U.S. flag

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

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)

Select Filters

Sentinel Events Initiative: A Compiled Bibliography

The National Institute of Justice has compiled a bibliography of journal articles, news stories, and other resources relevant to the Sentinel Events Initiative. The bibliography includes close to 1,000 citations, most with abstracts and links to the complete publications.[1]

Before Applying - Graduate Research Fellowship

Outside of the open solicitation period, email program questions to [email protected]. During the open solicitation period, please contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center: toll-free at 1-800-851-3420; via TTY at 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only); email [email protected]; fax to 301-240-5830; or web chat at https://webcontact.ncjrs.gov/ncjchat/chat.jsp.

For technical assistance with submitting an application, call the Grants.gov Customer Support Hot Line at 800-518-4726.

The GRF program supports the development of young scientists engaged in research relevant to NIJ's criminal justice mission. The intent is to give these students the financial support to allow them to devote their full attention to completion of their dissertation research. GRF fellowships include: a student fellow salary; an allowance for tuition, fees, and administrative costs; and an allowance for research expenses. Up to three years of support may be requested.

A GRF solicitation for 2020 has not yet posted, but it is anticipated soon. In past years, the funding opportunity has typically posted in January and been open for at least 90 days. Potential applicants can register for updates at https://nij.ojp.gov/subscribe to be notified when the solicitation is released.

Students enrolled full-time in a PhD program in a science or engineering field and who propose a dissertation topic relevant to criminal justice are eligible. The applicant academic institution must be fully accredited by one of the regional institutional accreditation commissions recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Failure to provide verification of current enrollment at the time of application will disqualify an applicant.

A student can apply for and be awarded a fellowship at any stage in their graduate program, if they are currently enrolled, but they will not begin to receive fellowship funding until:

  • A dissertation committee has been formed, and
  • The dissertation topic has been approved by the committee and is substantively similar to what was originally proposed in the fellowship application.

If the doctoral student has already passed these milestones at the time of application, then the dissertation committee chair should indicate this in the letter of support included with the application.

If the doctoral student has NOT accomplished these milestones at the time of application, then the student’s project timeline should indicate the dates by which these milestones are expected to be met. The letter of support from the student’s faculty advisor, department chair, departmental director of graduate studies or individual with similar responsibilities should also refer to the dates by which these requirements are expected to be met. Although an award may be made in such cases, access to award funds will be withheld until NIJ receives documentation that the student has met both milestones.

The earliest possible date that funds could become available is January 1 of the year following submission of an application. This is the official “start date” of the fellowship grant. But the practical availability of funds can in some cases be delayed until certain grant requirements are satisfied (e.g., human subjects approval from an Institutional Review Board; environmental protection checklist; dissertation topic approval). It is important that you work with your university Office of Sponsored Programs, or equivalent, to make sure all of these conditions are satisfied.

Successful institutional applicants must agree to comply with additional requirements prior to receiving grant funding. Learn more about these requirements (pdf, 23 pages).

No. The official applicant is the academic institution, not the student. Therefore, the student's citizenship does not affect 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.

The GRF program funds dissertation research across a wide range of topics with relevance to criminal justice, including the forensic sciences. To apply, students must be enrolled in a doctoral program in the sciences or engineering. Successful applicants must demonstrate the relevance of their dissertation research to advancing criminal justice knowledge, practice or policy in the United States.

The GRF program has now integrated two previously separate solicitations: the Graduate Research Fellowship in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GRF-SBS), and the Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (GRF-STEM). Starting in 2020, all applicants are invited to apply to the same, single solicitation, regardless of their degree program.

Third Progress Report: NIJ's Response to "Strengthening the National Institute of Justice"

Message from NIJ Director John H. Laub in response to the report Strengthening the National Institute of Justice by the Committee on Assessing the Research Program of the National Institute of Justice at the National Research Council.

Responding to the NRC Report

This page provides updates on our response to the results of an evaluation by The National Academy of Sciences's National Research Council that examined NIJ capacity for meeting the needs of the criminal justice field.

Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships

Thank you, and good morning. My name is Howard Spivak and I am the Principal Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice, NIJ.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. We use science to inform and advance criminal justice policies and practices across the country. To do this, we provide objective and independent knowledge and tools to inform the criminal justice community, particularly at the state and local levels.

Alternative Sentencing Policies for Drug Offenders

June 2009

The panel presentations from the 2009 NIJ Conference are based on an NIJ-sponsored evaluation of the effectiveness of Kansas Senate Bill 123, which mandates community-based drug abuse treatment for drug possession by nonviolent offenders in lieu of prison. 

Custody Evaluation in Domestic Violence Cases

June 2009

Panelists will examine practices, beliefs and recommendations of professional and custody evaluators in domestic violence cases. Panelists will discuss current NIJ studies that use both qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the impact of personal attitudes and beliefs on custody evaluation.

Applying for Funding: Before Beginning

Review the following group of FAQs.

Because solicitations are competitive, NIJ staff cannot have individual conversations concerning the solicitation with prospective applicants.

For assistance with a specific solicitation, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Cent​er: toll-free at 1-800-851-3420; via TTY at 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only); email [email protected]; fax to 301-240-5830; or web chat.

All proposed projects must be submitted through an applicable and posted solicitation. The proposal must respond to the objectives and requirements in the solicitation. We encourage you to review the current and forthcoming funding pages for solicitations under which your idea might fit.

In general, NIJ funds evaluations of programs, not program delivery or development. But funding may be used to support the collection of data by program staff, for example. At the same time, NIJ encourages researcher/practitioner partnerships for the purpose of developing evidence-based practices and policies. A general rule is that the higher the percentage of funds that appears to support the program itself, the less likely it is that reviewers will consider the application to merit research and evaluation funding from limited resources.

Generally, NIJ provides funding to:

  • Educational institutions.
  • Public agencies.
  • Nonprofit organizations.
  • Faith-based organizations.
  • Individuals.
  • Profitmaking organizations willing to waive their fees.
  • Federal agencies, unless specifically stated otherwise in the solicitation document.
  • Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFDRC). If the solicitation does not indicate that applications from “federal agencies” will be accepted, the FFRDC has the option of applying as its private sector entity type, whatever that may be (for-profit, non-profit, etc.), and a grant or cooperative agreement could be awarded to the entity that administers the FFRDC.

Some solicitations have special eligibility criteria, which are defined in the solicitation.

Non-U.S. entities are not eligible for awards. All grant awards are made to U.S. institutions. Where appropriate, however, a U.S. grantee may subcontract with a non-U.S. institution or individual for work necessary to complete project tasks. Such subcontracting is usually anticipated and included in the original grant proposal.

NIJ typically does not fund proposals that are primarily to purchase equipment, materials, or supplies. However, exceptions follow:

  • You may budget for such items if they are necessary to conduct applied research, development, demonstration, evaluation, or analysis.
  • Funds from various laboratory enhancement funding programs, e.g., funds from the National Forensic Science Improvement Act, can be used to purchase equipment and supplies for eligible crime laboratories. Visit NIJ's Forensic Laboratory Enhancement Web pages for more information.

Typically, NIJ funds may not be used for training. However, funds from various laboratory enhancement funding programs, e.g., the National Forensic Science Improvement Act, can be used by eligible crime laboratories for training. Visit NIJ's Forensic Laboratory Enhancement Web pages for more information.

If your needs for training do not fall under these exceptions, the following resources may be of help:

You may apply to each of the several solicitations that carry the same OMB number, but each solicitation is separate and independent and requires a separate application. OMB numbers are administrative or inventory number that applies to multiple solicitations.

Yes. If you are resubmitting a proposal that was submitted under a different solicitation, you can indicate that under Type of Application as you fill out your online application. In the abstract, that your proposal is a revision of a proposal that was submitted before. Also, you should prepare a one-page response to the earlier panel review that includes (1) the title, submission date, and NIJ-assigned application number of the previous proposal; and (2) a brief summary of responses to the review and/or revisions to the proposal. Insert the response after the abstract. The one-page response does not count toward your page limitation.

NIJ follows standard practice with regard to intellectual property. In general, this means that an awardee may retain the entire right, title, and interest throughout the world to each invention developed under an award with Federal funding, subject to the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 203. With respect to any such invention in which the awardee retains title, the Federal government shall have a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice or have practiced for or on behalf of the United States the subject invention throughout the world.

The respective rights of the Federal government and the prospective awardee regarding intellectual property will be detailed in one or more award special conditions. If those conditions are not acceptable to the prospective awardee, it has the option of not accepting the award.


No, a proposed co-PI does not need to meet the stated criteria.

Yes, assuming you meet all of the other criteria.

About the NIJ Office of Communications

The goal of the NIJ Office of Communications is to bridge the science-to-practice gap by giving criminal justice professionals evidence-based knowledge they can use in their work. We collaborate with colleagues within NIJ as well as with recipients of NIJ awards to move NIJ-generated knowledge and tools into the hands of those working in the criminal justice profession.