agencies. Are we allowed to keep the grant period October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017, so that there will be no break in services?
A: No, as stated on page 13 of the solicitation, "Applicants are asked to establish a project period of January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017."
Q-5: There is the possibility that multiple state agencies will apply for competitive funds through the SAA's application for base funds this year. If I have three different state agencies that wish to apply for competitive funding, do I need to submit three applications? If I understood his instruction correctly, I include all of the information for my state's base funds in each of the applications (all attachments for our base funds and the base funds information on the SF-424), but include all of the information (attachments) for one of the competitive requests in each separate application. Is this correct?
A: Yes, three separate applications would need to be submitted. Please include all of the information for your state's base funds in each of the applications (all attachments for our base funds and the base funds information on the SF-424), clearly labeled formula, and include all of the information (attachments) for one of the competitive requests, clearly labeled competitive, in each of the three separate GMS applications.

Each application’s SF-424 should include the amount of the full request, formula plus competitive.
Q-6: Given the potential gap in funding between past awards and a new award as a result of the change in the federal grant period of this program, how do I request pre-agreement cost approval?
A: Pre-agreement costs are costs that applicants incur prior to OJP making an award, or prior to the first day of the official grant period specified in the award, in this case, prior to January 1 of the specified year. OJP does not typically approve pre-agreement costs. If approved, pre-agreement costs could be paid from grant funds consistent with a grantee’s approved budget, and under applicable cost standards. Pre-agreement costs will only be considered if the applicant can demonstrate, in writing, why the project must start on a particular date. The applicant must specifically identify the costs in the application and justify the costs necessary to meet the goals of the Coverdell program to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroner office services. Such costs are allowable only to the extent that they: (1) would have been allowable if incurred during the grant period, (2) are included in the award budget, and (3) receive OCFO prior approval. OJP advises applicants that a request to incur pre-agreement costs should be received by the appropriate grant manager at OJP at least 90 calendar days prior to the anticipated start date of the project period.
Q-7: We would like clarification as to the use of funds for outsourcing DNA samples from sex assault kits for this current solicitation. On p. 11 of the solicitation, under Grant Purposes, it states that we can use funds to eliminate a backlog.
A: Outsourcing DNA samples from SAKs may be allowable under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. However, NIJ encourages applicants to review programs specifically developed to address such a backlog: the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program; the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Partnership, which allows law enforcement agencies to send sexual assault kits to the FBI Laboratory for free testing; and the Bureau of Justice Assistance National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant solicitation.
Q-8: Can applicants use an award granted through the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program to replace a portable morgue trailer?
A: The use of Coverdell funds may be allowable for the purchase of a morgue trailer. Please note, Coverdell funds do not allow for the purchase of vehicles.
Q-9: We are working towards accreditation in the digital forensic discipline but have not yet been accredited. Could I apply for funding for the digital forensic unit?
A: Accreditation is not an eligibility requirement for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. NIJ encourages non-accredited applicants to use Coverdell funding for accreditation.
Q-10 Is there a cap on the cost of renovations similar to the cap on costs for new construction?
A: There is not a cap for the cost of renovations and an applicant may apply for up to the maximum, $250,000 for such costs.
Q-11:If our authorized signing official is unavailable, can we have our Chief Financial Officer, sign on his behalf?
A: The certifications must be signed by an individual with the authority to certify to the requirements. If it is determined the Chief Financial Officer has the authority he/she may be appropriate.
Q-12: Can we use Coverdell funds on crime scene equipment to collect forensic science evidence, blood spatter images, improve documenting, reconstruction of the crime scene, etc.?
A: The use of Coverdell funds may be used for the purchase of crime scene equipment to collect forensic evidence.

Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Download Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (pdf, 32 pages)

Q-1: Is digital forensic technology covered by this solicitation?
A: No, the activities describe in this solicitation do not include digital forensic technology.

Elder Abuse Prevention Demonstration Project: Planning Phase

Download Elder Abuse Prevention Demonstration Project: Planning Phase (pdf, 30 pages).

Q-1: Can you please define "integrated healthcare system" for us and give us a few examples?
A: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of an integrated health care delivery system includes: “The management and delivery of health services so that the clients receive a continuum of preventive and curative services, according to their needs over time and across different levels of the health system.” Other similar definitions are available on the Internet. Applicants are not required to use the WHO definition, but they should specify the definition(s) used in the application.
Q-2: Are applicants required to include participation from an integrated healthcare system in the proposal?
A: While applicants are encouraged to include an integrated healthcare system partner, this is not a requirement of an application.
Q-3: Is there a cap on the number of applications from 1) each organization and 2) each co-Principal Investigator (PI)?
A: There is no cap. You can submit as many applications as you would like or be listed as PI on as many applications as you would like. For this solicitation, NIJ will only fund up to two awards.
Q-4: The solicitation says that the project is a cooperative agreement. Can you explain how this is different from other types of grants?
A: There are three ways that NIJ typically provides funding. One is through a contract, the second is a grant, and the third is a cooperative agreement. The level of involvement by the government dictates the funding arrangement. In a contract, the government directs the work and provides specific tasks to the funded organization or individual. In a grant, the grantee organization proposes the ideas and the methods to complete the work. With a cooperative agreement, the government is a partner in the work and has the ability to provide substantive input.

In terms of how the funding actually gets to you, a cooperative agreement is very similar to a grant. Specific distinctions between grants and cooperative agreements can be found in the OJP Grants Financial Guide.
Q-5: To what extent should the intervention be one already in development by a practitioner as opposed to something newly designed?
A: Applicants should propose the most appropriate intervention, yet clearly explain the rationale behind selecting the intervention. NIJ expect that the intervention or the intervention components will have been empirically tested in other fields if they haven't been used in elder abuse, so there should be some research that supports the use of that particular intervention for preventing elder abuse.
Q-6: Is financial elder abuse eligible?
A: Yes. However, NIJ has typically placed a lower priority on research that has an exclusive focus on consumer financial fraud (e.g., fake magazine subscriptions, lottery scams).
Q-7: Does the research team budgeted in Phase 1 need to include all the listed roles or can some of those roles be brought into the budget only in later phases?
A: NIJ expects you to identify people who will be serving in those roles, and we expect these people to have some involvement in the planning phase. That involvement may vary (e.g., advisory board member, subject matter expert); however, the level of involvement should be clearly articulated in the management plan and the budget narrative.
Q-8: Is there a specific number of participants in the pilot that NIJ is looking for or considering?
A: No. The number of participants will depend on an individual project and design.
Q-9: How important is the financial exploitation and fraud of the elderly for this solicitation?
A: Financial exploitation is considered to be quite important. NIJ is particularly interested in financial exploitation by a family member or a caregiver.
Q-10: Would self-neglect be considered a form of elder mistreatment for the purposes of this solicitation?
A: No. Self-neglect is outside the scope of the solicitation.
Q-11: When NIJ says it is looking for research that is grounded in theory, does that refer specifically to established theories or generally to articulating a hypothesis about the relationship between measured variables?
A: Applicants should articulate the expected outcomes associated to the research questions proposed. If that fits a known theory, applicants should include it with an explanation.

Note: NIJ hosted a meeting in June of 2014 on using theory in elder abuse research. Applicants are encouraged to review the meeting documents.
Q-12: Can part of the funds be used to support practitioner implementation of the intervention?
A: Yes.
Q-13: The solicitation says applications should include a plan for incorporating feedback from an external panel of experts and NIJ. Can NIJ provide more information about the external panel of expert? Are applicants expected to assemble the panel of experts or will NIJ?
A: Applications should include a plan regarding the external panel of experts. This plan can include proposing to work with NIJ to assemble the panel. Applicants should also propose a strategy for convening the external experts.
Q-14: Does it matter whether applicants target incidence or prevalence? For example, individuals who have not experienced abuse but may be at risk as indicated by risk factor profiles, or individuals who may already be experiencing or have experienced abuse?
A: The focus of the solicitation is on prevention, so NIJ would prioritize studies that focus on at-risk individuals rather than individuals with a history of abuse.
Q-15: Is there a focus on the prevention model versus interventions that attempt to address the adjudication of perpetrators, or could both be included?
A: The solicitation does not deal with adjudication of perpetrators. As discussed in the previous question, NIJ want applicants to focus on primary or secondary prevention – either preventing abuse among at-risk elders or universal prevention for all elders.
Q-16: Could the elder abuse expert on the multidisciplinary team be someone other than a Ph.D. researcher (e.g., a lawyer), if the other members of the team have expertise in intervention, evaluation, violence prevention, etc.?
A: It is not required that every person on your team has a Ph.D., though applicants should offer a rationale for each member of the team.
Q-17: Should the pilot be exclusive or can it be inclusive of other interventions such as those that focus on mental health and quality of life improvements (e.g., respite care)?
A: NIJ is looking for applicants to design an intervention to prevent elder abuse. Other interventions can be included if the applicant offers a good theoretical rationale for inclusion, such as why that intervention could be expected to prevent elder abuse and empirical evidence that supports the intervention for the prevention of violence.
Q-18: Are outcomes that are thought to be on the causal path between exposure and abuse acceptable as targets for the pilot intervention, or is the pilot expected to target abuse per se?
A: Yes. Outcomes that are thought to be on the causal path between exposure and abuse are exactly what NIJ wants to see in the pilot intervention. While there will not be time in a pilot to look at long-term effects, NIJ wants to know if there is some hope that this intervention could ultimately prevent elder abuse.
Q-19: Are efforts to reduce social isolation considered an appropriate intervention?
A: Yes. Efforts to reduce social isolation could be a component of an intervention; however, applicants need to incorporate them into the theoretical framework in their proposal. 
Q-20: How important is it that applicants have previously received NIJ funding?
A: It is not important at all. In no way will NIJ discriminate against anyone who has not received NIJ funding in the past. In fact, NIJ seeks diversity and welcomes PIs from other fields, whether or not they have received prior NIJ funding.
Q-21: In terms of scope, would a multistate group focusing on rural residents be appropriate for the solicitation?
A: Yes. Such a focus would be appropriate as long as it fits all the other solicitation criteria.
Q-22: How important is it for applicants to identify a practitioner partner committed to the intervention?
A: The importance of a practitioner partner depends on the sort of intervention being proposed. When such partnerships are proposed, NIJ expects solicitations to include letters of support from agencies stating that they want to be involved in the project at this stage. Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) will not be required until later on.
Q-23: Is there a goal for the size of the target population? For instance, would an at-risk population of 2-5 percent of elders in the United States be appropriate?
A: It could be. A smaller population size would be appropriate if an applicant wants to target a specific at-risk population (e.g., a cultural group or Alzheimer's patients).

NIJ FY16 Visiting Fellows Program

Download NIJ FY16 Visiting Fellows Program (pdf, 32 pages).

Q-1: Will the residency program be paid while at NIJ? Will NIJ pay for housing or is that to be included in an applicant's proposed program costs? Is transportation to be paid for by the applicant?
A: Applicants may include such anticipated residency costs as housing, per diem, and transportation in their budget and budget narrative. As with all proposed costs, NIJ is seeking the best value for the government.
Q-2: May a portion of the proposed work be conducted at our research facility?
A: In most cases, only a portion of the total time period of the fellowship is expected to be spent in residency at NIJ. As the solicitation states, the ideal period of residency will be 6–12 months in length. The total period of the research project proposed may be longer and will typically involve research activities at the fellow’s home institution or agency in addition to the period of residency at NIJ.
Q-3: Does the period of residency need to be completed continuously or can we propose segmented periods of residency that would cumulatively meet the 6-18 months residency requirement?
A: In most cases, only a portion of the total time period of the fellowship is expected to be spent in residency at NIJ. As the solicitation states, the ideal period of residency will be 6–12 months in length. The total period of the research project proposed may be longer and will typically involve research activities at the fellow’s home institution or agency in addition to the period of residency at NIJ. Applicants may propose a period of residency that is segmented (e.g., 6 months at the outset and 3 months at the conclusion of a 2-year project). The application should state how the proposed timing and organization of the residency period (including any segmenting of the residency) are consistent with and supportive of the overall research goals of the fellowship.
Q-4: Does an individual applicant need to be a United States Citizen? The solicitation states, “Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.”
A: NIJ’s fellowship grants are governed by the agency’s standard eligibility requirements. (See section C. Eligibility Information).
Q-5: Are individuals required to hold a particular position at a university to be eligible?
A: Applicants need not hold a position at a university in order to be considered for a fellowship.
Q-6: Can the program accommodate research of transnational type? Can some of the research be conducted abroad?
A: Like other NIJ grant programs, NIJ’s fellowship grants may support transnational research or research that is conducted (in full or in part) outside the United States. Keep in mind, however, that NIJ’s core mission is to support research that informs criminal justice policy and practice in the U.S. Any proposed transnational or international research will be evaluated in terms of its relevance and practical value to U.S. criminal justice policy and practice.

NIJ FY16 Research and Evaluation on Institutional Corrections

Download NIJ FY16 Research and Evaluation on Institutional Corrections (pdf, 31 pages).

Q-1: Regarding the category "Understanding the use of restrictive housing," is NIJ interested only in mental health outcomes of restrictive housing?
A: Applicants are encouraged to include a diverse array of outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of restrictive housing including, but not limited to, mental health outcomes.
Q-2: Will these awards be made only for projects that are national in scope, or will projects focused on a single state be considered?
A: All applications that meet the basic minimum requirements set forth in the solicitation will be considered. Preference may be given to applications whose research designs are national in scope.
Q-3: Please clarify the term "policy-based organizations." Does it mean, for example, government entities such as a state department of corrections or a county jail?
A: Policy-based organizations are those organizations involved in the advocacy and/or development of legislation or other policy changes that work toward a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system.
Q-4: In the solicitation, it states that "Depending on findings from this assessment, NIJ may decide to fund an evaluation of a subset of step-down programs to determine their efficacy." Would NIJ may fund an evaluation of a specific step-down programs under the current solicitation?
A: No. Under the current solicitation, NIJ is seeking a comprehensive assessment of step-down programs used in restrictive housing environments in U.S. prisons and jail environments. Dependent on NIJ priorities, funding availability, and results from an assessment of step-down programs used in restrictive housing, NIJ may support an evaluation of step-down programs under a future solicitation.
Q-5: May we submit a proposal under Category 2 that encompasses both subcategories (A and B), or must we submit a separate application for each subcategory?
A: Research proposals submitted for the Research and Evaluation on Institutional Corrections solicitation may address one or more subareas under a specific category; for example, applicants may address both subcategories under Category 2 with a single application. The proposal must fully address how each subcategory will be examined, because the proposal will be reviewed in its entirety. However, research proposals should not include two category areas (for example, Categories 1 and 2). Applications that are not responsive to the specific category being applied for will be removed from competition (see page 4 of the solicitation).
Q-6: My agency will be the applicant organization, but the study will have two co-Principal Investigators (PI). I am an employee of the applicant organization and one of the two primary researchers/investigators. The other primary researcher/investigator (who has his own LLC) will be a sub-recipient. Must the first co-investigator listed on the Privacy Certificate and any other forms (or the PI listed if only one signature is required) be an employee of the applicant organization?
A: Applicants should review each required form and provide the appropriate required signatures. At the least, if one signature is required from a PI, the signatory should be from the primary applicant.
Q-7: Can the same PI be proposed in multiple solicitations from different institutions?
A: It is allowable for a single PI to be proposed on multiple applications. When putting forward an application, proposed key staff (including the PI), should carefully consider whether or not s/he can execute the proposed work if all applications are funded. Upon review, NIJ will consider the percentage of time that the PI will work on the project, and the feasibility of executing the work, given existing project commitments.
Q-8: Can a proposed PI be an unpaid consultant to the entity submitting the application?
A: Yes. All project consultants (paid or unpaid) who are expected to do work on the project must be listed in the proposal and other relevant documents. Applications with proposed consultants and subcontractors should submit letters of support that indicate commitment to work on the project(s).
Q-9: Is there a formal procedure for requesting a waiver of the archiving requirement?
A: Upon award, NIJ will work with the grantee to ensure data protections prior to archiving.

Research and Evaluation on Drugs and Crime

Download Research and Evaluation on Drugs and Crime (pdf, 37 pages).

Q-1: The solicitation indicates an area of interest is diversion of prescription drugs. Does NIJ’s definition/interest include counterfeit pharmaceuticals or just specifically when authentic pharmaceuticals are sold in unintended markets?
A: Yes, NIJ will consider applications for research on drugs including counterfeit pharmaceuticals ― medicines deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source (including products with the correct ingredients but imitation or false packaging, with the wrong ingredients, etc.) ― given their infiltration into both legitimate and illegal drug markets. 
Q-2: On page 5 of the solicitation, it states that "Researchers may submit a separate application to study a second activity." May applicants submit two separate applications for the same criminal justice activity, but with a separate drug priority focus in each application; or, must the second application propose research under a different criminal justice activity?
A: Under a given category of criminal justice activity, applicants may submit: a single application that addresses one or more drug priorities identified in the solicitation, or two unique applications that each address a single drug priority. For example, one application may propose research on drug intelligence and community surveillance specific to marijuana and cannabis products, and another may propose research on drug intelligence and community surveillance specific to heroin and other opioids or novel psychoactive substances.
Q-3: May some of the work be completed outside the United States. The solicitation only specifies that foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.
A: NIJ grants may support transnational research or research that is conducted (in full or in part) outside the United States. Keep in mind, however, that NIJ’s core mission is to support research that informs criminal justice policy and practice in the U.S. Any proposed transnational or international research will be evaluated in terms of its relevance and practical value to U.S. criminal justice policy and practice.
Q-4: Are there issues with test subjects giving consent while under the influence of marijuana?
A: All proposals will require that the applicant comply with 28 CFR §46.102, Protection of Human Subjects. Research involving human subjects will likely require the approval of an Institutional Review Board, which may be able to provide guidance regarding project design.

NIJ Graduate Research Fellowship Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Download NIJ Graduate Research Fellowship Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pdf, 32 page).

Q-1:What period of time should the applicant’s budget narrative and budget detail worksheet address?
A: The budget narrative and budget detail worksheet should reflect the entire proposed project timeline of up to three years, in discrete 12-month increments. But, the SF-424 should only reflect the first 12-months funding requirement.
Q-2: May an accredited academic institution apply on behalf of student who is enrolled in a qualifying doctoral program part-time at the time of submission but who will be enrolled full-time beginning the academic term in which fellowship activity was proposed to begin?
A: Yes. Under such circumstances, in additional to all other requirements, the institution must submit an official letter stating that it expects that the student will be enrolled full-time in the doctoral degree program beginning the academic term in which fellowship activity is proposed to begin. Be aware that under these circumstances, if an award is made, NIJ will place a condition on the award withholding funds until full-time enrollment is demonstrated for the academic term in which fellowship activity is proposed to begin.

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

Download NIJ Graduate Research Fellowship Program in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (pdf, 32 page).

Q-1: May an accredited academic institution apply on behalf of student who is enrolled in a qualifying doctoral program part-time at the time of submission but who will be enrolled full-time beginning the academic term in which fellowship activity was proposed to begin?
A: Yes. Under such circumstances, in additional to all other requirements, the institution must submit an official letter stating that it expects that the student will be enrolled full-time in the doctoral degree program beginning the academic term in which fellowship activity is proposed to begin. Be aware that under these circumstances, if an award is made, NIJ will place a condition on the award withholding funds until full-time enrollment is demonstrated for the academic term in which fellowship activity is proposed to begin.

Review general funding Q&As from NIJ.

See Q&As from past year solicitations.

Date Modified: May 3​, 2016