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Dr. John H. Laub, Director
One of my priorities this past year has been to strengthen the science mission of NIJ. We have manifested this in several ways:
- Creating a mechanism for a culture grounded in science and research. Watch my interviews on:
- Fostering cutting edge, innovative research projects. We will be announcing our 2011 awards over the next several weeks.
- Responding to the NRC report.
- Launching a pilot test of "standing" peer review panels.
- Embracing the dual challenge for our research to be "rigorous" and "relevant." (In my view, the concept of "translational criminology" — the theme of the 2011 NIJ Conference — captures this duality perfectly.)
One new step I am taking is a restructuring of the Institute to support strengthening our science mission. Here are the highlights of the plan, which went into effect September 12 when I held an all-staff meeting to present the plan and engage in a question-and-answer session.
Deputy Director. The person in this position will oversee all three NIJ science offices: the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, the Office of Science and Technology, and the Office of Research and Evaluation. The new Deputy Director, who will be a career employee from the Senior Executive Service, will have a strong scientific background with a doctoral degree in a justice-related field and strong research credentials. In my view, this move will help to institutionalize science at NIJ, regardless of who sits in the Director's chair. We hope to advertise for this position and hire someone soon.
Office of Research Partnerships. This new office will initiate, manage and coordinate criminal justice research partnerships with agencies and organizations within and outside the Department of Justice. It was evident to me early on that partnerships were a key part of furthering our science mission. Although there has been a long history of partnerships at NIJ, I believe a new office is needed to build relationships, leverage and share resources, and expand NIJ's network into traditional criminal justice areas as well as new areas of inquiry. NIJ will hire a Director for this office who will report to Deputy Director Kristina Rose who will also oversee the Office of Operations and the Office of Communications.
Office of Research and Evaluation. Before coming to NIJ, I taught a wide array of courses in criminology and criminal justice. Once I arrived here, I was found that the divisions within ORE were not as strong as they could be conceptually. The new organization of ORE will have two divisions:
- The Crime, Violence and Victimization Research Division, headed by Winnie Reed, will focus on crime and violence prevention and research on the causes and correlates of crime and victimization.
- The Justice Systems Research Division, headed by Angela Moore, will include research on policing and forensics social science as well as courts and corrections.
Some of you will notice that NIJ's International Center is no longer a separate entity in the new organization. I have integrated the international topics into the Office of Research Partnerships.
I believe that restructuring of NIJ will lead to a stronger Institute that is grounded in science and more accurately reflects the excellent work that we do here. I hope it also helps us solidify the effort to institutionalize science at NIJ.