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Webinar Transcript: W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System, Fiscal Year 2021

Following is a transcript of a webinar hosted by NIJ in support of the funding opportunity "W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System, Fiscal Year 2021."

DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Funding Opportunities Through NIJ, the W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System, Fiscal Year 2021, hosted by the National Institute of Justice. At this time, I’d like to introduce today’s presenter, Angela Moore, Senior Science Advisor within the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology Division of the National Institute of Justice. Angela?

ANGELA MOORE: Thank you, Daryl. Good day everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s webinar on NIJ’s W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System. As indicated, my name is Angela Moore and I am a Social and Behavioral Research Scientist, and I serve as a Senior Science Advisor within the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology at NIJ. I am the manager of the Du Bois solicitation. I am joined today by my colleague Ms. Christine Crossland who also goes by Tina. Tina is working on the solicitation with me.

Today’s webinar will proceed as follows. I will first provide some information about NIJ and then offer highlights about the W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research. The bulk of my discussion will focus on the changes made to the program for fiscal year 2021. Also, what you need to know if you intend to apply to the Du Bois solicitation, and I hope you will if you are eligible. And then I will end my presentation with important application considerations. After that we will address your questions. So please use the Q&A box and select all panelists to ask your questions. So, the National Institute of Justice is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. Our mission is improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. In short, our goal is to strengthen science in order to advance justice and that is what the W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research is all about.

NIJ, as we are called, provides objective and independent knowledge and tools to inform criminal and juvenile justice decision-making. We have two research offices. The Office of Research, Evaluation, and Technology, in which our social and behavioral science research is housed. And our Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences and it--as the name implies, is where all of our forensic research is housed. Our other major substantive offices are the Office of Operations and Communications and the Office of Grant Management. Two noteworthy programs that NIJ administers are the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, also known as NamUs, as well as CrimeSolutions, for which I serve as a scientific officer. You can learn more about NamUs and CrimeSolutions by searching NIJ.gov. The W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research is one of our oldest and long-standing programs despite a hiatus in fiscal years 2019 and 2020. Let me just provide you with a little bit of background on W.E.B. Du Bois. He was an early leader in the struggle for racial equality in the United States. As a social scientist, Du Bois used objective methods to challenge discriminatory ideologies and institutions to advocate for social change. The Philadelphia Negro, published in 1899, was Du Bois’s ground breaking sociological study of the city’s Black community and one of the first research projects to combine urban ethnography, social history, and descriptive statistics.

In that vein, NIJ’s W.E.B. Du Bois Program supports quantitative and qualitative research that advances knowledge regarding the intersections of race, crime, violence, and the administration of justice within the United States. The program originally started as a fellowship program, however, we expanded the funding opportunity in fiscal year 2016 to include scholars. The program was reinstituted in fiscal year 2021 with a specific focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities within justice systems. The W.E.B. Du Bois Program has over 40 scholars and fellows, and although it’s a relatively modest program it has been highly impactful. On the NIJ website you will find the list of our fellows, which I think is rather impressive. And perhaps we will be able to add your name to the list if you apply for and-- are awarded funding. Some examples of projects include Police Officer Learning, Mentoring, and Racial Bias in Traffic Stops, as well as Examining Race and Gender Disparities in Restricted Housing Placement.

So, let’s talk a little bit about what is required for the 2021 W.E.B. Du Bois solicitation. And I just want to note that although we are already in fiscal year 2022, this solicitation was released in fiscal year 2021 and it is being supported with funds from fiscal year 2021. For fiscal year 2021, applicants must propose research on public policy interventions that may reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. Also, applicants must submit proposals under two categories of researchers. The first is W.E.B. Du Bois scholars, and those are researchers who are advanced in their careers, meaning they have been awarded a terminal degree at least seven years prior to December 31, 2021. Scholars, applicants must include a mentorship component --I’ll talk a little bit about that in a minute. The second category of researchers are W.E.B. Du Bois fellows, and these are researchers who are early in their careers meaning they have been awarded a terminal degree within seven years of December 31, 2021.

Other requirements. Applicants must also provide, as applicable, a complete description of the data to be used in the research. Also a description of the justice phenomenon that currently results in an unwanted disparity in the treatment of or outcome for racial or ethnic categories. Also a disparity analysis, using existing data showing evidence of a racial or ethnic disparity surrounding the justice phenomenon or event to be studied. And for example, if someone was going to look at disparity in sentencing. Just recently, this month, The Sentencing Project released a report, The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, which describes the phenomena and provides data demonstrating racial and ethnic disparity. So that’s an example of a description of the justice phenomenon as well as a disparity analysis. In addition, applicants must provide, as applicable, a detailed description of the modification or intervention expected to resolve the unwanted disparity and a summary of the literature that suggests the intervention will reduce the unwanted disparity. In other words, what is the intervention that will reduce the disparity? And how is that supported by the extant literature? Also, a description of the analytic techniques to be employed and method of determining success or failure. And finally in an explicit statement discussing how the proposed research follows the W.E.B. Du Bois Program’s tradition of multidisciplinary scientific inquiry, and how it will propel the justice research field forward. Now we’ll turn to what is critical to be included in the application.

The basic minimum requirements for all applications submitted to this solicitation also known as BMR are (1) a proposal narrative, (2) a budget worksheet and budget narrative, and (3) resumes or curriculum vitaes for key personnel, that would include principal investigator or investigators and any and all co-principal investigators. As it relates to the proposal narrative, that aspect of your application cannot be more than 30 pages excluding appendices. It should be double spaced, 12-point font, such as Times New Roman, with no less than one-inch margins. The narrative again cannot be more than 30 pages. And using smaller fonts or smaller margins will not do. As it relates to the budget worksheet and the budget narrative, although these are now web-based forms under our new JustGrants system which I will talk about a little later, I highly recommend that you also include it with your application as a PDF file or a spreadsheet. That will make it a lot easier for the peer reviewers. If you do not provide these three critical elements or BMR, your application will be excluded prior to the peer review process.

How will applications be evaluated? There are six application evaluation criteria that we use. The first is the Statement of the Problem and Research Questions. That is worth 15%. Project Design and Implementation, that’s 50%. Capabilities and Competencies that is 20%, and Potential Impact is 15%. Other non-scored criteria include the Dissemination Plan and the Budget. So, if your application proceeds past the BMR stage, your proposal will be evaluated based on these criteria. I note that the pages you allocate to each of these criteria in your proposal narrative should comport with the weight allocated to it. So, in other words, more pages should be allocated to the Project Design and Implementation than the other five criteria. One of the major challenge--challenges I have seen with applications is that too much space is devoted to the Statement of the Problem and Research Questions at the expense of Project Design and Implementation.

NIJ applications are externally and internally reviewed. As it relates to this process, again, there’s the BMR or Responsiveness Review. That means the application has to be submitted by an eligible applicant. And eligible applicants are listed on pages one to two of the solicitation. They have to be submitted--excuse me, they have to be responsive to the scope of the solicitation. Again, that means that you propose research on public policy interventions that may reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. And lastly, the critical elements, the proposal narrative, the budget worksheet and budget narrative, and resumes, or curriculum vitaes, for the PIs and co-PIs must be included. Our external peer review is conducted by technical or academics and other researchers, and practitioner reviewers. NIJ’s research is intended to be applied to criminal and juvenile justice and victim services. Therefore, we include practitioners on our peer review panels to help us determine if the research is feasible and if it is relevant. As it relates to our internal review, that includes NIJ scientific staff such as Tina and me and NIJ senior management. We also may include our colleagues across the Department of Justice, who are subject matter experts in the area, to review applications as relevant. I note that all funding decisions are at the discretion of the NIJ Director.

Other considerations that I offer you, the qualities of successful proposals, they include a rigorous research design, they provide relevant literature, remember, you have 30 pages, so you want to use your space wisely. They clearly articulate the research questions and they incorporate hypotheses as appropriate. They describe the data that will be used for the research. They clearly show which data will be used for which measures. They explain how measures will answer the proposed question. They discuss the relevance of the study for research, for policy, and certainly for practice. And last but not least, successful proposals are free of grammatical, typographical, and other errors. For example, a principal investigator is P-R-I-N-C-I-P-A-L. That person may have principles, but that is not what a principal investigator is. So, you want to make sure that you leave sufficient time for careful review and editing of your application.

In October 2020, the Office of Justice Programs along with the Office on Violence Against Women and the Community Oriented Policing Services launched JustGrants, a new Grant Management System. As a result of this change, applications will be submitted in a new two-step process, each with its own deadline. The first one, step one, which is due December 31, 2021, applicants must submit the SF-424 and the SF-LLL in Grants.gov. January 13, 2022, applicants must submit their full application including all attachments in JustGrants--in JusticeGrants.usdoj.gov. So, please read the solicitation document carefully for further guidance. I note that, that first deadline regrettably occurs when most universities are on break. So, if you are in academia, I strongly encourage you to please get your application in--well in advance. Regrettably, we had no control--I had no control over that particular deadline. If you do not meet step one, you cannot apply as it relates to step two. So, you must meet the December 31, 2021 deadline. No late applications will be accepted.

Please make sure you read the solicitation document carefully. And then read the solicitation document again. There are resources available as it relates to JustGrants and we provide some of these here for you. There are application mechanics, eLearning videos, and by viewing the eLearning videos, the job aids, the DOJ application checklist, and other resources, you will have the information you need to successfully navigate the mechanics of submitting an application. I note that JustGrants is not an easy system to use, nor is it intuitive. So, I highly recommend you begin the process as soon as possible, if you have not done so already. Also, as it relates to the DOJ application submission checklist, please review that carefully because it conveys all the necessary steps to complete the two-part application process in Grants.gov and JustGrants. The checklist includes how to prepare to apply; completing the abbreviated application in Grants.gov; the entity onboarding and JustGrants access; completing, reviewing, certifying, and submitting your application in JustGrants; and other helpful user tips.

And for additional information, we provide these websites, one, for the W.E.B. Du Bois Program webpage, NIJ’s funding webpage, JustGrants, and Grants.gov. Again, for the webpage, the site is there but you can also find this information at nij.gov, you can get to our webpage as well. JustGrants is JustGrants.usdoj.gov, Grants.gov is as it’s indicated. So, we highly encourage you to avail yourself of all of these resources. Important contact information, for technical assistance submitting the SF-424 and the SF-LLL into Grants.gov, please contact 800-518-4726 or 606-545-5035 or via website, [email protected] For technical assistance submitting the full application into JustGrants, you may contact 833-872-5175 or via website, [email protected] And for technical assistance with the programmatic requirements of the solicitation, you may contact the OJP Response Center at 800-851-3420 or via website, [email protected] I note that Tina and I are precluded from answering questions directly from potential applicants. Any questions regarding the solicitation must be directed to the OJP Response Center. Those questions will be answered by or through the Response Center. With that, we will segue into our Q&A segment.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay, Angela. We have a couple questions. The first one is “This presentation is being recorded and will it be shared?” And I’ve already responded. And I said yes, it is being recorded and will be available at the time that we release the other information in five to 10 business days. The second question is “Are permanent residents eligible to apply?” Angela?

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. As the eligibility requirements for the solicitation can be found on pages one and two of the solicitation. And so, if you give me one second, I will pull it up and tell you exactly. So, you have that.

DARYL FOX: Angela, actually, while you’re looking for that, I can just chime in to answer a question that came in towards the end on slide 17. We had noted the date here for Grants.gov is December 31. It’s actually December 30. So, we’ll go ahead and update this PowerPoint prior to posting to the site. And also, within the solicitation on NIJ’s website, it is correct and accurate as December 30, 11:59 p.m. is the official cutoff. So, then I shall mention, you know, please, obviously try to get that in as soon as possible, at least a day or two prior to that deadline. So, we’ll make that change prior to posting this.

ANGELA MOORE: Oh, thank you so much for that, Daryl. So, in regards to who’s eligible? So, that would include city or township governments, county governments, for-profit organizations, small businesses, Native American Tribal governments, nonprofits that do not have a 501(c) status with the IRS, or other than institutions of higher education, private institutions, etc. State, as it relates to foreign governments, foreign organizations and foreign colleges and universities are not eligible to apply. So, if I understand the question correctly, that pertains to residents but not citizen. If the organization is a foreign organization, it’s not eligible to apply and keep in mind that it’s not about the individual. It’s about the institution. So please take time to carefully review pages one and two of the application to determine whether or not the institution is eligible. Next question Tina.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. The next question is “For early career solicitations, just to clarify, if I received my Ph.D. in 2016, would I be eligible?” And if you go to the solicitation, you’ll see it says if you received your terminal degree at least seven years prior to December 31, 2021, you would be eligible under this category. And let me get to the next question Angela, which is “Does W.E.B. Du Bois fellows include post-doctoral fellow?”

ANGELA MOORE: As long as they are within that seven years, an individual is eligible to apply. So, whether the--their--they should be a post--they should have their terminal degree assuming that--so that individual, the terminal degree is a Ph.D., but as long as they fall within the timeframe specified that individual is eligible to apply.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. The next question is “Can we research policy interventions already underway or do we have to design an intervention and then test it?”

ANGELA MOORE: It can be policy interventions already underway or innovated. If it’s innovated, there should be some literature that suggests that policy intervention may help to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. The next question “Is there a preferred CV format, for example, an SF bio sketch?”

ANGELA MOORE: You can use whatever format you like that can save the information that demonstrates that you have the qualifications and capabilities to conduct the research proposed.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. And our next question is “Are independent researchers who are not affiliated with the firm and institution eligible for the program?”

ANGELA MOORE: Yes. As long as they comport with the guidelines as indicated on pages one and two of the solicitation and they can apply either under the scholars program or under the Fellows category. They have the requisite qualifications; individual entities can apply.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. “Is a solution proposed to answer the justice phenomenon has to be addressed with justice programming or could it be community-based program?”

ANGELA MOORE: We don’t specify that it has to be with justice-based programming, so whatever it is, you just have to demonstrate based on extant literature that that particular intervention may help to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. And the next question is “The solicitation requires you to submit under fellow or scholar depending on the length of time since graduation with the terminal degree. How does this work if you have multiple principal investigators?”

ANGELA MOORE: That’s a--that’s a good question. So, however, even if you have multiple principal investigators, the way NIJ structures it, you’re going to have your institution with the principal investigator from that institution being a prime and then all other co-PIs are sub. So as long as that primary principal investigator comports with either the scholar category, in this case, I’m assuming it would be the scholar category, however if it’s a fellow, it’s the primary one that has to fall within the criteria established, meaning that they received their terminal degree either prior to the seven--December 31, within seven years or within seven years for the fellow. So, I hope that makes it clear, even though there are multiple PIs, there’s going to be a primary one because it’s that primary institution that’s going to receive the funding if the grant is awarded.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. And we have a question about “Is there a maximum funding amount arranged that we should keep in mind?”

ANGELA MOORE: Can’t stress this enough that one’s budget should be commensurate with the level of effort for the research. So, the budget should not be so low that it seems like the applicant doesn’t know what he or she is doing because they’re not allocating enough resources to successfully conduct the study, nor should it be so high that it seems excessive. For example, there are a lot of personnel on a project and it’s not exactly clear why all these people are needed, what they’re going to be doing. Also, if in a study the applicant is not going to start collecting data until year two, why are they proposing to have five people go to a conference to present on the project? So, you want to make sure the budget--the budget is reasonable. We have $3 million allocated to this solicitation, so unless this project is going to be the most rigorous, groundbreaking project ever, one should seriously consider whether or not it’s wise to ask for all $3 million. This--with this solicitation, we’re hoping to fund as many high-quality proposals as is recommended and our Director agrees to fund. So, this is not a solicitation for a single study, although it’s not impossible that only a single study could be funded. So again, the budget should really be in line with the research that is being proposed.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay.

ANGELA MOORE: Next question.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Next question is “For junior fellows, should it be--should it primarily be one PI or are co-PIs who are also junior scholars allowed?”

ANGELA MOORE: Co-PIs who are also junior scholars are allowed, we have funded fellows who served as co-PIs on projects. If you go back and look on our Du Bois Program webpage, you will see some entries where there were multiple individuals who were co-PIs on particular projects.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. The next question, “Can you please say a bit more about the expectation for mentoring?”

ANGELA MOORE: I can say a bit more but I would--what I will say is please go to--and I’ll tell you exactly the page in the solicitation that tells you exactly what is required, and that would be page six of the solicitation tells you exactly what must be included in the mentorship plan. So please read that carefully and then certainly if there are additional questions about the mentorship plan, you can ask them through the OJP Response Center.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay.

ANGELA MOORE: Next question Tina.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: We have something similar but a little bit different, “Are there departmental or disciplinary constraints on the type of mentees appropriate for the scholarship program?”

ANGELA MOORE: I would say no. Again, whoever is part of the project, they should be relevant and qualified for whatever work they are proposed to do as part of the mentorship. So we don’t specify the particular discipline, we encourage multidisciplinary work. Whoever the mentees are they should be relevant to the proposal. Next question.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. The next one is “Can an organization’s science and research team be an applicant or is it required to be a specific individual separate from their organization?”

ANGELA MOORE: Oh, no. Certainly not, the--an organization can apply and certainly organizations do apply. The--an individual from that organization can serve as the co-PI or the PI if others are involved but the applicant is the organization, whether that’s an organization with multiple individuals or one person. The--it’s the entity that can be funded and that would include if it’s an individual but it’s not the individual that is the grantee, it is the organization. Next question.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. There seems to be a lot of questions or a lot of requests having to do with amounts of funding. So, I’m going to give you three that are pretty much the same question. So, we have “Based on your experience or in the past, and thinking of comparable total amounts of funds available for funding on average, how many applicants have been funded?”

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. So, is it--is that one question or are you going to give me two more?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: That’s the first question. The others are “As a follow-up to the amount, is there a median range for the amount that can be requested?” And another similar question had to do with “What is the median range for the amount?”

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. So, let me say this. And I’ll say this--let me start by saying, in the past, we have specified a particular amount for an application. And as a result, people were writing their application to that amount. And oftentimes, they did not fare well, because they were letting the amount dictate the research rather than the research proposed dictating the request for funding. So, it’s really important to decide what your research question is, the design, etc. And then, based upon that, determine how much money is needed for that particular project. The W.E.B. Du Bois Program has evolved over time. So initially, when it was the fellowship program, those fellowships were small, they started at $50,000 and they went up to $150,000. And then when we added the scholars, it was even higher, and we had some projects as high as $1 million. So, it really depends on the nature of the project proposed. There’s no--for this, if you look in the solicitation, you’ll see some language regarding what we have done nominally, some proposals could be up to half a million dollars. But I really don’t want people to get in their mind, my application should be this amount, it shouldn’t be more than that or what have you. I mean, proposals could be as much as $1 million, it could be $2 million. I mean, again, if it’s out of this world, it could be $3 million. But it really should be what is needed to carry out this project successfully. That is what the budget amount should be. Tina, did you want to add anything to that?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: No, I just wholeheartedly emphasize the fact that the research design drives the cost of the project. And that’ll definitely become apparent in the review. Hey, there’s a couple of quick questions. So, we have one that says “Can funds be used for a course buyout, provided that the applying institution allows that. And more generally, are there any limitations in how the funds can be used?”

ANGELA MOORE: So, I have seen course buyouts. Tina, does that comport what you experienced as well?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: It most definitely comports. That would be definitely allowable expenses. The one thing that--or the few things that we do not cover are actually specifically listed in the solicitation. And I can look for the page right now just so that everybody can reference that. It’s--the section is titled What We Do Not Fund and we’re very specific in what we won’t cover there.

ANGELA MOORE: Right. And that is on the bottom of page eight to the top of page nine of the solicitation.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. Let me get my colleague…

ANGELA MOORE: Yes.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: …a minute to get some water so she can drink.

ANGELA MOORE: Thank you.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: You’re welcome. And so “Can I propose a one-year project or does it have to be a multiyear project?” It can be a one-year project. Once again, whatever the research project is being proposed and as long as it comports to the criteria that we’ve established in the solicitation, you should apply even if it’s a one-year project. “We have a project--we have a—“I’m putting these two questions together. They were asked differently, but they’re referencing the same agency. It goes, “Are you coordinating review efforts with NSF as well?” And I can say that we do coordinate with our other science, you know, agencies. And make sure Angela’s okay.

ANGELA MOORE: Yes, I am. Thank you. And just going back, Tina, to that question on what you noted, what will not be funded?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Yes.

ANGELA MOORE: That includes applications primarily to purchase equipment, materials, or supplies. However, a budget may include these items if they’re necessary to conduct the research development, demonstration, evaluation, or analysis. What also won’t be funded are applications that are not responsive to the purposes of this specific solicitation. And again, that means that one’s application must focus on looking at evidence to identify policy interventions that have the potential to reduce observed racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. Next question.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: We have another one. “Is congressional district represented--representative support--nonsupport a factor?”

ANGELA MOORE: It’s--that information may be provided but it’s not included in our review process.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have another question having to do with a formal start date. “Is there a formal start date we should keep in mind, either no earlier or no later than, when proposing the project timeline?”

ANGELA MOORE: I am looking and I found it. It is on page eight of the solicitation. So, period of performance start date is July 1, 2022. Certainly, you can propose to start after that. But we are looking for July 1, 2022.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have another question. And actually, I think two separate participants asked the same question. They’re asking if you can define public policy intervention.

ANGELA MOORE: So, I can give an example of a public policy intervention. If we’re talking--if we were looking at disparity and sentencing for drug crimes, for example, if you--the disparity between powder cocaine and crack cocaine, so an intervention to address that was actually to change that. So that had been part of federal law and the difference has been reduced. Whereas, if I recall correctly, it might have been like 18 to 1 as it related to crack versus powder that has been shrunk. And I don’t recall off the top of my head what it is now. But that is an example of a public policy intervention. So, changing that is reducing that particular disparity. But certainly, another example might be a jurisdiction deciding that they will no longer accept cash bail. So those are examples of public policy intervention. Did you have anything you wanted to add to that, Tina?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: No, I think that’s a really good example. We have another question. “For the disparity analysis, can this be using review of existing research or do applicants need to provide pilot data analysis?”

ANGELA MOORE: It can be review of existing data such as data that I’ve included in The Sentencing Project report, looking at state prisons, or it could be pilot information. That is up to the applicant.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: We have a question having to do with “Are there examples of successful proposals available to view?”

ANGELA MOORE: That’s a very good question. Do you recall, Tina, if we have something online, currently?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: We have--the last time I checked the website, I will make sure that we follow up with our final comments--a link in which you can see a successful applicant but it is not specific to this particular program. What I would recommend you all to do is when you look at our W.E.B. Du Bois fellows on the website, and you review the projects that they did, you can quickly get a good idea if you go to the grant page and see exactly what they proposed and how they went about doing it, including looking at their final report.

ANGELA MOORE: Thank you, Tina.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Uh-hmm. I’m trying to--there was a lot coming in at the last minute. So I’m trying to--let’s see. I think we’ve already answered that. Okay. Our deadline time is eastern time. That’s an easy one.

ANGELA MOORE: Yes.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: This is--so we have a question that says “Based on past results, which one of the categories of research track has been less competitive?”

ANGELA MOORE: I’m not sure I understand the question. When we say research track, are we talking about the fellows versus the scholars?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: It doesn’t clarify that, but I feel like the categories are between scholar and fellow.

ANGELA MOORE: Right. I don’t think--the--we can’t do--we can’t make that comparison primarily because we started with the fellows. And it wasn’t only--it was only in fiscal year 2016 that we added the scholars. So, the fellows have a much longer history. And they’re not the same. From what I’ve seen, they’ve done well, both categories. But obviously, again, the fellows have a much longer history. I will say in general. And this gets back to an earlier budget question. NIJ funds--it’s somewhere between 10% and 15% of the applications that it sees, and that’s broadly across the Institute. So that will vary across solicitation. And it really depends on how many high-quality applications we receive to each solicitation.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have a question pertaining to archiving. “If we’re using individual level data with PII that already existed before the project, can we submit group level aggregates that enable reproduction for archiving rather than the full individual level data?”

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. So Tina, you’re much more of an expert in data archiving. So I’m going to let you take this one.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: This would actually have to be a case-by-case review. And we have questions about specific data that’s being archived, if there’s any question about PII, we have very strict federal regulations protecting those data. So we tend to request all of the data in its totality and then we anonymize that data or we inform the principal investigators that they must anonymize that data. But the full data is what we request. Now if this is just about providing information for the proposal itself, then the answer is yes, you can provide group level aggregates. But keep in mind when you’re submitting your final data that we expect the full data that has been selected or created during the course of the grant.

ANGELA MOORE: Thank you.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Uh-hmm. We have another question about “What type of terminal degree is needed to qualify as a fellow, for example, could it be a medical doctor?”

ANGELA MOORE: Yes.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have another…

ANGELA MOORE: There--it would be--I’m sorry, I was just going to say it would be the terminal degree for that particular field.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. And speaking of different fields, we have a question “Does the grant cover any aspects of forensic science?”

ANGELA MOORE: It can. Absolutely. So if the question that the applicant proposes to look at addresses disparity or what have you as it relates to forensic sciences, then that certainly and absolutely should be included. Again, the question posed and the way the applicant wants to address it will determine the type of data and the fields that are included.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have another question regarding programmatic requirements query. When you were speaking about what you and I cannot speak to, I think the question is asking “Does that include whether the proposal subject matter falls within the scope of the grant opportunity?”

ANGELA MOORE: Regrettably, the answer to that question is yes. We can’t--we can’t talk to you all after this webinar. However, if you submit your question to the OJP Response Center, it will be answered. Those questions, it could be answered by the Response Center themselves or if it requires subject matter expertise, it will come to NIJ, an answer will be provided, it will come back to the applicant. And then as relevant that answer could get posted on a frequently asked questions webpage on NIJ.gov.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have a question about “For the mentorship component, can mentees be Ph.D. students?”

ANGELA MOORE: Yes. As we noted in there, we indicate it could include graduate students.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. Then they definitely heard you about if you send a question, we’ll answer it. Okay. So we have a question that came in “What counts as evidence of a disparity?”

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. So that might be information from the literature. And I am--going back to the recent example I’ve seen since I just received the report from The Sentencing Project where they--in that report, they described disparity in prisons and they showed the differences between Blacks and Whites and Hispanics. And so--and they described it, so it’s not just saying, “Okay, there’s a difference.” But they described the disparity based on the data and the extant literature. So for example, someone--an applicant might have information from the literature but they also may have information from pilot data or other data from a prior study, that all could be relevant. It’s not enough to say there’s--this demonstrates disparity just because we see a difference. I mean, it would--things would be related to the population of interest, information that’s been provided in regards to how the difference came about. So it would be literature data and the likes that would help to demonstrate that there actually is unwarranted disparity. So we can go until 2:15 with the questions. After which, again, if you have additional questions, you can propose them through the OJP Response Center.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. So we have a couple more. “Do fellows need to include a mentorship or career development plan?”

ANGELA MOORE: No. Fellows do not need to include a mentorship plan. What they need to provide is indicated in the solicitation.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. We have another question about disciplines but just to make it clear for everybody. “Can a doctorate of education qualify for the solicitation? I don’t know what they can…”

ANGELA MOORE: Yes.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. “Can any of the funding be used to implement a pilot intervention?”

ANGELA MOORE: I would say yes. Tina, would you disagree?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: I think that one would probably require a much more in-depth conversation, than we’re--we would be able to actually have with the prospective applicant. I would just keep in mind that for this particular solicitation, go back to originally what it’s asking, what--to show prior to submitting the application. And whether that is something that actually would be doable under the current statement of work for this particular one. Okay. You all have been fabulous about all of your questions. I’m going through three screens right now, so this is really helpful and also giving me whiplash. Okay. “Can funds be used for training sessions for individuals who would help to execute intervention?”

ANGELA MOORE: This is going beyond showing and demonstrating the disparity and going beyond just talking about the actual intervention but actually trying to develop an intervention to reduce disparity, whether racial or ethnic disparities, and then providing training to those individuals who would implement the intervention. Did I get that right, Tina? Am I understanding that?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Yes. Uh-hmm. We have a new question that is about the NIJ residency. “So I saw the NIJ residency option in the call. How should that be budgeted for in the proposal?”

ANGELA MOORE: The applicant--first I’ll say, they don’t have to do a residency. That is an option. Two, keep in mind, we currently are 100% telework. And when that might be lifted, we don’t know. Now if an individual wants to do a residency, they can. And they should budget for it in terms of covering all the reasonable expenses for coming to the Washington, DC metro area for living and the like. Tina, do you have anything to add as it relates to costs that would not be allowable as it relates to the residency?

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: No, we just need to be fully--it would be fully accounted and I would highly recommend that everybody review the federal travel guidelines and what is permissible and what is not permissible as expenses. And then think about the timeframe in which you would be in residency for the period of time that you’re requesting.

ANGELA MOORE: Great. Thank you. And I think we have time for one more question.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Oh, pressure. Okay. Not--okay, not sure if this--let’s see, “What should co-authors on the proposed project also be listed as co-PIs? Are institutional letters of support required when the proposed project makes use of administrative data from an institution--or institutions?”

ANGELA MOORE: So regardless of the data or any of those other things, if there are co-PIs or other individuals from other institutions, there should be letters of support from their respective institution. And we actually talk about letters of support at the beginning of the solicitation. We talk about it on page--that is page five of the solicitation. So I highly encourage those who are considering applying to carefully review that.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: And just one last question and then this will be it. It’s just--this was asked a couple of times. “Can scholars fund post-docs to mentor?”

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. I would say yes because--and the reason why I say that because we indicate in the--under the mentorship, we talk about junior researchers, graduate students, and/or undergraduate students. So I would assume, although it might not be the case, that post-docs could fall under junior researchers. So I would say yes. Post-docs could be included under the mentorship plan under the scholars category.

CHRISTINE CROSSLAND: Okay. And I think that brings us to closing, Angela.

ANGELA MOORE: Okay. Yes. And again, I want to just say thank you to everyone for joining us for this webinar. You have posed a lot of great questions, thought-provoking questions for us to consider. And so I hope with all the great questions we received, we’re also going to receive a lot of great applications from you all. I just encourage you to start early if you plan to apply and if you have any other questions, please reach out to the OJP Response Center. And again, we just want to thank you. And I want to thank my colleague Christine Crossland as well as our colleague at Leidos for helping us to put this webinar together. And I hope everyone has a good rest of day and please take good care of yourself. Thank you.

DARYL FOX: So on behalf of NIJ and our panelists, I want to thank you for joining today’s webinar. This will end today’s presentation.

Date Published: November 2, 2021