Technology Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation Process

NIJ follows a research, development, testing and evaluation process (RDT&E) that aligns NIJ's portfolios with the technology needs of the criminal justice community.

The process has five phases:

  1. Determine technology needs.
  2. Develop technology program plans to address those needs.
  3. Develop solutions.
  4. Demonstrate, test, evaluate and adopt potential solutions into practice.
  5. Build capacity and conduct outreach.

Phase 1 — Determine Technology Needs

Phase 1: Determine technology needs

NIJ identifies criminal justice practitioners’ functional requirements for new tools and technologies.

Learn more about the Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative  Exit Notice.

Phase 2 — Develop Plan and Budgets

Pase 2: Develop technology program plans

A multiyear research program is created to address the needs identified in phase I. One of the first steps is to determine whether products that meet those needs currently exist or whether they must be developed. If a solution is already available, phases II and III are not necessary, and NIJ moves directly to demonstration, testing and evaluation in phase IV. If solutions do not currently exist, they are solicited through annual, competitively awarded science and technology solicitations. TWG members help review the applications.

Phase 3 — Develop Solutions

Phase 3: Develop solutions

Appropriate solicitations are developed. Grantees are selected through an open, competitive, peer-reviewed process, and grants are awarded. The grantee and the NIJ program manager then work collaboratively to develop the solutions.

NIJ also forms partnerships with other agencies that allow NIJ to leverage investments, avoid duplicating efforts and devote its resources to areas that offer the highest potential payoff for the criminal justice community. See Collaboration and Coordination for Technology Research and Development.

Phase 4 — Demonstrate, Test, Evaluate and Introduce Technology

Phase 4: Demonstrate, test, evaluate and adopt into practice

A potential solution is tested to determine how well it addresses the intended functional requirement. NIJ then works with first-adopting agencies to facilitate the introduction of the solution into practice. After adoption, the solution’s impact on practice is evaluated. During the testing and evaluation process, performance standards and guides are developed as appropriate to ensure safety and effectiveness; not all new solutions will require the publication of new standards or guides.

Phase 5 — Build Capacity and Inform the Criminal Justice Community

Phase 5: Build capacity, inform user community

To ensure that the new tool or technology benefits practitioners, NIJ publishes guides and standards and provides technology assistance to second adopters.

Date Modified: May 4, 2016