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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.


Research on the Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Elderly Individuals

Download the solicitation (pdf, 37 pages)

Q-1: For the purpose of this solicitation, what is the definition of an elderly individual?
A: Current awardees commonly use 60 or 65 as a benchmark. However, NIJ has no established age to be considered “elderly” and therefore applicants should specify the age range of those proposed, and include a justification.

FY 2017 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program (Formula)

Download the solicitation (pdf, 39 pages)​​

Q-1: Our lab would like to purchase a STaCS software tracking system to assist our lab in tracking the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kits. Under which grant program would this purchase be allowed? of tracking software as an allowable cost – the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program or the Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program. If Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program is appropriate, which of the four purposes would be the correct choice?
A: This purchase would be allowable under the Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program. Since this is a competitive solicitation, we cannot advise on which purpose area an applicant should apply under.

It would not be allowable under the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. That program allows for the purchase of DNA modules to existing LIMS. It also defines a “module” as "A sample/case tracking component separate from the laboratory’s LIMS that functions only for the purposes of the forensic biology/DNA unit." NOTE: The module may be a product of the same, or a different, vendor as the laboratory’s current LIMS." It is our understanding that the STACS system for SAKs is for use in all aspects of tracking including the police agency, hospital, and prosecutor’s office thus tracking the life of the SAK from collection to case disposition.

In the coming weeks NIJ anticipates the release of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence – Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) Solicitation. The purchase would be allowable under this program. In the meantime, you may review last year’s version of the solicitation (pdf, 33 pages).

FY 2017 Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program

Regarding Purpose Areas​

Since this is a competitive solicitation, we cannot advise under which of the four purpose areas you should apply.

Download the solicitation (pdf, 43 pages)​​​​

Q-1: Our lab would like to purchase a STaCS software tracking system to assist our lab in tracking the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kits. Under which grant program would this purchase be allowed? of tracking software as an allowable cost – the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program or the Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program. If Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program is appropriate, which of the four purposes would be the correct choice?
A: This purchase would be allowable under the Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program. Since this is a competitive solicitation, we cannot advise on which purpose area an applicant should apply under.

It would not be allowable under the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. That program allows for the purchase of DNA modules to existing LIMS. It also defines a “module” as "A sample/case tracking component separate from the laboratory’s LIMS that functions only for the purposes of the forensic biology/DNA unit." NOTE: The module may be a product of the same, or a different, vendor as the laboratory’s current LIMS." It is our understanding that the STACS system for SAKs is for use in all aspects of tracking including the police agency, hospital, and prosecutor’s office thus tracking the life of the SAK from collection to case disposition.

In the coming weeks NIJ anticipates the release of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence – Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) Solicitation. The purchase would be allowable under this program. In the meantime, you may review last year’s version of the solicitation (pdf, 33 pages).
Q-2: Will funds awarded under this solicitation cover warranty, service, or maintenance for equipment during the course of this award (3 years)?
A: The costs are allowable for the duration of the project period. It is up to the applicant to determine which purpose area their project fits under. Since this is a competitive solicitation NIJ is not allowed to assist in that determination.

Research and Evaluation on Trafficking in Persons

Download the solicitation (pdf, 38 pages)

Q-1:Would applying the same methodology as a prior funded award to a new population count be conserided a "replication" study in context of the following statement from the solicitation:
"NIJ will take into consideration to what extent applicants demonstrate that their proposals do not replicate existing or published research on trafficking issues, and NIJ will coordinate with other federal agencies to ensure that an award does not substantially duplicate existing studies."
A: Applying a methodology that has been used in one population to a new population is not considered a replication. However, should other elements of the design replicate the initial study (e.g., sampling plan, instrument), NIJ will take into consideration to what extent the proposal is considered a replication.

Closed - Graduate Research Fellowship in Social and Behavioral Sciences

See also Q&As from two FY 17 funding webinars:

Download the solicitation (pdf, 35 pages)

Q-1: Do students have to have completed required coursework before applying?
A: No. However, the student must complete required coursework before an award can be made.
Q-2: Is the fellowship open to international students?
A: The official applicant to the GRF solicitation is a degree-granting academic institution in the United States and its territories. Universities may submit applications on behalf of international students. There is no requirement as to the citizenship of the student, but any student must be currently enrolled in a qualifying PhD program at a U.S. university at the time of application.

Applicants are encouraged to review the solicitation. Please note in particular, on page 4 of the solicitation that, “Applicant academic institutions sponsoring doctoral students are eligible to apply only if: 1. The doctoral student’s degree program is in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline: and 2. The student’s proposed dissertation research has demonstrable implications for addressing the challenges of crime, and/or the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice in the United States.”
Q-3: The fellowship requires that the topic proposed for the grant be substantively the same as that approved and pursued for the student's dissertation. In my department, dissertations consider three separate studies that are all connected by a common theme. Thus, the project I would propose for a NIJ GRF would be one of those three. Would this be acceptable for the fellowship?
A: Yes.
Q-4: The data I will be using was collected by under a different PI (my chair) and that persons name is listed on the IRB paperwork. Can I still state in my application that I will be the PI of the study although the IRB paperwork does not list me as the PI?
A: The chair of the dissertation may be listed as the PI on the IRB paperwork.
Q-5: Is there a particular person to whom the letter from my chair should be addressed?
A: There is no set person to whom the letter should be addressed. You may use To Whom it May Concern” or “NIJ GRF Selection Committee.”​​
Q-6: The link to the form provided on page 16 of the solicitation does not seem like it fits with the information required in the solicitation. The student currently has a list of the dissertation committee and their contact information. Is it necessary that he puts in the form provided by the link in the solicitation?
A: The list is used for other solicitation so that is why it may not appear to be specifically tailored to the GRF. We understand that the form does not have all the necessary cells to capture the requested contact information of the committee members so we cast that applicants add these additional columns to the template.
Q-7: The solicitation indicates that no indirect cost or administrative fees are permitted. As we have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, per the Uniform Guidance under 2 CFR § 200.414, for a federal agency not to apply an entity's federally negotiated indirect cost rate it must cite a statute or regulation which states that the agency cannot apply the federally negotiated indirect cost rate, or it cannot be applied for the particular program. As the solicitation does not include this information, I am reaching out to you for the reference. 
A: Thank you for your inquiry. NIJ’s grant funds under its Graduate Research Fellowship program to university-sponsors of doctoral candidate fellows to conduct criminal justice research, as stated in the published program solicitation, do not fund administrative expenses or indirect costs of the institutional applicant. (Individual awards under this program are for only up to $32,000 each for a project period of 12 months.) Consistent with the Part 200 Uniform Requirements (2 CFR Part 200, adopted with modifications as a DOJ regulation by 2 CFR 2800) as set out at 2 CFR § 200.306(c) and with NIJ’s applicable authority at 42 U.S.C. 3723, however, NIJ would consider requests from an applicant to treat unrecovered indirect costs, if any, as cost sharing or match under the award.

Closed - Graduate Research Fellowship in Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

See also Q&As from two FY 17 funding webinars:

​Download the solicitation (pdf, 34 pages)​​

Q-1: Is the fellowship open to international students?
A: The official applicant to the GRF solicitation is a degree-granting academic institution in the United States and its territories. Universities may submit applications on behalf of international students. There is no requirement as to the citizenship of the student, but any student must be currently enrolled in a qualifying PhD program at a U.S. university at the time of application.​

Applicants are encouraged to review the solicitation. Please note in particular, on page 4 of the solicitation that, “Applicant academic institutions sponsoring doctoral students are eligible to apply only if: 1. The doctoral student’s degree program is in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline: and 2. The student’s proposed dissertation research has demonstrable implications for addressing the challenges of crime, and/or the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice in the United States.”
Q-2 I currently have another fellowship but would like to apply for the Graduate Research Fellowship. Will this my existing fellowship count points against me in successfully winning the GRF?
A: All applications are reviewed on their merits based on the criteria identified in section E. Application Review of the solicitation (see the Selection Criteria, p. 27). Should you decide to submit an application, please note in particular the following requirements:
  • A list of other agencies, organizations, or funding sources to which this application has been submitted, including, but not limited to, other fellowships that the doctoral student has received and the dates during which those fellowships will be active (if applicable) (p. 16)
  • NIJ may take into consideration (p. 29) “… available funding… as well as the extent to which the budget detail worksheet and budget narrative accurately explain project costs that are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise allowable under federal law and applicable federal cost principles.” Applicants are encouraged to include in their budget all budget items that are necessary and allowable (up to the $35,000/$15,000 limits) to support themselves and their research during the fellowship term. Submitting a low fellowship budget request does not confer competitive advantage. If another fellowship is to be held concurrently, and NIJ determines that a reduction in NIJ support is appropriate, a revised budget may be requested at the time an award is offered.
Q-3: If I have other funding for my research, when constructing my budget should I ask for the full $35,000 amount or deduct the amount of my existing funding?
A: All applications are reviewed on their merits based on the criteria identified in section E. Application Review of the solicitation (see the Selection Criteria, p. 27). Should you decide to submit an application, please note in particular the following requirements:
  • A list of other agencies, organizations, or funding sources to which this application has been submitted, including, but not limited to, other fellowships that the doctoral student has received and the dates during which those fellowships will be active (if applicable) (p. 16)
  • NIJ may take into consideration (p. 29) “… available funding… as well as the extent to which the budget detail worksheet and budget narrative accurately explain project costs that are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise allowable under federal law and applicable federal cost principles.” Applicants are encouraged to include in their budget all budget items that are necessary and allowable (up to the $35,000/$15,000 limits) to support themselves and their research during the fellowship term. Submitting a low fellowship budget request does not confer competitive advantage. If another fellowship is to be held concurrently, and NIJ determines that a reduction in NIJ support is appropriate, a revised budget may be requested at the time an award is offered.
Q-4: If I plan on having the grant for two years should I make a budget for two years or for one? My narrative and research timeline are both for two years.
A: Per the solicitation, your budget narrative and budget detail worksheet should reflect the entire proposed project timeline of up to three years, in discrete 12-month increments. However, the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) should only reflect the first 12-months funding requirement.​
Q-5​: The budget form states that "Indirect costs are allowed if the applicant has a Federally approved indirect cost rate" while the solicitation states that "Indirect costs are not allowed under this solicitation"; are Indirect Costs allowed on this since we have a NICRA or not?
A: Direct or indirect administrative or management costs of the applicant university are not allowed under the GRF-STEM program.
Q-6: Can the applicant also include relocation expenses in this grant. For example, if the applicant cannot reside in the housing units provided by the University can they include their relocation and housing expenses along with monthly food budget in this grant?
A: According to the solicitation (p. 8): “Each year of support… includes a $35,000 allowance usable toward a salary/stipend for the student and related costs, and up to $15,000 to cover the student’s tuition and fees, research expenses, and related costs. The $35,000 allowance for salary/stipend and related costs may include fringe benefits (if applicable) and health insurance, at the applicant institution’s discretion. Under this solicitation, research expenses and related costs may include any combination of the doctoral student’s tuition, student fees, project costs, professional society membership fees, or conference travel, among other allowed expenses…”

The $35,000 student stipend allowance is intended for the financial support of the student during the fellowship term, in the manner of a salary. It may be used at the student’s discretion, provided the use conforms to university policy. The $15,000 research expenses portion is intended to directly facilitate the student’s research and academic/professional activities. Students are encouraged to work with their university to draft a budget that conforms to the requirements of the solicitation and university policy, while meeting the student’s personal and research-related needs.
Q-7: Can the student's tuition costs be divided up between the "Student Salary and Related Costs" and the "Tuition and Fees, Research Expenses and Related Costs"? Our students salary and fringe benefits equal just over $25k with tuition costs being just over $11k annually and we'd like to keep as much of the funds for the "Research Expenses and Related Costs" as possible for other project costs.
A: See the solicitation for allowable costs under the $35,000 and $15,000 budget allowances (p. 8): ​
Each year of support… includes a $35,000 allowance usable toward a salary/stipend for the student and related costs, and up to $15,000 to cover the student’s tuition and fees, research expenses, and related costs. The $35,000 allowance for salary/stipend and related costs may include fringe benefits (if applicable) and health insurance, at the applicant institution’s discretion. Under this solicitation, research expenses and related costs may include any combination of the doctoral student’s tuition, student fees, project costs, professional society membership fees, or conference travel, among other allowed expenses during the award period of performance (see complete Budget Information, including “What will not be funded”).​
The $35,000/$15,000 budget allowances are separate categories supporting separate costs which are generally mutually exclusive. The applicant may request allowable costs under each budget allowance up to the maximum amount of each allowance separately. Concerning the use of the $35,000 salary/stipend allowance, the solicitation (p. 17) also notes that:
Where possible in accordance with institutional policy, academic institutions should account for the full amount of $35,000 when justifying the personnel expenses of the doctoral student.
Q-8: The solicitation indicates that no indirect cost or administrative fees are permitted. As we have ​a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, per the Uniform Guidance under 2 CFR § 200.414, for a federal agency not to apply an entity's federally negotiated indirect cost rate it must cite a statute or regulation which states that the agency cannot apply the federally negotiated indirect cost rate, or it cannot be applied for the particular program. As the solicitation does not include this information, I am reaching out to you for the reference. 
A: Thank you for your inquiry. NIJ’s grant funds under its Graduate Research Fellowship program to university-sponsors of doctoral candidate fellows to conduct criminal justice research, as stated in the published program solicitation, do not fund administrative expenses or indirect costs of the institutional applicant. (Individual awards under this program are for only up to $32,000 each for a project period of 12 months.) Consistent with the Part 200 Uniform Requirements (2 CFR Part 200, adopted with modifications as a DOJ regulation by 2 CFR 2800) as set out at 2 CFR § 200.306(c) and with NIJ’s applicable authority at 42 U.S.C. 3723, however, NIJ would consider requests from an applicant to treat unrecovered indirect costs, if any, as cost sharing or match under the award.

Review general funding Q&As from NIJ.

See Q&As from past year solicitations.

Date Modified: January 19​​, 2017