On this page, learn all about applying for and managing funding from NIJ.
- What NIJ Funds
- Find a Funding Opportunity
- What to Do Before You Apply
- Building Your Proposal
- Submitting Your Application
- Application Review and Award Notification
- If Your Proposal Is Funded
- Archiving Your Data
What NIJ Funds
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.
- Forensic laboratory enhancement. NIJ provides funding through formula and discretionary awards to reduce evidence backlogs and improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services. Programs include:
- Research fellowships. NIJ funds two fellowships through annual solicitations. The focus of the solicitations varies from year to year.
Other than through the forensic laboratory enhancement programs, NIJ does not fund proposals primarily to purchase equipment, materials or supplies, or to provide direct services.
Find a Funding Opportunity
Look for current funding opportunities:
You also can:
- Review a list of forthcoming solicitations from NIJ.
- Sign up for an e-mail update whenever we release a new solicitation.
Unsolicited Proposals. Although you may submit unsolicited proposals, you are discouraged from doing so unless you have discussed the concept with NIJ staff and been asked to submit a proposal that does not fit into a specific solicitation. Unsolicited proposals may receive either an external peer review or an internal review. If the proposal fits into an already established solicitation category, it will be returned with a recommendation to resubmit it under that solicitation.
What to Do Before You Apply
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:
- NIJ's Frequently Asked Funding Questions
- The Financial Guide
- Human Subjects and Privacy Protection Information
Build Your Proposal
Although both Grants.gov and OJP's Grants Management System (GMS) 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:
- NIJ Funding FAQs (see the About the Program Narrative section)
- NIJ Project Abstract template
- Grants 101 — Write the Proposal
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 Template (pdf, 24 pages).
For further information, review:
- The "Financial Guide" for allowable costs.
- NIJ's Funding FAQs (see the About the Budget section)
- Grants 101 — Develop a Budget
View sample applications from:
- Research and evaluation project (pdf, 48 pages).
- The Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (pdf, 26 pages).
Submit Your Application
Once you have written a grant proposal, you must complete the application package and submit it online.
Competitive, discretionary grant applications generally are submitted through Grants.gov and formula grants, congressional earmarks and continuation grants must be submitted through OJP's Grants Management System (GMS).
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:
- OJP Grants 101
- Grants.gov Applicant Resources
- GMS User's Guide
- Computer-based Training for the Grants Management System
Application Review and Award Notification
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.
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 via the Grants Management System, regardless of whether the application came through GMS or Grants.gov. If you are unsuccessful, NIJ will issue you a rejection letter by December 30 of the calendar year.
If Your Proposal Is Funded
If your proposals is funded, you should read carefully each of the following:
- Award package and special conditions.
- OJP Postaward Requirements (pdf, 32 pages), provides step-by-step guidance on what you must do and what you should review to successfully manage your award.
- The Office of Justice Programs Financial Guide, the primary reference manual for award recipients. Contains compilations of laws, rules and regulations that affect the financial and administrative management of awards.
Managing Your Funding
If you have questions about your award, contact your grant manager.
In addition to reviewing the Financial Guide, we also encourage you to visit the Grants Financial Management Online Training Module. You will find 24 training modules on the basics of federal grants management, including financial management systems, administrative rules, subawards, reporting requirements, financial monitoring and audit requirements, and award closeout.
Grant Monitoring and Site Visits
Grant monitoring is a critical component of grant management because it allows grant managers to observe compliance with requirements and progress against project goals, identify opportunities to provide technical assistance and ensure that adequate controls are in place to improve accountability of federal funds.
The grant monitoring module in GMS was designed in an effort to support the full monitoring lifecycle, provide monitoring workflow, and enhance the communication between grant managers and grantees during site visit planning and follow-up.
We encourage awardees to review the GMS Grant Monitoring for Grantees (pdf, 20 pages), which provides step-by-step instructions and screenshots to help you manage your grant monitoring site visits within the GMS Grant Monitoring Module and in compliance with federal monitoring requirements and deadlines.
If your project is funded, you will be required to submit several reports. To learn all of the details, review Post Award Reporting Requirements.
All semi-annual progress reports will be submitted in the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) format. See Research Performance Progress Report Guidelines for NIJ Awardees.
Final Technical Reports are required only for grants awarded before fiscal year 2014. See Final Technical Report Guidelines for more details.
For grants awarded in fiscal year 2014 and beyond, awardees will submit a Final Summary Overview. Learn more about the Final Summary Overview.
Archiving Your Data
Recipients of NIJ research funding must submit data resulting from their projects to NIJ for archiving with the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, with some exceptions. Making these data available allows researchers to test each other's conclusions — verifying, refining or refuting original findings — and develop and test new conclusions.