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Guidance for Applicants and Awardees

Sample Applications


NIJ awards grants and agreements for:

  • Research, development and evaluation (CFDA 16.560). NIJ funds physical and social science research, development and evaluation projects about criminal justice through competitive solicitations. The focus of the solicitations varies from year-to-year based on research priorities and available funding.
  • Research fellowships. NIJ strengthens and broadens the pool of researchers looking at criminal justice issues through fostering various fellowship programs which provide opportunities to the researcher community. Learn more about NIJ's fellowship programs.

NIJ does not fund proposals primarily to purchase equipment, materials or supplies, or to provide direct services.

Look for current funding opportunities:

You also can:

Unsolicited Proposals. All proposed projects must be submitted through an applicable and posted solicitation. The proposal must respond to the objectives and requirements in the solicitation. We encourage you to review the current and forthcoming funding pages for solicitations under which your idea might fit.

Get registered! If you are interested in receiving OJP funding, get registered on Grants.gov and in the System for Awards Management, and do it soon. You cannot submit any OJP applications until you do. Registration, especially with Grants.gov, may take approximately 3-5 business days. OJP strongly encourages applicants to start registration as soon as possible. Learn more from OJP's Grants 101.

Read the materials. Familiarize yourself with NIJ and OJP grants and related requirements. Read the solicitation carefully for specific requirements and review:

Although Grants.gov and JustGrants require you to submit application packages online, which includes filling out several online forms, you will still need to write the bulk of your proposal in a word processing application.

Write the Program Narrative

The Program Narrative includes an abstract, table of contents, main body and appendixes that provide details about your proposed project. Each solicitation defines the page limit for the main body of the program narrative.

For further guidance, see:

Develop Your Budget

Although the degree of specificity of any budget will vary depending on the nature of the project and OJP agency requirements, a complete, well-thought-out budget serves to reinforce your credibility and increase the likelihood of your proposal being funded. Your application must include both a budget narrative and a budget detail worksheet (we strongly recommend that you use the Budget Detail Worksheet).

For further information, review:

Sample Applications

View sample applications:

Once you have written a grant proposal, you must complete the application package and submit it online.

In FY 2021, applications will be submitted to DOJ in a new two-step process.

Step 1: Applicants will submit an SF-424 and an SF-LLL in Grants.gov at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html

Step 2: Applicants will submit the full application including attachments in JustGrants at JustGrants.usdoj.gov.

It is NIJ's general policy that submission of the following five elements is critical for an application to be submitted to peer review:

  • Program Narrative.
  • Program Budget.
  • Budget Narrative.
  • Resumes or Curriculum Vitae of Key Personnel, if referred to in the solicitation.
  • Tribal Resolution, if applicable.

Learn more about how to submit your application from:

How your application will be reviewed. All proposals are reviewed by independent peer review panels consisting of both researchers and practitioners. Panel members read each proposal, assess the technical merits and policy relevance of the proposed research, and typically meet to discuss their assessments. Panelists are asked to base their reviews on criteria set forth in the solicitation. The panel assessments and any accompanying NIJ staff reports are submitted to the NIJ Director. All final grant award decisions are made by the Assistant Attorney General or the NIJ Director. Learn more about proposal review.

Interested in becoming a peer reviewer for NIJ? Learn how.

Award notification. If you are a successful applicant and your project is selected for funding, NIJ will notify you of the award no later than September 30 of the calendar year. If you are unsuccessful, NIJ will issue you a rejection letter by December 30 of the calendar year.

If your proposals is funded, you should carefully read each of the following:

Managing Your Funding

Different NIJ grant programs have different post-award reporting requirements and special conditions. See Research, Development, and Evaluation Grant Award Requirements.

If you are unsure which deliverable requirements apply to your award, please contact the assigned grant manager. See also Grants: NIJ Grant Manager and Scientist Roles and Responsibilities.

We also recommend you review the available training on accepting and managing awards in JustGrants.

If a proposal is not funded, NIJ will send a notification letter to the applicant’s official contact(s) of record in JustGrants and the Principal Investigator (PI). The letter will explain the peer review process, describe the composition of the peer review panel, and summarize the panel’s assessment of the proposal’s strengths and weaknesses. Applicants desiring a debrief, must submit a request within 14 calendar days of receiving the letter of notification. The request must include specific questions to be discussed during the debrief. It should also include the names, contact information, and roles of the individuals participating in the debrief. 

All requests must be submitted via tha NIJ Applicant Request for Debriefing form.

Date Created: September 19, 2019