This article discusses ways in which the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is promoting and strengthening the practitioner-researcher bond in criminal justice.
NIJ is developing a program intended to develop and enhance researcher-practitioner partnerships. NIJ recently closed a solicitation titled, "Building and Enhancing Criminal Justice Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships" and is currently reviewing proposals. The solicitation aims to develop existing partnerships, establish new partnerships, and compile significant lessons learned through past and current criminal justice researcher-practitioner partnerships. The solicitation covers three areas, and NIJ anticipates funding at least one application under each area. The first area focuses on obtaining past and current accounts of criminal justice researcher-practitioner partnerships. It asks applicants to collect information related to assessing the need for a partnership, obstacles to and solutions for the development of a partnership, balancing the needs of the two parties, successful strategies for dissemination and translation of results, and the sustainability of partnerships. The second area of the solicitation encourages criminal justice researcher-practitioner partnerships by pairing knowledgeable senior faculty members with junior faculty members. This is intended to develop the junior faculty's research skills and chosen fields of concentration while conducting research that will inform criminal justice practice or policy. The final section of the solicitation supports the placement of criminal justice researchers within practice-based organizations in order to develop and conduct needed research and evaluation that impacts the organization. The solicitation is the first step in providing a targeted venue for researchers and practitioners to not only work together on criminal justice issues, but also to expose each group to the daily work of their respective fields.
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