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Peer reviews

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Making Sense of the DNA Backlog - NIJ Conference Panel

June 2009

Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.

Selecting and Awarding Funds

Each solicitation estimates how much money will be available and how many awards might be made.

All proposals are reviewed by independent peer review panels consisting of researchers and practitioners. Panel members read each proposal, assess the technical merits and policy relevance of the proposed research, and 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 (AAG).

Cooperative agreements are another vehicle to support high-quality research on crime and justice. Cooperative agreements enable us to take full advantage of the expertise of the NIJ scientists and support innovative research. See Comparing Grants and Cooperative Agreements to learn more.

The application review process (including peer review, decisionmaking, and other considerations) may take 6 months or longer. Notices of award and nonaward are sent about 6 months after the closing date of a solicitation. Information regarding the status of awards is not available until notifications have been sent. Awards are posted annually.

If your project is funded, you will be required to submit several reports and other materials. See Post Award Reporting Requirements.

Also, you will be required to report information relevant to program performance measures established by NIJ to help measure the performance of Federal funding. See specific solicitations for details.

Applying for Funding: About the Program Narrative

The Program Narrative includes an abstract, table of contents, main body, and appendixes. Each solicitation defines the page limit for the program narrative. The page limit does not include the bibliography/references or appendixes, list of key personnel, resumes of key personnel, list of previous and current NIJ awards and products, charts, tables, or other necessary appendixes (such as letters of cooperation from collaborating organizations). You may include additional substantive material in a technical appendix but are advised that reviewers may not read beyond the page limit. All parts of the Program Narrative should be converted to one file for uploading into GMS. Please reference the specific solicitation for details for more detail on what is required.

Yes. NIJ uses abstracts for several purposes, including assigning proposals to an independent peer review panel. The abstract becomes public if the proposal receives an award. The abstract should serve as a succinct, stand-alone, and accurate description of the proposed work and should not exceed 600 words. See the NIJ Project Abstract template (pdf, 3 pages) for instructions on what should be included in the abstract.

No.

NOTE: Generally for social science research and evaluation projects, NIJ-funded projects tend to range from 1 to 3 years with all funds awarded at once.

NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to improve criminal justice policy and practice. NIJ accomplishes this mission chiefly through competitively awarded grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. NIJ must be assured of an awardees' ability to identify and to effectively manage the factors that could affect the objectivity and independence of their work.

Research independence and integrity pertains only to ensuring that the design, conduct or reporting of research funded by NIJ grants, cooperative agreements or contracts will not be biased by any financial interest on the part of the investigators responsible for the research or on the part of the applicant. We strongly encourage applicants to review each solicitation document for specific requirements.

The application must explain the process and procedures that are the applicant has put in place to identify and manage potential financial conflicts of interest on the part of its staff, consultants and/or sub-grantees and sub-contractors. The application must also identify any potential organizational financial conflicts of interest on the part of the applicant with regard to the proposed research. If the applicant believes that there are no potential organizational financial conflicts of interest, the applicant must provide a brief narrative explanation of why it believes that to be the case.

Where potential organizational financial conflicts of interest exist, the application must identify the safeguards the applicant has put in place to address those conflicts of interest.

A thorough discussion of process and procedures related to identifying and managing potential financial conflicts of interest on the part of researchers can be found on the National Institutes of Health's Conflicts of Interest Web page. Though this information solely reflects the policies of the National Institutes of Health, the guidance offered may be helpful to NIJ applicants. It is offered purely as an example of best practices.

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