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NIJ FY24 Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories

Opportunity ID
Solicitation Status
Fiscal Year
Closing Date
Posting Date
Solicitation Type
Grants.gov Deadline
April 15, 2024, 11:59 pm Eastern
Application JustGrants Deadline
April 22, 2024, 8:59 pm Eastern

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals for research and evaluation studies to produce practical knowledge that has the potential to improve the examination and interpretation of physical evidence in forensic science laboratories across the community of practice. This program furthers DOJ’s mission by supporting the development of new knowledge and tools to address the challenges of crime and justice in the United. NIJ’s Forensic Science Strategic Research Plan and Forensic Science R&D Technology Working Group (TWG) identify current research priorities and technology challenges encountered in operational forensic science laboratories. Research-based knowledge and newly developed tools that work towards addressing these priorities and resolving these challenges facilitate the criminal justice community’s ability to enforce the law, promote public safety, prevent and reduce crime, and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice.

Solicitation Overview

Local, state, and special district governments. Public, private, and state-controlled institutions of higher education; nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; small businesses; for-profit organizations other than small businesses. Native American tribal organizations (other than federally recognized tribal governments); Native American tribal governments (federally recognized). Independent school districts.

NIJ seeks proposals for research and evaluation studies to produce practical knowledge that has the potential to improve the examination and interpretation of physical evidence in forensic science laboratories across the community of practice.

Up to $1,000,000. NIJ expects to make 1-7 awards. The total number of awards will be determined by the number of applications received and their merit.

In order to foster collaboration between emerging forensic science researchers and forensic science laboratories, as well as to ensure the direct applicability of the results of this research to lab practice, non-publicly funded laboratory applicants must demonstrate a partnership with a forensic science laboratory that is currently accredited by an independent accrediting or certifying forensic science organization. Publicly funded forensic science laboratories include state, regional, county, municipal, and tribal agencies. Applicants are encouraged to propose multidisciplinary research teams to build on the complementary strengths of different methods and areas of subject matter expertise. NIJ also strongly encourages applicants to include a statistician or quantitatively trained evaluator on the project team to ensure that rigorous testing measures are employed.

NIJ will give special consideration in award decisions to proposals from Minority Serving Institution (MSI). Receiving priority consideration for one or more priority areas does not guarantee an award.

  • To direct the findings of this research and evaluation toward the identification of the most efficient, accurate, reliable, and cost-effective methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.
  • Identify and inform the forensic community of best practices through the evaluation of existing and emerging laboratory protocols and/or have a direct and immediate impact on laboratory efficiency and assist in making laboratory policy decisions.

The following application elements must be included in the application to meet the basic minimum requirements to advance to peer review and receive consideration for funding:

  1. A proposal narrative (in JustGrants)
  2. A budget web-based form, which includes the budget details and the budget narrative describing and justifying costs (in JustGrants)
  3. Financial Management and System of Internal Controls Questionnaire, including applicant disclosure of high-risk status
  4. Biosketch/Curriculum Vitae/Resumes for key personnel. For purposes of this solicitation, “key personnel” means the principal investigator, and any and all co-principal investigators.) 
  5. Proof of Forensic Laboratory Accreditation, to include the scope of the accreditation for the involved publicly funded forensic laboratory.

Start early! To apply, you must first register with the System for Award Management (SAM). Registration and renewal can take up to 10 business days to complete. Register with SAM.gov.

After registering with SAM, you must submit two forms the SF-424 and SF-LLL in Grants.gov by the Grants.gov deadline 11:59pm eastern time on April 15, 2024. Submit the SF-424 and SF-LLL as early as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the Grants.gov deadline.

Finally, after submitting both forms, you must then submit the full application, including attachments, in JustGrants by the JustGrants deadline 8:59pm eastern time on April 22, 2024.

Where applicable, NIJ seeks proposals that:

  • Propose an inclusive research design.
  • Address issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and other potential disparities in data sources, research methods, and outcomes.
  • Propose a multi-disciplinary research team.
  • Ensure rigorous measurement of implementation fidelity.
  • Allocate ample resources for translation and dissemination of research findings. 

A successful proposal must do the following:

  • Center the need for the proposed research within the existing body of knowledge.
  • Present a rigorous and feasible project design that is appropriate to address the question(s) of interest.
  • Demonstrate that the proposed team has the capabilities and competencies to carry out the project.
  • Describe how the research will address one or more U.S. safety and justice challenges, including a discussion of how relevant stakeholders can make the resulting knowledge products actionable.
  • Present a budget that demonstrably supports the work proposed in the application.

See examples of successful applications and other useful information.

Date Modified: March 29, 2024

NIJ has adjusted the total available funding for this solicitation. The total available is reduced by $500,000 from $1,500,000 to $1,000,000.

Date Created: January 25, 2024