Question and Answers for Specific Solicitations

NIJ posts on this page links to questions and answers related to specific solicitations. Select a solicitation title below to view associated questions and answers. If you do not see the specific solicitation to which you are applying in this list, then no questions and answers have been posted.


Solicitation: Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes

View the solicitation

Q-1: Are Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) eligible to apply ?
A: As stated on page one of the solicitation, “NIJ may also enter into interagency agreements with Federal entities in appropriate cases.” This includes Federally Funded Research and Development Center laboratories, as listed on NSF’s master government list (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdclist/).
Q-2: Are foreign entities eligible to apply?
A: As stated on page one of the solicitation, “Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.”
Q-3: Are foreign entities eligible to partner with a US-based entity?
A: As stated on page one of the solicitation, “Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.” However, the recipient of an award may make a subaward or subcontract to a foreign entity.

Please note that any sub-awards/subcontracts to foreign entities may also undergo a review by our Office of General Counsel prior to being approved. Awards that involve sub-awards must comply with the requirements of Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Furthermore, sub-contracts over $100K may require approval through a “Sole Source” grant action, if an award were made.
Q-4: Can NIJ provide guidance on whether or not a proposal idea would be appropriate for this solicitation?
A: Until a full proposal is reviewed, we cannot fully determine responsiveness to the solicitation. The intent of this program is to direct the findings of basic scientific research, research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science, and ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective and rapid methods for the identification, analysis and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.

We suggest you carefully read the solicitation, with special attention to the "Program-Specific Information" section, as well as the "What will not be funded" section. This should assist you in assessing whether or not your concept for proposal is appropriate for submission to this solicitation. The applicant agency must determine the appropriateness of the scope of their proposal. In order to maintain fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not provide guidance on research scope and design. All submitted applications that meet eligibility and content requirements as described in the solicitation will undergo an external peer review process.
Q-5: Is there program officer whom I may speak with directly?
A: All inquiries to the solicitation should be submitted to the email address forensic.research@usdoj.gov. In order to maintain fair and open competition, NIJ staff does not provide guidance on research scope and design. Any other inquires will be responded to via email.
Q-6: Is the "Disclosure of Lobbying Activities" form a requirement even if we will not be lobbying, and if so, how do we complete the form if we do not intend to lobby?
A: The "Disclosure of Lobbying Activities" requirement is associated with any lobbying activities that apply under 31 USC 1352. If you do not have any applicable activities, then "N/A" should be entered for any required field. Please note that this requirement is not solely associated with a use of awarded funds for lobbying (grant funds under this program may not be used for lobbying activities) – any lobbying activities that qualify should be reported.
Q-7: My project will not involve human subjects. Is this form still required?
A: The "Protection of Human Subjects" form is mandatory for all R&D applications. If this project will not involve human subjects then simply complete boxes 1-5 and 9-17, and under box 8 "Comments" simply state: "This project will not involve human subjects". Leave items 6 and 7 blank.
Q-8: Where do I upload my program narrative, budget narrative, budget detail worksheet and other related attachments?
A: When submitting the application to Grants.gov, there is a document titled "Attachment." This document can be used to upload any required files (such as program narrative, budget detail worksheet, etc.). It will accept multiple attachments. There is no required order for uploading the attachments. Please keep in mind that OJP strongly recommends that applicants use appropriately descriptive file names (e.g., "Program Narrative," "Budget Detail Worksheet and Budget Narrative," "Timelines," "Memoranda of Understanding," "Resumes") for all attachments.
Q-9: What is the maximum consultant rate per day? What if the consultant compensation would exceed that rate?
A: Anyone who is used in a consultant capacity — that is paid an individual paid hourly for their time — must be compensated at less than the $450/day maximum or receive a waiver. Please note that waivers are difficult to obtain and not often granted. One exception to this is if the consultancy is contracted out through a documented fair and competitive process. Alternatively, if an entity is contracted to perform a certain scope of work for a flat fee, this could be listed under contracts and would not be subject to the $450 per day maximum. Such a line item would need to be approved as being an appropriate cost for the scope of work.

Investigator-Initiated Research: The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

View the solicitation.

Q-1: Can the IHEs conduct research on campus safety and related issues?
A: Yes. This competition is for school safety in K-12 schools and safety on college campuses.
Q-2: Can applicants purchase additional technology (such as cameras, metal detectors and electronic ID) or hire additional staff (such as additional counselors, mental health workers and school resource officers) if they are elements of their proposed research?
A: Applicants can fund interventions that include the purchase of additional technology or the hiring of additional staff if the purchases are deemed an essential part of the research proposal. Note that the focus of this solicitation is on research. It is not intended primarily for schools or law enforcement agencies to procure services, technologies or programs. NIJ will examine all applications to ensure that the applicant’s primary purpose is to engage in research and that the overall proposal is cost effective. A separate solicitation, which NIJ expects to release in mid-April, will allow schools to procure and evaluate schools safety initiatives and programs as part of a broader research design in partnership with research organizations.
Q-3: Can applicants submit more than one application?
A: Yes. Applicants can submit more than one application; however, each one should address different problems or issues.
Q-4: If applicants want to conduct research in a school, do they need to provide an assurance that the school agrees with both the research methods and the school’s role in the project?
A: Yes. Applicants who want to conduct research in a school or a school district must submit a memorandum of agreement or, minimally, a letter of support from the school that will be participating in the research and evaluation. The agreement or letter should demonstrate the school’s support for the project and detail the most significant roles and responsibilities of each party. The formal agreement does not need to be part of the application. The grant cannot begin, however, until the agreement is signed and submitted to NIJ. 
Q-5: If applicants propose to work with a school or school district is there a set amount or percentage of the award that must be granted to the school or school district?
A: No set amount must be allocated for the school or school district. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to include a discussion of funding, if any, in the letter of support or memorandum of agreement they develop with the school.
Q-6: Are state agencies, such as a state agency that deals with juvenile justice or the state educational agency, eligible to submit applications?
A: Yes. 
Q-7: The solicitation states that certain qualified individuals are eligible to apply for a grant under this competition. Who are the certain qualified individuals?
A: These are individuals who have demonstrated experience and expertise in conducting rigorous programs of research related to schools safety.
Q-8: Is there a minimum or maximum amount of funding that an applicant can request?
A: There is no minimum or maximum amount of funding. A total of $15 million is available for the entire solicitation. NIJ awards typically range from $250,000 to $750,000 but, for this solicitation, we are interested in applications for projects that are significantly larger in scope. We will most likely fund a range of large and small projects.
Q-9: Is there a minimum or maximum number of years for the project period?
A: The project period can range anywhere from one to five years. NIJ awards are typically two to three years in length. The maximum project period (with extensions) is normally five years.

Solicitation: Developing Knowledge About What Makes Schools Safe

View the solicitation.

Q-1: Can applicants purchase technology (e.g., cameras, metal detectors, electronic ID) or hire staff (e.g., counselors, mental health workers, SROs), if the purchases are necessary for the proposed research?
A: Yes: Applicants can fund interventions, including the purchase of technology or hiring of staff if the purchases are essential to the research project. NIJ will examine all applications to ensure that a rigorous research design can evaluate whatever intervention is proposed.  
Q-2: Can applicants submit more than one application?
A: Yes: But each proposal should address different research questions.
Q-3: If applicants propose hiring a school resource officer or mental health professional, must they have a memorandum of understanding in place?
A: Applicants must demonstrate in their proposal a willingness to enter into formal partnerships with researchers and schools. Funding will be withheld until the partners submit formal letters of agreement to participate that detail their roles and responsibilities.
Q-4: Is there a set amount or percentage of the award that must be granted to research partners? 
A: No: There is no set amount required to be allocated to the research partner. However, NIJ recommends that approximately 1/4 to 2/3 of the award be allocated to the research partner, depending on the scope and nature of the project.
Q-5: Are state agencies, such as state educational agencies, eligible to submit applications?
A: Yes: Applications will be accepted from state education agencies, local education agencies, and public charter schools that are recognized as a local education agency. 
Q-6: Is there a minimum or maximum amount of funding that an applicant can request?
A: Yes: Projects should range from $500,000 to $5 million. Approximately $47 million is available for the entire solicitation. We expect to fund a range of large and smaller projects.
Q-7: Is there a minimum or maximum number of years for the project period?
A: Yes: The maximum length of the proposed project period is 36 months; however, NIJ understands that on occasion, there may be extenuating circumstances that require a study to go beyond 36 months. NIJ will consider requests to extend the study period, but grantees should not assume the extension will automatically be permitted, nor should they assume that NIJ will provide additional funds if an extension is allowed.

Optimizing the Use of Video Technology to Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes

View the solicitation.

Q-1: Will video data itself need to be included in the data archiving strategy and be archived? Or just other data (e.g., data related to crime, calls for service, logs of video monitoring activities)?
A: It depends. While video data is not the typical kind of data archived on NACJD, it is not known that there are any prohibitions on archiving video on NACJD if an applicant wishes to propose that for programmatic reasons. There may be actual video examples that applicants might want to include as a part of an archived data set, but a management plan for that data type would need to be proposed as described in the solicitation on p. 16-17. There are not any known compelling technical reasons why video clips cannot be archived just by virtue of them being video clips, however a management plan would likely need to address safeguarding sensitive information and/or access to any data sets, video or otherwise, as there may be factors may govern the “share-ability” or “release-ability” of data.
Q-2: What size of award does NIJ plan to fund from applications replying to the Optimizing the Use of Video Technology to Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes solicitation? What is the expected period of performance?
A: As stated on page 9 of the solicitation, NIJ anticipates that will make one award and will fund that award up to $2M for a project period of 12 to 18 months. Depending on the technical approach proposed, that $2M and 12 to 18 months may be sufficient to complete the research. It may also be more than is required, or it may be less.

The solicitation allows for projects that may exceed the amount and project period anticipated by NIJ. As also discussed on page 9 of the solicitation, the preceding funding and time constraints notwithstanding, applications should be crafted to reflect the funding and time that is necessary to achieve the goals and objectives of this solicitation based on the applicant’s proposed technical approach.

If an award is made that requires more than $2M and 12 to 18 months to complete, NIJ’s decision to extend the period of performance and to provide additional funding will be determined by number of factors. Among the most important are the management of the award (for example, timeliness and quality of progress reports), and NIJ’s assessment of the progress of the work funded under the award. To that end, if the applicant is proposing a project that reasonably could be conducted in discrete phases, with each phase resulting in completion of one or more significant, defined milestones, then NIJ strongly recommends that the applicant structure the application — specifically including the narrative, expected scholarly products, timelines/milestones, and budget detail worksheet and budget narrative — to clearly set out each phase.

No FAQs have been posted for fiscal year 2014 solicitations. See FAQs from past year solicitations.

Date Modified: April 4, 2014