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About the NIJ Office of the Director

The NIJ Director is appointed by the President. Our Acting Director is Jennifer Scherer, Ph.D. See a list of past Directors.

On this page find:

Overview of the NIJ Office of the Director

The NIJ Office of the Director establishes the agency's objectives, which are guided by the needs of the criminal justice system and the priorities of the U.S. Department of Justice. In doing this, the Director and other office staff work closely with leadership and staff across NIJ’s offices.  

The NIJ Director is appointed by the President. NIJ’s current Acting Director, Dr. Scherer.

See How NIJ is Organized.

Priorities of the NIJ Office of the Director

The Director's priorities include:

  • Strengthen science by supporting rigorous research and evaluation designs, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials when possible, with the goal of understanding criminal justice issues and improving public safety and the administration of justice.
  • Measure impact of NIJ’s work through the development of new metrics that show how our investments in science impact criminal justice policies and practices.
  • Encourage multidisciplinary activity by encouraging boundary-crossing practices within the agency and in our research investments.
  • Empower practitioners by expanding NIJ’s engagement with the field, support of practitioner-led research, and promotion of researcher-practitioner partnerships.

Major Initiatives of the NIJ Office of the Director

  • Elevating the field.
  • Building the research field through career development.

Elevating the Field. The work of criminal justice practitioners forms the foundation for everything that NIJ does, and the Institute works to be responsive to the most pressing needs of the field. The Office of the Director has taken numerous measures to strengthen the Institute’s connection to practitioners.

Learn more:

Building the Research Field through Career Development. NIJ is committed to building the field and developing the careers of criminal justice researchers and practitioners investing in the development of researchers’ careers as a cornerstone of its leadership agenda. NIJ has a long history of making such investments, and the level of attention, the size of the investment, the number of opportunities and the planning for the future development of this element of NIJ’s work has substantially increased in recent years, with a particular increased focus on practitioners engaged in research.       

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Contact NIJ Office of the Director

  • For press and congressional inquiries, contact a public affairs specialist in OJP’s Office of Communications at 202-307-0703 or [email protected].
  • Use our AskNIJ box for general questions about NIJ and our funded research.
Date Created: February 5, 2016