U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Transcript: Overview of Planned FY 2022 NIJ Funding Opportunities

Four Solicitations Cancelled

Regrettably, NIJ will not release the solicitations "Research and Evaluation on Jails," "Research and Evaluation on Drugs and Crime," and "Tribal-Researcher Capacity Building Grants Solicitation" in FY 2022. NIJ also will not be able to fund new awards under Graduate Research Fellowship Program in FY 2022. As a reminder, all solicitations, and awards made under each solicitation, are subject to the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by the agency or by law.

This webinar, held February 16, 2022,  highlighted planned FY 2022 NIJ funding opportunities presented by the Directors of NIJ’s Office of Research and Evaluation and Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences. A Q&A session followed the presentation.

Download the presentation.

Transcript

DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Briefing on Planned Fiscal Year 2022 Solicitation Funding Opportunities, hosted by the National Institute of Justice. At this time, it’s my pleasure to introduce Chris Tillery, Director of the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology within the National Institute of Justice for some welcoming remarks. Chris?

CHRIS TILLERY: So good afternoon, everyone, I am Chris Tillery. I am the Office Director for NIJ’s Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology. And this afternoon, my colleague, Lucas Zarwell, who is the Director of NIJ’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, will provide you a summary overview of NIJ’s planned FY 2022 solicitation funding opportunities. As Daryl noted earlier, the information provided this--in this briefing is subject to change, based on the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law. I would also note that with regard to Q&A, the one question that NIJ scientists cannot answer for you is whether or not your concept idea or proposal is responsive to any particular solicitation. That is a decision that you will have to make for yourself, based on the information provided in the solicitation. The solicitations that NIJ releases are released under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 16.560, which is the National Institute of Justice Research, Evaluation, and Development project grants. NIJ solicitations seek applications for funding research projects to develop knowledge and tools to advance criminal and juvenile justice policy and practice in the United States. Applications for projects that do not address that purpose will not be considered for funding. This is a brief overview of some of the highlights from NIJ’s FY 2022 solicitations. At this point in time, it looks like our FY 2022 competitive funding solicitations will more or less conform to what we saw last year. One other point that I’d like to make sure that everybody understands, which we just started last year, which is why I’m repeating it, is that a reminder that NIJ has--now has a two-step application process. Applicants must begin with submitting required information forms to Grants.gov before submitting full applications to JustGrants.

We’ll begin this presentation with an overview of planned FY 2022 Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology solicitations. That will be followed by Lucas, who will brief you on the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences planned solicitations. Because my office has a fair number of solicitations and we want to leave time at the end to respond to questions, I will only touch on key points. More information is found on the NIJ website. When published, please read the final solicitation carefully. If there is a discrepancy in what is discussed here today and the solicitation, the directions in the solicitation take precedence.

NIJ plans to release six solicitations this year addressing the issue of violent crime. The domestic violence extremism solicitation will include a new topic this year. NIJ recognizes that extreme misuse of online platforms can be violent mechanisms for communication and recruitment for radicalization. This problem is exacerbated by the use of information that is false, mis-information. Deliberately created to discredit an identity, which is disinformation, or based on reality, but is used to ignite hatred or inflict harm, malinformation. Therefore, NIJ will encourage applicants to propose research that applies strategies and best practices to bolster resistance to such material in both the on and offline spaces. Research results from projects funded under this topic--and the solicitation will have multiple topics--should have an end goal of informing effective messaging and counternarrative campaigns, strategies to amplify credible voices, cultivating digital literacy and evidence-based digital programming, as well as bolstering efforts to limit the widespread availability of extremist content online. Applicants proposing under this topic in this solicitation should ensure that the strategies that are proposed respect constitutional protections of expression, free speech, and association.

The violence against women solicitation this year will seek applications for grant funding to conduct research and evaluation projects examining a broad range of topics, including the crimes of domestic and family violence, homicide, intimate partner and dating violence, rape, sexual assault, stalking, sex trafficking, along with the associated criminal justice system responses. With regard to school safety, the topics in this year’s solicitation broadly will be the same as last year’s, which is studying the root causes and consequences of school violence, and examining the impact and effectiveness of awards made under the STOP School Violence Act purpose areas.

We’re releasing a new solicitation this year, which is looking at crime and firearms violence in the community. We will be seeking to fund proposals for research projects to advance understanding of community violence, including firearms violence and evaluation of community violence, intervention, and protection programs, policies, legislation, and practices to include those targeting firearms violence. As regards research in community violence, NIJ’s interests include studies on communities where violence occurs, those who perpetrate the violence, and/or those who are victims of violence. As applicable, studies are encouraged to focus on communities where the firearm and/or violence is persistently high or where there has been a recent increase in violence. NIJ is interest in evaluations of intervention and prevention programs include approaches intended to impact violence and in the community generally, and those targeting particular types of violence tools to commit violence, for example, firearms violence, or individuals who are hard to reach and/or at high risk of violent perpetration and victimization.

With regard to drugs and crime, NIJ’s research interests this year are narcotics-related, money laundering, weapons and violent offenses, and criminal networks. As regards desistance from crime, NIJ seeks proposals for rigorous evaluations of desistance-based interventions to advance understanding of strategies that might aid in the process of desistance, including programs targeting intimate partner violence. This may include proposals to expand prior evaluation efforts to extend follow-up periods. NIJ has three solicitations looking at developing knowledge and tools to reduce--to reduce victimization and improve victim services. This--the solicitation for services for victims of crime, which is released in collaboration with the Office of Victim--of (for) Victims of Crime, seeks applications for rigorous research and evaluation projects in three categories: evaluation programs that provides services for victims of crime, research on supporting victims of community violence, and the financial costs of crime and victimization. With regard to human trafficking, there are three areas of interest: one is trafficking prevention, second is strategies to intervene and respond to trafficking once it has occurred, and then the third is general other understudied areas of research on human trafficking.

As it regards to hate crime, this is the first time we’ve released this solicitation in a number of years. NIJ’s particularly interested in funding research to understand and prevent hate crime, offending and re-offending, to identify strategies and improve the reporting, investigating, and prosecution of hate crimes, and that address the needs of victims of hate crimes and their communities.

With regard to developing knowledge and tools to produce a more equitable and efficient justice system, NIJ is proposing to release four solicitations. NIJ proposes one solicitation looking at racial and ethnic disparities. And what we are looking for is investigator-initiated proposals to conduct a comprehensive, evidence-based analysis of the existing evidence to examine how observed racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system may be reduced through public policy. NIJ expects to make one award under this solicitation. As an aside, in general, the solicitations released by the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology will fund one or more applications based on the merits of the proposals, as well as the--as well as the available funding. In other words, our solicitations are usually crafted in such a way that the total amount of money available under a particular solicitation could go to one award or it could go to multiple awards. It all depends on the merits of the proposals and the funding requested. In those circumstances where there are limited number of awards--for example, in this solicitation, we only anticipate making one--the solicitation will note that.

With regard to research and evaluation in jails, NIJ will seek proposals for rigorous research evaluations projects--with projects on three tropics: optimizing workforce development for jail personnel, enhancing jail operations to provide criminal justice services, and examining the impact of jails and justice-involved individuals in a larger community. The primary goal of this solicitation is to build a body of knowledge on jails at the local level to inform development of policy and practice to improve outcomes for jail staff, persons who are incarcerated, and the local community.

With regard to research and evaluation on the administration of justice, there are two principal topics. One is evaluating alternatives to incarceration among persons who experience mental health issues. The second is research and evaluation examining the impact of restorative justice strategies on the administration of justice and public safety. With regards to research and evaluation on policing, NIJ seeks proposals for rigorous research and evaluations projects that examine the impact of the reallocation of police resources, consequent to redefining police mandates and public safety and public services; implementation and sustainment of long-term organizational change in police agencies; and police recruitment retention and training in today’s environment.

Moving on to juvenile justice, NIJ plans on releasing three solicitations in this area this year. One is the National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Program. This seeks proposals to support that program and enhance the National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Program broadly. This is a solicitation where we anticipate one award. Under the Research on Juvenile Justice Topics solicitation, there are three topical areas. One is juvenile indigent defense and delinquency proceedings. The second is co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in juvenile residential facilities, and the third is assessing dual system youth data linkage capacity across juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The third solicitation on developing knowledge and tools to improve juvenile justice is Youth Mentoring Research and Evaluation. Again, there are three topics. One focuses on increasing the capacity for achieving broad population level impacts. The second focuses on understanding how mentoring can advance change mechanisms, promoting positive youth development. And the third examines program participation and long-term effects. Actually, I misspoke. There are four topic areas under this solicitation. The fourth will look at optimizing program effectiveness through iterative cycles of development paired with rigorous evaluation feedback.

The final area for Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology solicitations is building the justice research infrastructure. The first is the tribal research capacity building grants. In past years, that solicitation has been limited to funding proposals for planning grants that support the development of new tribal researcher partnerships. This year, we have expanded the solicitation to include the second topic, which will allow applications for funding for projects resulting from prior planning grants. The final solicitation, and this is shared with NIJ’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, is a graduate research fellowship. We didn’t have a solicitation in that area last year, we do this year. The only remark I’d make, because Lucas will address it in more length, is that it’s open to all sciences. That includes social and behavioral sciences. It could be biomedical research. It could be any one of the STEM sciences or engineering. It’s funding for dissertation research that advances criminal justice policy and practice across the United States regardless of scientific discipline. And that concludes my remarks and I’ll turn it over to my colleague, Lucas Zarwell.

LUCAS ZARWELL: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate that. Good afternoon, everyone. I’m just waiting for control of the slides and there, I have them. So I’m going to discuss the two forthcoming solicitations for the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences. I’ll do that in the context of a little bit of the history of each solicitation and the performance of that solicitation. And then I’ll also, of course, go into the GRF solicitation as well. So the first solicitation--forthcoming solicitation is our Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes. The intent of this program is to direct the findings of basic scientific research, foster research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science, and then support ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective, and rapid methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of forensic science for criminal justice purposes. So in like a summary of that, what I would say was, you know, we’re here to support basic or applied research and development in forensic science. And then also, the aim of this solicitation is to increase the body of knowledge, to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice, and lead to the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods for forensic application.

When we look at the solicitation, which for short, we call Forensic Science R&D for CJ Purposes, the solicitation actually started in 2014. Previously to that, we had other vehicles that we used for funding, but under this specific solicitation, we’ve issued over 376 awards for a total of about a 27% success rate. The funding has been variable over the years, but we’ve honestly been funding awards in the forensic science since 2009 to a total of about $255 million, making NIJ the lead science agency in forensic science funding. The success rate has come down recently, but it’s still comparable to other federal programs. To give you an idea of what the program funds, the solicitation is designed in a way where we can emphasize all fields and subject matter areas in forensic science and address those areas. You can see that forensic biology and DNA, a large amount of awards have gone to that sector, but there’s an equitable amount of awards in a lot of the other subject matter areas.

The next award I want to talk about is the forthcoming Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories. This particular solicitation is very unique, and that for the several--last several years, this particular funding opportunity has specifically enabled research at public forensic labs. So clearly, the eligibility for this solicitation must be that there is a partner or the applicant must partner with a publicly funded lab or be a publicly funded lab. The idea behind this is to identify best practices through evaluation of laboratory protocols, and to make a direct impact on laboratory efficiency and laboratory policy decisions. I think it’s important to note that labs often don’t have the time or experience to do much research themselves, but that they do have unique access to casework and validated processes or casework-like data that researchers can work with. Now, it’s also important to emphasize that the primary applicant does not have to be a lab, just the program requires that one of the applicants must be a public lab. When we look at the Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories solicitation, we can see that it’s much younger than the Research and Development for Criminal Justice Purposes. However, its success rate is higher at 37%. This gives you an idea of the blue, which is the amount of money that’s been awarded under the solicitation and the requested amount, which has been in red. That’s total applications per year. So in overall or overarching, we’ve funded over 34 awards for over $9 million since 2015. It’s a successful program and we look forward to it--releasing it again this year. Again, much like Forensic Science R&D, this particular solicitation results in awards that cover the spectrum of forensic science disciplines.

And finally, I want to discuss the Graduate Research Fellowship Program as Chris mentioned in the previous slide. The purpose of the GRF Program is to support the development of new researchers addressing the challenges of crime and justice in the United States. This solicitation supports students’ dissertation research at their home institutions. And again, all science and engineering fields are welcome. The eligibility is that the applicant has to be currently enrolled in a PhD program and have a dissertation project relevant to criminal justice. The benefit in previous years has been $52,500 per year for up to three years of funding. And here we’ve listed a number of the areas of study that are included under this award. To give you an idea of the history and performance of GRF, again, we did not do one in 2021 but from 2012 to 2020, you can see there’s been over--there’s been 180 GRF fellows from over 66 unique institutions since the inception of the program. Typically, we expect about 24 new fellows awarded every year. And here you can see another distribution between the physical, engineering, life sciences, and social sciences that this program funds.

Finally, I just want to conclude, and this is in general for the entire presentation, I want to provide some important contact information. Please see the phone number and technical assistance number for submitting your SF-424 and SF-LLL into Grants.gov as well as their email. I’m also adding the technical assistance for submitting the full application into JustGrants and the email for that. And then finally, if you have a need or have or need technical assistance with programmatic requirements, please contact the OJP Response Center at 1-800-851-3420 or you can email [email protected] Thank you.

DARYL FOX: Okay. Thank you both for that wonderful presentation. At this point, as you have been entering your questions in the Q&A, we’re going to get to the Q&A portion of the presentation. So once again, the bottom right-hand side of your screen, you can click on the three dots, enter the Q&A, and enter your question and send to all panelists. That way, we can better organize them as they’re coming in. Now, there’s quite a few that are coming in so far. So the first one is “Will the Office on Violence Against Women have a separate solicitation for research and evaluation this year?”

CHRIS TILLERY: This is Chris Tillery. They have heretofore, but I would defer to OVW with regard to that.

DARYL FOX: And then just generally, there’s a few questions that are coming in on the solicitations posting, “Is there anticipation or just a general date on when they’ll start to list and post to the site?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: We--I’m sorry. We anticipate that the solicitations will be released in the next month or so, but the goal is to make sure that all awards are completed by September 30th.

DARYL FOX: “It seems that the research on the impact of public policy on racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system would fund projects that also meet the criteria or are a good fit for the W.E.B. Du Bois solicitation, which had a deadline of January 20, 2022. Would an application for the same project be submitted for this solicitation as well? Is that relevant?”

CHRIS TILLERY: So, Du Bois had a specific set of research questions dealing with racial and ethnic disparities. Last year, we had a racial and ethnic disparities solicitation under which two awards were made. This solicitation that was discussed here today has a specific purpose, which is to basically pull together what is currently known. And then to identify interventions from that—. This solicitation is seen as complementary to both the awards that were made last year and the awards of any that will be made under the Du Bois solicitation this year. It’s envisioned as a complementary effort to build that body of knowledge.

DARYL FOX: “Regarding the research and evaluation for violence against women, again, is there going to be a focus on COVID-19 within that again this year?”

CHRIS TILLERY: I don’t know right offhand. If you will give me a couple of minutes, I will--I will follow up on that.

DARYL FOX: Okay. And there was a mention of just going back a slide to the GRF slide, which I’m doing now, you should see that up. The person that asked that question, we’ll leave this up for a couple moments so you can jot down the information. And also, as you know, and it was mentioned, the presentation will be posted to the NIJ website soon, you’ll be able to go back and reference this again. And then there was just a general question that came in regarding the relationship between NIJ and BJA. “Obviously, both are components of OJP. Could you just maybe discuss or elaborate on the difference between those two funding streams?”

CHRIS TILLERY: Lucas, you want that or you want me to answer?

LUCAS ZARWELL: Sure. Why don’t I lead and then you follow? So NIJ is OJ--one of the two OJP components that handles research, development, and evaluation for the Department of Justice. BJA tends to do capacity enhancement types of programs, training and technical assistance, state and local assistance awards. They often can be formula, some of them are competitive. But in general, you know, NIJ focuses on research and BJA focuses on, you know, implementing programs that, you know, or implementing evidence-based programs. And so, we do collaborate frequently and often to communicate about, you know, in what we’re finding in the field of criminal justice, research, and the programs that are developing or being looked at, and so that we can inform them about how they want to apply their policies or practice across their component. Hope that answers your question. Chris, did you want to add anything to that?

CHRIS TILLERY: If I could, just a little bit. So, just so you don’t get the wrong impression. BJA does fund research as part of the larger program implementation. We--as Lucas said, we work closely with BJA. So, for example, NIJ is working with both BJA and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on evaluating the STOP School Violence Grant Program. NIJ just recently released and closed, I think it closed this month or last month, a solicitation doing an evaluation of the Veterans Treatment Court Program, which BJA is administering. It is a very close collaborative working relationship between the two agencies. Lucas said we’re all part of the Office of Justice Programs, whose mission is to improve criminal justice policy and practice in the United States. And we offer different funding opportunities. If you go up on the NIJ website, you’ll see one set of funding opportunities. If you go up on the BJA website, you’ll see a different set of funding opportunities. And often those funding opportunities are hand in glove. Like I said, for example, I can’t speak for BJA and what they’re going to release for solicitations this year, but they have released solicitation for Veterans Treatment Courts and we’re releasing a solicitation or have--did release a solicitation last year, which just closed for evaluation of Veterans Treatment Courts. So, it’s a--it’s a hand in glove sort of relationship. I hope that amplifies a little bit riffing off of what Lucas just said.

DARYL FOX: Okay. Thanks for that. A couple of questions regarding this GRF Fellowship. “Is there a citizenship requirement or perhaps international grad students enrolled in U.S. universities?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: I’m not aware of that information at this time. I will see what I can find.

DARYL FOX: Then just generally, “How long are typical solicitations open for from the time of release to submission?”

CHRIS TILLERY: It varies. We try to make sure that they’re open for at least 60 days. I mean, that’s the target. On occasion, it will be--it will be open for less. And we would like to leave them open for as long as we can. So generally, it’s between 60 and 90 days with very few that are--that are open for less. But it all varies and depends on a number of different factors. Lucas, you agree?

LUCAS ZARWELL: Yes.

DARYL FOX: And another one just regarding this GRF, just confirming and it’s listed here, “The $52,500 is total or is that per year up to three years, which is listed?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: It’s per year up to three years.

DARYL FOX: Then generally, “Is it possible for PIs to discuss their proposals with program officers before submission?”

CHRIS TILLERY: No. We do not discuss proposals prior to submission for a couple of reasons. One of which is to ensure or to try to ensure the integrity of the process. And the second is that NIJ’s review of applications begins with external peer review. The recommendations of the external peer review panel are not the only consideration in making funding decisions, but they’re an important one and they’re the first one. What NIJ scientists may think about a specific proposal may be different from what the peer review panelists think about a proposal. So, we want to ensure the integrity of the process and we do not want to bias the submission by introducing our own thoughts concerning specific approaches and proposals.

LUCAS ZARWELL: And just in terms of the GRF question, to clarify, the official applicant is the academic institution, not the student; therefore, the student’s citizenship does not affect the eligibility. GRF awards are made only to degree-granting academic institutions in the U.S. and its territories. The sponsoring academic institution must be fully accredited by one of the regional institutional accreditation commissions recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

DARYL FOX: Great. Thanks for that clarification, Lucas. Okay. The next question is, “Are there any specific priorities for R&D in forensic sciences for criminal justice purposes in 2022?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: Could you repeat that for me?

DARYL FOX: “Are there any specific priorities listed for R&D in forensic sciences for criminal justice purposes in 2022?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: No, not at this time.

DARYL FOX: “Does the solicitation related to desistance include evaluation of reentry programs that are aimed at reducing recidivism or must it be focused primarily on theoretical attributes related to desistance, for example, turning points?”

CHRIS TILLERY: So this is Chris again, and if you will give me a couple of minutes, I will get you an answer for that. With regard to the prior question on the Violence Against Women solicitation, it will not be COVID-focused. And let me get an answer on the desistance question.

DARYL FOX: “Will there be support for diverse research methods within the R&E in policing?”

CHRIS TILLERY: Yes, in prior years, NIJ has--so there was at least one year where the research in--research and evaluation in policing solicitation required RCTs, randomized controlled trials. That will not be the case this year. I’m trying to remember what the specific language is this year, but it’s words to the effect, the most rigorous type of research applicable to the question. So the short answer is yes, diversity of approaches.

DARYL FOX: Then a clarification, they’re wondering, ‘There will not be a funding award made this fiscal year for the R&E on promising reentry practices, as had been the case for the past few years, correct?”

CHRIS TILLERY: Correct. We are--we’re taking a pause on specific--evaluation and specific reentry approaches this year to review what we’ve already gotten out of the program. So, we’re taking a pause to better focus reentry research, right? It is and we haven’t given up on it. It’s just we want to take a pause and see where we’re at before we really rerelease the solicitation. But in the interim, we are taking a hard look at desistance. And so that answers that question. And I’ll get back to you here in a minute on what we’re looking for more specifically in the desistance solicitation.

DARYL FOX: Following up on the topic of COVID-19. “Is there any solicitation directly focused in the research of COVID-19 in jail facilities and mitigations also?

CHRIS TILLERY: There is not a specific focus on--well, hang on. So let me finish off desistance and then I’ll go look at jails. I do not think there is a specific focus on COVID in jails, although the language might allow for that, but anyway, so let me finish checking desistance here and then I’ll get on to jails.

DARYL FOX: Yes. Sorry to keep stacking that up for you, Chris.

CHRIS TILLERY: That’s all right. I’ve caught up on the violence against women solicitation question, so I’m--I’ll have COVID--I’ll have desistance here in a minute and then we’ll get to jails.

DARYL FOX: Okay. And in the meantime, maybe this is more general, “What are the differences, are there any between ORET and OIFS graduate research fellowships?

LUCAS ZARWELL: I can try to answer that. I mean, I think, you know, the difference really is that it’s the same fellowship. So it’s the same solicitation. Your application or an institution’s application will be considered in under all the sciences, so the social sciences, STEM sciences, you know, the engineering. Once--should an application, you know, be successful, you know, from a technical perspective, the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences will monitor the awards that are related to forensic science. But the solicitation there is only one.

CHRIS TILLERY: Daryl, if I could get back--get back to desistance.

DARYL FOX: Most certainly.

CHRIS TILLERY: So the application will seek, or rather the solicitation will seek applications to conduct rigorous evaluations of desistance-based interventions to advance understanding of strategies that might aid in the process of desistance, including programs targeting intimate partner violence. This may include proposals to expand prior evaluation efforts to extend follow-up periods. And now I’ll get cracking on the jails question.

DARYL FOX: Okay. There’s a couple of questions that came in on the trafficking in persons, victims of crime violence against women solicitations, so I’ll go to that slide here for that person. And you’ll see here the three different solicitations and the award amounts for those. For those that had come on a little late, I’ll leave this up for just a moment.

CHRIS TILLERY: And I’m sure we will follow up on any questions we don’t get to. And just caveating again, right, the--when the solicitation comes out, you need to--if you’re interested in applying, you need to read the solicitation to make sure that what you’re responding to is in fact, what’s called for.

DARYL FOX: And if you do have further questions regarding that, either eligibility or anything, really dealing with this specific solicitation, the OJP Response Center is going to be your main source there, here, [email protected] 1-800-851-3420.

CHRIS TILLERY: Sorry, Daryl, I interrupted. Did you finish?

DARYL FOX: Yup. I’m all set.

CHRIS TILLERY: Okay, cool. So, with regard to the jails and the--jail solicitation and COVID, there is--there is an open-end--there is the potential to address COVID with an open-ended question looking at--for example, jail system resiliency and common responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, that is something for consideration.

DARYL FOX: And then, “Not to get too far into the details of the submission process, but can you just generally describe the two-step process that’s required for submitting the grants?”

CHRIS TILLERY: I’m going to--I’m going to just do this really generally because I would direct you to the--to the OJP website for the specifics. But conceptually it’s a registration on Grants.gov. And once you’re registered then you submit the full proposal to JustGrants. You can think of it conceptually as a--as a screening process to make sure that you, you know, that your entity is registered with the federal government and then all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, before you submit an application into JustGrants. I would urge anyone considering submitting an application to any one of NIJ solicitations to make sure that you get registered on JustGrants as early as possible. I think I--I’m trying to remember what the--there’s a time gap between the two, right? And I think last year, it was something like two weeks, Lucas, does that sound about right? I think it was one or two.

LUCAS ZARWELL: I think two weeks sounds about right, Chris.

CHRIS TILLERY: Yeah. And so we had--we had a number of applicants last year that missed the JustGrants deadline. And they missed the JustGrants deadline because they didn’t get squared away in Grants.gov. And then we had requests for late submissions to Grants.gov because an applicant got halfway through the process and they realized, for example, that the authorizing individual for Grants.gov for their organization had left a year ago and they never updated it. So I just urge anyone interested in applying to make sure you get registered on Grants.gov as early as possible in the process, don’t wait till the last minute. Hopefully that answers the question at least to a degree.

DARYL FOX: Okay. “And regarding the human trafficking, is there a specific understudied area within that or can you explain that one solicitation in a little further detail?”

CHRIS TILLERY: All right, and so again, give me a second. Well, actually maybe a minute, but let me dig that up.

DARYL FOX: This one is a little specific to statistical methods. “For forensic statistical methods that are useful to a couple different subdisciplines, such as trace and impression pattern evidence, is it necessary to target a specific subdiscipline?”

LUCAS ZARWELL: I understand the question. So no, it’s not necessary to target. I think I would just apply under the solicitation. We do get forensic science-specific applications that cross disciplines. It’s not uncommon.

CHRIS TILLERY: So Daryl, this is--this is Chris again. Some understudied areas include labor trafficking, we’re still trying to develop a better means of prevalence estimation. And there’s always a need for improved rapid screening tools for both sex and labor trafficking.

DARYL FOX: “Is there any specific solicitation that’s focusing on evaluations of community corrections, specifically related to mental health?”

CHRIS TILLERY: There is not a community corrections-specific solicitation this year.

DARYL FOX: “There’s previous solicitations have somewhat had a focus on animal DNA. Do the current solicitations include a focus on this as well?”

CHRIS TILLERY: Focus on what? I’m sorry, I missed that.

DARYL FOX: It’s just animal DNA.

CHRIS TILLERY: Oh, that’s Lucas’s.

LUCAS ZARWELL: So last year, our solicitation included, out of all the many disciplines, did have a section for wildlife forensics. But we’ve had no solicitations in--at least in the recent history, that’s specific to animal DNA. But there is--but we do have that discipline listed under the forensic science Research and Development in Criminal Justice Purposes solicitation.

DARYL FOX: Someone had asked to go back to the research, R&E in policing slide. If you know that, really quickly, if you would put that out to me, I can go to that--which slide that is.

CHRIS TILLERY: It was--that was the slide then that talked to fair and equitable treatment. So am I looking for the solicitation or what am I looking for specifically?

DARYL FOX: The question is, “Could you please return the slide regarding R&E in policing?” There are some details that were missed that the person wanted to jot down. All right. Just general, I’ll go ahead and just kind of leave this up for that person. And for that person, once again, this will be posted to the--to the website, so you can go back and access that once it is posted. So, you know, we’re nearing the 4 p.m. for today. Chris, Lucas, is there anything in closing that you wanted to mention before we wrap up?

CHRIS TILLERY: Lucas?

LUCAS ZARWELL: I think I would just--I would just state overall, there’s been a lot of questions about when the solicitations are going to post and that, you know, NIJ is working to be as consistent as possible in its release of its solicitations. I will say that dates can be difficult to pin down but we do expect these announcements to be more forthcoming, which is why we’re putting out this webinar. I mean, we do expect to, you know, make awards by September 30th of this year.

CHRIS TILLERY: And this is Chris and I would--I would go back to that caveat on the--on the cover slide. NIJ’s intent in this webinar is to inform the field about what we’re planning to do to give folks an understanding of what our research interests are this year and how we’re--how we’re planning to fund those, but we don’t have a final appropriation yet or--you know, and or we don’t have a full-year continuing resolution. And until those come out, this plan, our intent is subject to change and so just reiterating again, take a look--take a hard look at the solicitations once they are published to understand--for you to understand what they’re being asked for or what is being asked for.

DARYL FOX: Okay. So, on behalf of the National Institute of Justice and our panelists, we want to thank you for joining today’s webinar. This will conclude today’s presentation.

Date Published: March 7, 2022