Fiscal Year 2006 Report on the Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grants Program
The Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grants Program provides funding to crime laboratories and medical examiner
offices through a two-part process consisting of “Base” and “Competitive” funding. In FY2006, the National Institute of Justice
(NIJ) made a total of 87 Coverdell awards. These consisted of 43 “Base” awards to State Administering Agencies (SAAs), 34
“Competitive” awards to units of local government, and 10 combination “Base” and “Competitive” awards to SAAs.
According to the Coverdell Act, seventy-five percent (75%) of the total program amount must be awarded to states through State
Administering Agencies based on individual state population. These “Base” awards are dispersed as formula grants to all eligible
SAAs who apply for funding. SAAs from all 50 States, the
District of Columbia, and five
territories are eligible to apply for “Base” funding.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of the total program amount must be dedicated to the program’s “Competitive” component. These “Competitive”
funds may be awarded to SAAs and they can be dispersed directly to units of local government.
On November 22, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations
Act, 2006 (Pub. L. No. 109-108). The Act appropriated $18.5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for Paul Coverdell Forensic
Sciences Improvement Grants under Part BB of Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C.
§ 3797j et seq.).
An amount of $1.5 million ($1,480,842-post rescission) was congressionally directed for the National Academy of Sciences to
conduct a study on forensic science, as described in the Senate report (H.Rpt. 109-272, conference report for H.R. 2862).
Additionally $398,152 was awarded to the
to support the Grant Progress Assessment Program, which enables NIJ to monitor the progress of Coverdell grant recipients.
After rescissions and other program maintenance expenses, a total of $15,174,131 was available for awards to States and units
of local government in fiscal year 2006.
April 18, 2006, NIJ announced that it was seeking applications for funding under the FY2006 Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement
Grants Program. In response to the announcement, NIJ received 177 applications for funding. Of these, 53 States and territories
applied for “Base” funding. Additionally, 148 applications (24 States/ territories and 124 units of local government) were
received for “Competitive” funding.
The Justice for All Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-405, § 311(b) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 3797k) placed an eligibility requirement
on Coverdell applicants. The Act requires applicants to certify that a government entity exists and an appropriate process
is in place to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct by laboratory
personnel. “Competitive” funding applications that did not include this certification were deemed non-responsive and therefore
were not considered for funding. The Justice for All Act also added a general forensic backlog reduction component to the
The 148 applications for “Competitive” funding were reviewed by an independent panel made up of subject-matter experts from
the forensic science community. The panelists reviewed and rated the proposals based on specific evaluation criteria. Based
on the recommendations of the peer review panel and available funding, NIJ made 44 “Competitive” awards.
Prior to the close of FY2006, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) made 87 awards totaling $14,821,048. In accordance with
the Coverdell Act, $11,380,598 (75% of the FY2006 available appropriation) was allocated to the “Base” funding portion and
$3,793,533 (25% of the FY2006 available appropriation) was allocated to the “Competitive” funding portion.
The State of
American Samoa, and the
Northern Mariana Islands did not submit a request for “Base” funding; resulting in a balance of $164,135 in unallocated “Base” funds. Reallocating
this to the 53 States would have resulted in a very minimal increase in their budget. Additionally, each would have been
required to resubmit budget revisions to incorporate these funds. Therefore, remaining funds were rolled over into the “Base”
funding component for the 2007 Coverdell Program. Similarly, $16,219 of “Competitive” funds remained after 44 “Competitive”
awards were made. Due to the relatively small amount of residual “Competitive” funds, the balance was rolled over for distribution
in the “Competitive” portion of FY2007 Coverdell Program.
The National Institute of Justice is pleased to report, that as a result of the increased Coverdell Program appropriation
from Congress in FY2006, NIJ was able to increase the Coverdell Program minimum “Base” award to the States and territories
from $82,639 in FY2005 to $91,015 in FY2006, while maintaining the maximum “Competitive” award at $95,000.
View fiscal year 2006 Coverdell funds (xls, 96kb) awarded to State Administering Agencies and to units of local government within those states. The table includes "Base" and
"Competitive" funding amounts and a short program description for each award.
Date Created: January 23, 2008