Research Fellowship Opportunities at the National Institute of Justice


Mary Jo Giovacchini: Good afternoon, everyone,
and welcome to today’s webinar: Research Fellowship Opportunities at the
National Institute of Justice, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. At this time, I would like
to introduce Tammi Fergusson, program analyst with the White House Initiative on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities. TAMMI FERGUSSON: Good afternoon, everyone. As she said, my name is Tammi
Fergusson and I’m a Senior Program Analyst with the White House Institute on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities. On behalf of our office and our acting executive director and deputy assistant
undersecretary, Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, I’d like to welcome you to today’s webinar. Our office is committed to
connecting HBCUs and their students to federal opportunities and
programs to ensure their success. One way we do this is through
various outreach events throughout the year. This year, we are kicking off our
first ever HBCU Back to School Week. This week-long celebration of students consists
of virtual and in-person events designed to connect HBCU students to federal opportunities and agencies, as well as the committed staff
that carry out their agency’s mission. Our hope is that you will learn useful information that will help you shape your future career path and that you will share this information
with your fellow students and colleagues. For up-to-date information on our work with DOJ and the National Institute of Justice,
as well as our 32 federal agency partners, please be sure to visit our
website at sites.ed.gov/whhbcu. While you’re on our website, I also
encourage you to sign up for our listserv to learn– to learn about more internships,
fellowships, and other special opportunities available for HBCU students. For the social media savvy,
please follow us on Twitter @WHI_HBCUs and tweet this event using the #HBCUB2School. Again, thank you for participating today and
we wish you much success as you explore, grow, and learn during your educational journey. With that, I will now pass it off to Dr.
Howard Spivak, the Principal Deputy Director at the National Institute of
Justice at the Department of Justice. HOWARD SPIVAK:
Good afternoon, everybody. It’s really a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with all of you. And I want to start by saying that our investment in career development opportunities is a very
high priority at the National Institute of Justice and enhancing diversity within this
initiative is also a very high priority, so it really is a pleasure to have this opportunity. Just in case some of you don’t know
what the National Institute of Justice is, NIJ is the research, development, and
evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. Some people don’t realize that there is a
research agency at the Department of Justice, but in fact, there is. And the commitment to science driving
practice and policy in criminal justice is considerable. And we’re dedicated to improving the
knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through the use of science. In this webinar, there are a number
of areas I’m going to be touching on, although briefly, but at least
to introduce you to these areas. First, I’m going to talk about our
Graduate Research Fellowship Programs. We have one in both
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and also in Behavioral–Social Behavioral Sciences. Then I’m going to talk about the
W.E.B. Du Bois Program on Race and Crime. Next, I’ll be talking about our Early
Career/New Development–New Investigator Program which is a program we actually just started in 2016. Then I’ll be moving onto our Visiting Fellows
Program, and finally, our Research Assistants Program. Now, the goal of our Research–our Graduate
Research Fellowship is to support doctoral students engaged in research that address
the challenges of crime and justice in the United States. There are two tracks as I
mentioned earlier, one is the STEM track which is primarily the basic science track, and one is Social and Behavioral Sciences. And we’re now actually accepting
applications for the solicitations for both the STEM solicitation and the Social and
Behavioral Sciences solicitation, both of which are currently out and available. And there will be a webinar on October 4th
to learn more about this solicitation as well. So I encourage you if you’re interested in
registering for that October 4th webinar where you’ll get more details about all of this. Now, the STEM Graduate Research
Fellowship provides $35,000 annual student stipend, that’s up to $15,000 annually
for tuition, fees, and research expenses, and up to three years
of support usable over a five-year period. The application requirements are that one is currently enrolled
in a PhD program in a STEM field and has a proposed thesis
project relevant to criminal justice. In this past year, we’ve
made 22 awards totaling $1.1 million, and our expectation is that we’ll be in that same ballpark in the upcoming year as well. The Graduate Research Fellowship in
Social Behavioral Sciences provides up to $32,000 to support the final
phase of dissertation research. So it is different from the STEM program. The requirements are that the
applicant be enrolled in a PhD program in a Social Behavioral Science discipline and that students must have already
completed their coursework, comprehensive exams, and must be advanced to candidacy. In fiscal year ’16, so in the past year, we
made seven awards totaling about $225,000. And again, our expectation
is that we’ll be in the same ballpark for this. So there is a difference
between the two fellowships. The STEM fellowship is up to three years. The Social Behavioral Science
fellowship is really primarily a single year and it is more focused on the tail end of the PhD
work as opposed to the STEM which is more mid– in the mid-process of that work. I’d like to give you a couple
examples of some of the fellowships we funded. We funded one related to the
repetitive sequencing in the human genome. One related to forensic work
around fingernails as evidence. So these are clearly examples of the
STEM fellowships, but only two examples and there are many broader examples of this
if you go on to the NIJ website which you’ll get the site for at the end of this presentation. There’ll be a link to
looking at other awards we’ve given. And then in the Behavioral–Social
Behavioral Science, two examples are one is modeling the
understanding of illegal narcotic markets, one is looking at women in prison
and the transition from prison to home. Again, two examples of many that we’ve given
over the years. Now, moving on to the W.E.B.
Du Bois Program on Race and Crime, this is a program that’s been in place
for, I believe, about a dozen years, maybe longer. And it’s to further the department’s
mission in–by advancing knowledge regarding the confluence of crime, justice,
and culture in various societal contexts. The Research solicitation looks or calls for
proposals on the intersection of race, offending, victimization, and the fair
administration of justice to both juveniles and adults. Now, there are two
components to the Du Bois Program. The longer standing one is the fellowship
one which is actually the bottom part of this slide and this is focused on researchers
who are early in their career and not tenured yet, generally within five
or six years of receiving their degree. Although there’s no specific requirement
around that, but we’re really looking to fund more junior investigators in this, and
we provide up to a $100,000 of funding for secondary data analysis projects and up to a $150,000
in funding for research projects that go beyond just secondary data analysis, although they
may include secondary data analysis as a component in the larger project. And as I said, this is the longstanding one. The second part of the program
is something we just started in the past year and this is focused on providing funding
for more experienced and advanced scholars, and this is–requires that people be at least six degree– six years post their term–receiving their
terminal degree. So obviously, it’s for more– for more–for
people that are more advanced in their careers. As a component of this, while it’s not required, it is generally
encouraged that to be a mentorship component in these projects so that
the more senior researcher actually has at least one junior researcher that they’re working
with on the project and mentoring in the process. This provides up to a half a
million dollars or more for research excluding secondary data
analysis projects. So this is more extensive and comprehensive research
efforts and not simply working with existing datasets. In the past year, we provided a little over
$1.1 million in total funding for the Du Bois Program. That included two scholars grants for research
on policing, traffic stops, and civilian review boards, and we funded five fellows grants
on research on youth violence and immigration, restrictive housing in corrections,
risk assessment and disparities in courts, and policing in LGBTQ communities. So again, it’s quite diverse in terms of the
kinds of things that we fund, but it’s clearly focused on specific elements of race,
gender, and culture with respect to crime. Some examples of past fellowship awards are two that are posted here. One is–looks at dispute-related urban violence
among blacks and Hispanics in urban settings, and one looks at the Arab-American experiences
with respect to crime and victimization. But again, these are only two
examples and I encourage you on the NIJ website to look at other awards we’ve given
in this area because it’s been quite broad. Moving on to the New
Investigator or Early Career Program, this is an initiative that we started just in the past year and it was
specifically developed to give younger investigators the opportunity to apply to
be principal investigators on grants where they’re not in competition
with the more experienced investigators where they’re often closed out from the– from receiving awards because they are less sophisticated in their grant writing. Now, that doesn’t mean
that we fund proposals that are not well-written
or that aren’t well-designed by any means, but what we try to do is remove
the experience factor in the competition process to allow more opportunities for
younger and more junior investigators. This is essential because experience is
ultimately a factor in receiving funding, and so the more experience you have, the
increase credibility you have in submitting proposals. Federal funding is hugely competitive, and again,
it’s hard to break into this when you’re just starting out. And managing federal awards
is complex and very time-intensive, so we want to create opportunities
for people to learn how to do this. The eligibility is pretty straightforward
and I’m just going to read these and I have to say that we’re going to get
questions about this, but the answers won’t change. You have to be a U.S. citizen. Last year, we got many questions about this that’s not negotiable. You have to be a U.S.
citizen and it doesn’t matter if you’re in a U.S. institution. You have to be–have received your
terminal degree no more than four years prior to your submission. Be non-tenured as assistant professor, and not have previously served
as a principal investigator on an NIJ award. Now, former fellows are eligible,
former graduate research assistants are eligible, but you cannot have been a
principal investigator on a regular NIJ grant. The research that is sought is
primarily in the social and behavioral sciences, criminal justice and criminology, public health, psychology,
sociology, so it is not limited by any means just to criminal justice activities. Criminal justice research is
very multidisciplinary and we are in fact trying to diversify the
backgrounds of the people doing work under NIJ funding. It can also include law,
economics, and STEM or physical sciences. The Visiting Fellows Program is specifically designed to provide
experienced practitioners and research a platform to develop innovative
approaches to solving criminal justice issues. Now, there are a number of benefits to this. There’s residence at NIJ for at least part
of the fellowship, giving you an opportunity to work with the NIJ science staff. So there’s access to federal subject matter
experts and criminal justice partners not just in NIJ but in other federal agencies. There’s participation in a wide range
of collegial work within NIJ and beyond. And the point is that we want to get people
here to develop projects that result in capstone efforts that either establish a new line of inquiry at NIJ or uses an innovative approach to
advance existing criminal justice research priorities. So this is very much different from the
other activities we do here, number one, because we are looking for practitioners
as well as researches to participate in this, and the other is that this is a very–a particularly
applied activity and exercise. Some of the Visiting Fellowship types are Policy & Practitioner Fellowships which are individuals with a significant experience as criminal justice
practitioners or involved in criminal justice policy, advancing the
administration of justice in the United States. Research Fellows would be individuals who
work mainly on criminal justice issues in academic or other research
settings, but by no means have to be– have their degrees or experience
solely within the criminal justice system. And then we also are looking for potential
Partnership Fellows which would be a team of a practitioner and a
researcher working together on a joint project. And again, I want to point out that N–that
we are accepting applications from individuals from different fields who are
bringing a multidisciplinary approach to approaching criminal justice problems. The Research–the NIJ Research Assistantship Program is an effort to recruit research assistants who are
full-time graduate assistants during the academic year, so that would involve 20 to 25 hours per week and work within their
assigned program officer on research projects, which vary based on placements. Now, in this case, the
universities are the ones who actually apply for the funding on the behalf of the student. So the university applies around
a specific student, so it’s not just generic, around a specific set of interests, but it’s the university that actually
receives the award on behalf of the student. Any U.S. accredited university
or college may nominate one or more enrolled doctoral students, so
university is not limited to a single nomination, and the universities and the National Institute of
Justice will establish an agreement upon the selection of the various awardees or grantees under this. Who can apply? U.S. Department of
Education accredited universities and colleges can nominate doctoral
students who are, again, U.S. citizens. So it doesn’t matter if you’re
a foreign student or a foreign citizen in the U.S. institution, you have to be a U.S. citizen. Then you are able to work in
Washington at NIJ during the academic year, are enrolled in a doctoral program and in good standing, are seeking a full-time assistantship
with a minimum of one-year commitment with a potential
for reappointment for a second year, and have demonstrated knowledge of
science research skills with a desire to apply them in the criminal justice field. So your degree of work doesn’t
have to be in criminal justice science but does need to relate to
criminal justice issues and agendas. Now the benefits are considerable. Students will receive a stipend, tuition remission,
health benefits, training, and travel funds. They’re placement specific, the
opportunity to work in one of NIJ’s Science Offices or in the Office of the Director of NIJ. There are three Science Offices in NIJ. One is Research and Evaluation,
which is the social and behavioral science area. One is the Office of Science and Technology, and
one is the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences. It’s a real career development activity for
practical and applied research experience where you can learn more about the
research enterprise from a perspective of a federal science agency, and there’s considerable access,
increased access to criminal justice organizations, universities, professionals, policymakers, and practitioners on the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. Some examples of research
assistant–assignments have included undertaking the development of
annotated bibliographies and literature– and critical literature reviews, development and maintenance of compendium
of research studies around a specific topic area, development and maintenance of–
and measurement and study of databases, completing comprehensive reviews of data sets, conducting qualitative and
quantitative intramural research studies, assisting with evaluability assessments, coauthoring peer-reviewed
journal articles, NIJ journal articles, book chapters, summaries, research briefs, fliers,
and white papers, and coauthoring and presenting NIJ-sponsored presentations and webinars. The last thing I want to touch on
just briefly, and this is really geared to the more senior people that are listening on this webinar is that we are extremely
interesting–interested in continuing to expand our pool of peer reviewers who review for us our proposals that are
submitted under various solicitations and give us recommendations
and feedback on the quality of those proposals. We are particularly interested
in diversifying the backgrounds of the people that are part of our peer
review process and diversity in all respects from different disciplines with
respect to demographic differences, racial and ethnic differences,
gender, the whole spectrum of diversity so that the input we
get in the reviewing of our proposals is broad and represents different
perspectives and different sets of experience. Diversity among peer reviewers is essential
because the science of criminal justice serves an increasingly diverse population, and we also know that diversity in the development of
proposals and then the review of proposals, generally, result in better proposals and
better research and better work. So on the slide, there is a
website, [email protected] If you go to that website, you
can sign up to be a peer reviewer. I’m hoping that many
of you are interested in this. I will also say for somewhat more junior folks that this is a great opportunity to learn more about the quality and kinds
of proposals that NIJ accepts and so it gives you some
insight into the kind of proposals that tend
to be successful in being submitted to NIJ. On that note, I’m going to stop and I
think we’ll be opening things up for questions. MaryJo Giovacchini: Yes. Just a minute, please. We do have one–our first question,
isn’t the GRF-SBS Program requirement for when you grant the
award or at the time of the application? I think it’s supposed to say what is the GRF-SBS’
Program requirement for when you grant the award. HOWARD SPIVAK: I believe
it’s for when you submit the application, so it’s not for when you
get the award, it’s when you submit.
[CORRECTION: SBS requirements must be completed by the time an award becomes active.] MaryJo Giovacchini:
Thank you for the helpful presentation. Could you please discuss
the acceptance rates for fellowships? I.e. roughly how many applicants
would you expect for each program? HOWARD SPIVAK: Oh, that’s really
hard to answer because it varies from year to year. I’m sorry. I wasn’t facing the
phone so I’m not sure if you heard me. It’s a little heard to answer to answer that
because the number of applications we get vary from year to year
and the limitations really are partly based on the quality of proposals we get and partly based on the amount of funding we have, but the numbers I gave you in terms of the number of fellowships
that we fund on an annual basis is pretty consistent, but the ratio varies based on
the number of applications we get. Quite frankly, if people submit a good proposal that’s well-written
and well-thought out in terms of the science and is something that where you can
make a strong case that it will be an impact– impactful project, that it will make a difference, then the likelihood of you getting funded is pretty high. We’re looking to fund good
proposals. We’re not looking to eliminate things. We’re looking to actually support
people’s careers and support good science especially among people
who are developing their careers. One of our strong interests in doing this
is that we want people to do research in criminal justice, and we want to–essential to this
is engaging people early in their careers when they’re beginning to really think through more carefully where they
want to end up and the directions they want to take. MaryJo Giovacchini: For STEM-GRF, is there
a point in a doctoral program where a student is too far along to apply? Could a student who has
reached candidacy still be eligible? HOWARD SPIVAK: Yes, you have
up to three years of funding, but you don’t need to spend three years doing that. So if you’re closer to the–to
completion of your thesis, and your doctoral work, that’s not a problem at all. So you have up to three years, but you don’t
need to do it in three years, you could do it in less. MaryJo Giovacchini:
I have a PhD in 2010 and MPH in 2016, is the PhD considered the terminal
degree or the MPH as the most recent? And in short, am I qualified for
the early career new investigator award? HOWARD SPIVAK: No, I think the
PhD is the terminal degree in this case. MPHs can’t be considered
a terminal degree among researchers, but that’s a second degree. So it really is the first
terminal degree that you receive that is considered. Now, if you got an MPH and then got a doctorate, the doctorate would be your terminal degree
because that would be a more advanced degree. MaryJo Giovacchini: Are non-tenured staff
scientists eligible for the new investigator award or is this restricted to those in faculty positions? HOWARD SPIVAK: It’s
restricted to people in faculty positions. So, you need to be a non-tenured faculty track
individual to be eligible to apply for that funding. MaryJo Giovacchini: I’m
going to stop for a second here. And just a reminder, if you
do have a question for Dr. Spivak, please submit it in the Q and A panel, not the chat panel. The chat panel should be used for technical assistance. We cannot monitor both boxes. So please, if you’ve submitted
something in chat that is a question, please resubmit it in the Q and A panel. And I apologize. A minute, please. For visiting fellows, is there a specific
amount or percentage of time required for the resident at NIJ of
fellowship–portion of the fellowship? HOWARD SPIVAK: I’m sorry. Can you repeat that? MaryJo Giovacchini: For visiting fellows,
is there a specific amount or percentage of time required for the resident at
the NIJ for the fellowship period? HOWARD SPIVAK: That is negotiable. You need to spend some of your time at NIJ. It could easily vary based on the
kind of work and project you’re doing, but we’ve had fellows who have actually been
here full-time, we’ve had fellows who have been here in the ballpark of one week a month. I think that probably
reflects to some extent the spectrum. This is not something that they
could–can be done totally from a distance. But we’re pretty negotiable on
that. We’re looking for good candidates with good ideas and that’s really
what drives this and we figure the rest out. MaryJo Giovacchini: On the SBS program requirements, can a student take optional
dissertation related classes/workshops if they have completed required
courses, QEs, and be working on their dissertation? Also, is that a requirement to apply or for
the anticipated time period of the grant? HOWARD SPIVAK: I’m not sure I entirely
understand that question, so let me take a stab at it. The funding that you–that one gets under
this award can be spent any way you want to spend it, for coursework, for salary, for
any other activity related to the project. So, there’s great flexibility with
respect to how the money is used. It can be used to take courses. It
can be used to contribute to your tuition. It can be used for salary,
especially during summer months, that’s pretty open-ended. It’s kind of
something that you need to negotiate with your– with your university who
is the recipient of the funding, but we’re pretty open and flexible on that. MARY JO GIOVACCHINI: If I am a faculty member, and
my doctoral student receives a research assistantship, can I also work on his or her NIJ project? HOWARD SPIVAK: I don’t see why not. It–we really like when students have a faculty
member who’s involved–who’s actively involved in their work and is
mentoring and supporting their work. That generally are both well in
terms of the quality the work is being done. It’s important that students
have strong faculty support in the work they do. One qualification and
that is that none of the funding can actually be used to
pay the salary of the faculty member. MaryJo Giovacchini: What is the timeline
for the Du Bois Program in Race and Crime? HOWARD SPIVAK: I don’t know if I have exact
dates yet, but the solicitation will probably be released sometime in early to midwinter. It will probably be on the street
for somewhere in the ballpark of 60 days. It could be up to 90 days, we don’t know
exactly yet, it may depend on the timing, but between two and three months. And the awards will be
made some time over the summer. MaryJo Giovacchini: I’m trying to figure
out this question here. Is it possible to know– I think they’re trying
to say who the peer viewers are who will be reading the grant applications for GSF-SBS. HOWARD SPIVAK: No, the peer viewers are anonymous and that’s because we need peer viewers to be explicitly honest with us. And so it is–their names are not released, people are asked if they have conflicts of interest, and if they do have conflicts of
interest around specific proposals, they generally do not participate in the discussion, they’re
actually not even in the room during the discussion. But you will not know if you submit a
proposal who has actually reviewed your proposal. That’s pretty standard. I don’t know if any science agencies with
peer viewers are anything but anonymous. MaryJo Giovacchini: Can you
distinguish STEM and SBS with more details? For example, I’m a graduate student in
Family Studies in Human Development. I use secondary data analysis
in addition to various statistical analyses. As a result, I identify with STEM and SBS. HOWARD SPIVAK: There are
certainly areas that breach between the two. You just–you don’t have
to decide which one you want to apply to. The STEM sciences tend
to be more of the core sciences, the social behavioral science tend to be more behavioral. Based on your question,
I would suspect that you’re more in the social behavioral science category, but it’s your call what you want to apply to. MaryJo Giovacchini: Can you discuss applying
to both the Du Bois Fellowship and the New Investigator/Early Career Program? I
thought I had read that you cannot apply for both. HOWARD SPIVAK: You can apply for
both, but not with the same proposal. So, they have to be substantially different. There’s no reason why you
can’t apply to more than one of these, but what you cannot do is apply–is send
the same application or the–essentially the same proposal idea to more
than one solicitation. If that happens, you leave it to us to decide which one you’ll be in and I think you’d much
prefer to make that choice yourself. MaryJo Giovacchini: What is the
deadline for the Early Career Investigator? HOWARD SPIVAK: Again, I can’t give you dates yet. The solicitations are all going
to come out in early to midwinter. They tend to be on the
street between 60 and 90 days, which means they’re due sometime in the early spring. Rewards are made over the summer. But a lot depends on things
because the timeline for release of solicitations is among other things dependent on us having a budget, which is not, as you may know, always predictable. MaryJo Giovacchini: For the Research
Assistant Program, if the university receives the award, why does the RA work in DC? HOWARD SPIVAK: The RA works in DC
because a key component of the assistantship is working with NIJ staff. It’s awfully hard to do that from a distance. In fact, it’s really not possible to do it from a distance. So if the university receives the award, you
get the money from the university, not directly from us. But the assistantship is based at NIJ. Now, in that sense, the money can be
used for anything, from paying yourself a salary to covering the cost of living in Washington. MaryJo Giovacchini: Can a person
on the first year of graduate program apply for the NIJ Graduate Research Fellowship Program? [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED]
For the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), a student can apply and be awarded a fellowship as soon as they are enrolled in the PhD program. [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED]
But the fellowship would not become active until they have a committee and the dissertation topic is approved. [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED]
For social/behavioral sciences, they cannot because the social/behavioral science requires completion of all coursework and comprehensive exams, and advancement to candidacy. [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED]
Essentially, the SBS program is meant for students who are in the tail end of the dissertation research with a specific focus on the last year of the doctorate program. MaryJo Giovacchini: How much scientific
background should be assumed in the application, i.e., should it be primarily
geared towards scientists or policymakers? [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED]
Applications are reviewed by experts in the fields of study concerned, so they should be written to a scientific audience. MaryJo Giovacchini: Can you be a
graduate fellow while being full-time employed? HOWARD SPIVAK: I don’t know that that would
be very possible. I mean, if you’re going to be here– I’m sorry, this is a graduate fellowship? Mary Jo Giovacchini: Can a grad–can you be
a graduate fellow while being employed full-time? PARTICIPANT:
Yes, a graduate fellow can [INDISCERNIBLE] HOWARD SPIVAK: For the graduate fellowship, yes. I mean, if you’re working full-time and you’re in a graduate program, this is part of your graduate program. So, whether you’re
employed or not is not of our concern. For the assistantship program, you
can’t be full-time employed and applied–employed and do the research assistantship because
you need to participate here 20 to 25 hours a week. [Hours are based on university agreements]. So, unless you’re working nights,
I’m not sure that would be possible. MaryJo Giovacchini: Are legal
residents working at an–US institution able to apply to the new investigator program? HOWARD SPIVAK: I’m sorry, read that again. MaryJo Giovacchini: Are legal
residents working on a–in a US institution able to apply to the new investigator program? HOWARD SPIVAK: No, you need to be a US citizen. There’s nothing negotiable around that. MaryJo Giovacchini: Is someone
doing educational policy research, but utilizes a multidisciplinary
approach, law, policy, criminal justice, social work welcome to apply
to the new investigator grant program? HOWARD SPIVAK: As I said during my presentation,
criminal justice science is a multidisciplinary science. So, whatever background you bring to this
as long as the work you’re doing is relevant in some way to criminal justice practice or policy, then you
can be as creative as you want to be there. And there is–are certainly education policy
issues that are extremely important in criminal justice practice and policy. So, you can certainly
integrate and merge various things. We’re quite interested in people who
are able to identify those kinds of lengths and make a case for the perspective they bring to the work. So, I would encourage you to think
about that. I can’t be any more specific without starting to get into
specificity about your specific idea which I can’t do. MaryJo Giovacchini: Is funding solely for
Ph.D. candidates or can Masters students also submit an application noting
that would possibly be a simpler project? HOWARD SPIVAK: No.
You have to be a Ph.D. candidate [to be eligible for NIJ’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program] MaryJo Giovacchini: Can you fund a practitioner conducting research on a topic
they propose? I have a JD. I’m a former FBI agent. I’m also a peer reviewer for two DOJ
offices and studied statistics as part of my grad– criminal justice undergraduate degree. HOWARD SPIVAK: Yes.
It’s–an applicant for a research grant can–your experience,
as a researcher as well as your research idea, as well as your case that can convince us
that you can induct–conduct a research effectively are the criteria for doing this. So, you don’t need to be
specifically trained as a researcher. There are many people with law
degrees and other kinds of practitioner degrees that are doing high quality research.
So, that does–by no means exclude you, but keep in mind that the quality of the
science and the proposal will ultimately drive the likelihood of getting funding. Katie Gresham: Are there any chances that
a recent graduate from an undergraduate institution can apply for any fellowship if he or she
will be starting graduate school this upcoming fall? HOWARD SPIVAK: [For the Graduate Fellowship programs and Research Assistantship] You have to be enrolled in graduate school at the time of the application. And as you heard, some of the criteria
require that you have approval of your dissertation and a variety of other things. So, to do it before entering graduate school, you would not
be able to meet the minimum criteria to be eligible. Katie Gresham: Is there a funding
limit for the early career program? HOWARD SPIVAK: Yeah.
It’s a hundred and fifty thousand dollars total and that can be for one year or more. Katie Gresham: What is the timespan– what is the timespan between when you
submit the application and the response time? HOWARD SPIVAK: Most
applications are due sometime in the spring and awards are made at the latest
by September 30th of the same year. And many of the projects will then start somewhere in the ballpark of January or February of the following year. The graduate fellowship awards are made sooner because we are trying to notify people
before the beginning of their academic year, so that they can apply on their
upcoming academic year, but that’s the only one that’s on a fast track. Katie Gresham: Would you sort a GRF
application from a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate using electroencephalography as a STEM
project or an FPS project under psychology? HOWARD SPIVAK: Number one, I really can’t
comment on the specific content of your proposal, but I would strongly
suggest that you think about which one of your project will you be most
credible and you could potentially do it for either. I think it depends on how you present your work. And as I said earlier, there are–there are certainly projects that could go to one
or the other. You can’t apply to both. So, you have to make the decision at your
end as to which one you think you’re most credible for applying for. Katie Gresham: Can a part-time doctoral
candidate apply for the GRF SBS fellowship? Also, does the person need to have an
approved dissertation proposal prior to applying? HOWARD SPIVAK: I’ll answer the second part first. Yes, you need an approved
dissertation on a topic before you can apply. [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED] Students must be enrolled full-time in a doctoral degree program at an eligible academic institution. See page 5 of the FY17 GRF-SBS or GRF-STEM solicitations or for more information. Katie Gresham: You have one solicitation per year for
the Behavioral Sciences graduate research fellowship? HOWARD SPIVAK: We have one solicitation a
year for all of the categories that we’ve– I that discussed today. We only have a single cycle a year.
Some science agencies have multiple cycles. We don’t.
We have a single cycle a year. As I said, most of our solicitations
are released sometime in early to mid-winter are due in early spring generally, are reviewed and decisions are made in late
spring through mid-summer. And awards are made by the end of the fiscal
year which is the end of September. You need to meet deadlines.
If you missed deadlines, there’s nothing negotiable about that. And just as a caution, your applications need
to be totally complete by deadline. We do not accept additional or supplement
of materials once the deadline closes. Katie Gresham: For the Research Assistant
Program, how much time–sorry about that. I lost the question, but I can paraphrase. For the Research Assistant
Program, how much time during the academic year will need to be spent in the DC area? Would time be split between
DC and applicant’s home institution? HOWARD SPIVAK: As I said
earlier, the expectation is that the assistantships are physically here at NIJ 20 to 25 hours a week. Depending on where you live
or where your university is, you could certainly do some degree of commuting. It would be awfully hard to do
if you don’t live within commuting distance. But your work is here at NIJ. It’s not at a distant site because what’s central in
this is close collaboration with NIJ science fair. Katie Gresham: Can graduate
students be nominated by their universities for the Research Assistant
Program at any point during their program? HOWARD SPIVAK: For the Research
Assistantship Program? Yes. I think at any point. Participant [INDISCERNIBLE ] HOWARD SPIVAK: Yeah–no–
yes. There is the application period, but you’re–I
think what you’re asking is, can you do it in your first–in any of the years
that you’re in your program? Yes. And we’ve had assistantship both here who were in their first year of their graduate program
where we had inter–we’ve had assistantships in– nearing their final years of their program. It really varies and it’s
really up to your program and you. Katie Gresham: When is the
deadline for the Research Assistantship Program? When would it begin? HOWARD SPIVAK: Guys, you can keep asking me
this question and you’re going to get the same answer, but… Participant: [INDISCERNIBLE] HOWARD SPIVAK: Oh, so,
the Research Assistantship Program, we’ll announce people who have been accepted in [CORRECTION] October.
We then go to a various set of interviews. TAMMI FERGUSON: Do you not have the positions
available? HOWARD SPIVAK: Oh, well, okay. I’m sorry.
We announce positions available in December. We do interviews in late winter, early spring. And then, decisions are made
shortly after the interview process. Katie Gresham: Can you share a little bit
of information on the reviewing committees for the FPS or STEM fellowship such as, will
the people in the reviewing committees align to the– will their fields align to
those of the application discipline? HOWARD SPIVAK: Yes. The review panels are very multidisciplinary
and cover all of the subject matter that is submitted. We generally review the proposals
and make sure that our peer review committees have the expertise necessary
to properly evaluate the proposal. So, there is a bit of a lag between the proposals– proposal deadline and
the creation of the peer review committees to assure that we’re able to put
the appropriate committees together. Katie Gresham: Does NIJ
consider proposals that include funding field work outside of the United States if
that field work contributes to the understanding of criminal justice in the United States? HOWARD SPIVAK: Yes. Katie Gresham: I’ve seen a lot of repeating
questions. So, I’m going to find a new one. If a student is awarded
the graduate research fellowship, does that prevent them from applying for
grants to fund the research they are conducting? HOWARD SPIVAK: No. It shouldn’t–it shouldn’t stop people from
applying for other funding. Except at least for other federal
grants if you have a graduate fellowship award, you have to declare that in your application. So, the people you’re applying for funding will know that you have funding from NIJ for their fellowship. And that’s essentially to
make sure that there isn’t duplication in funding. But if there’s–if you’re trying to re-get funding
to do primary data collection around your dissertation and that’s additional cost
to what you’re paying for through the fellowship, that would be perfectly fine. Katie Gresham: I work
for a public defense in local government. I received my terminal degree in 2013. I’m interested in several of these opportunities. Are there any restrictions to
working full-time in a practitioner position? HOWARD SPIVAK: It varies on the solicitation. [CORRECTED] For the visiting scholars program, you don’t need by any
means to be in an academic institution. If you’re applying for a graduate fellowship,
then you need to be in a graduate program. Katie Gresham:
New investigator needs to [INDISCERNIBLE] HOWARD SPIVAK:
New investigator, you do need to be at a university, but in Du Bois, I don’t think so with Du Bois–with the Du Bois
Fellowship, you don’t need to be in a university. And certainly, for the visiting scholar, you
absolutely don’t have to be in a university. We’re looking for practitioner scholars, so. I think that you need to review solicitations carefully and make
sure that you meet the minimum requirements. And some of them will require that you’re enrolled in and or employed
by a university, and others do not. Katie Gresham: Clarification on
the Social Behavioral Sciences requirement. It requires being done with your classes. Does that mean being done with required classes,
qualifying exams, and working on your dissertation at the time of the application or can these
students taking optional classes still apply? HOWARD SPIVAK: [ANSWER AS CLARIFIED] You have to be done with the coursework that is required as part of your doctoral program before if an award is active. you can certainly be
taking supplemental classes. But you need to have completed your basic requirements
at the time of application. Not at the time of award. If you haven’t, your
application won’t be reviewed. Katie Gresham: If a practitioner/faculty
proposal is submitted, I assume this is for the [INDISCERNIBLE] Program. Would this include support for the faculty
to integrate or embed with the practitioner’s agency? HOWARD SPIVAK: I don’t see why not. I think– I mean, you submit a
budget as part of your application, you’d have to justify how the money is being spent, but if there’s a cost to
being embedded in a practitioner agency, that’s not an issue.
I’m not quite sure what that cost would be. Katie Gresham: [INDISCERNIBLE ] HOWARD SPIVAK: Yeah,
you need–yes, you need to be able to come to NIJ at least some of
the time, so that would be negotiated out. But it can’t all be done at a distance. It certainly can be used to pay salary. So, if there’s a salary cost to being embedded in the practitioner agency, that would not be a problem. That’s often–that’s pretty
common in research practitioner partnerships. That researchers spends at least some of their
time embedded in their–in the practitioner agency, but you do need to also spend time at NIJ. MaryJo Giovacchini: One thing
before we move forward. We are running out of time. So, we may not be able to get
to all of the questions that we have here. In addition, there will be
another webinar on October 4th and we will discuss the GRF Program. At that time, you can ask some of your questions
and they will be answered in more detail. HOWARD SPIVAK: Also note
that up on your screen are a number of websites that allow you to get
further information on the fellowship programs on the Graduate
Research Fellowship webinar registration and as well as follow up for this webinar. And I’m going to go back. Can I go back? Yes. I’m going to go back to the slide for peer reviewers
as well because this is not on that summary slide. This is the website now up on the screen, [email protected] where you can
get more information about being a peer reviewer and also essentially submit
your application to become a peer reviewer. From–at that point, I’m going to
back to the final slide with the other website. Katie Gresham: A couple
more questions in our few minutes. Can a person who
has received a reward from NIJ as a Co-PI be eligible for the Early Career Program? HOWARD SPIVAK: Yes. You cannot have been a PI, but
you could certainly have been a Co-PI. Katie Gresham: Are there
preferences for qualitative versus quantitative research? HOWARD SPIVAK: There are
preferences for good science. And there’s good qualitative
science and there’s good quantitative science. And there’s not so good quantitative
science and there’s not so good qualitative science. You need to write a good proposal.
You need to be thoughtful about your methodology. That is the major
component of the scoring that you will get. So, a good idea is great
and you get some points for that. A good, solid scientific
proposal, you get a lot of credit for. And the relevance and impact
to the work you’re doing is also important. So, you can propose
a wonderfully solid scientific project, but if you don’t make the connection to impact and relevance to the
practice in–the practice in criminal justice, then it’s going to be a
tough road for you on getting NIJ funding. Katie Gresham: What’s the best
way to learn more about NIJ’s strategic priorities? HOWARD SPIVAK: If you go to the NIJ– main NIJ website which
actually isn’t up here, but it’s basically NIJ.gov, you should be
able to link on to a variety of strategic plans that we have. We have a broad
strategic plan for NIJ in general, and then we have strategic plans around high priority topic areas that will be available on our website
as well. Around policing, around courts, around corrections,
and around a variety of other high priority criminal justice issues.
So, there’s a lot of information on our website. There’s also opportunities to post questions
through our website that we can respond to. TAMMI FERGUSSON: Is there any exception to the one year commitment
to the Research Assistant Program? Could you be a research
assistant for the summer? HOWARD SPIVAK: No. TAMMI FERGUSSON: Okay. At this time, it is 4:00 PM. And we do need to end this webinar. We really appreciate your
time, and patience, and interest in this subject. The questions that have not been
answered will be collected and we will do our best to make sure that they are
answered and included in an FAQ document. That will be posted along with the
slide and the audio portion of this presentation. In addition, the information that’s
up on the screen for the contact information when these opportunities become available,
you can reach out to the National Criminal Justice reference service and they will work with
the National Institute of Justice to address any specific questions you have at that time. Thank you very much
and that concludes today’s webinar.