Grant Details

Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants

 
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    CFDA#

    16.742
     

    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology

    Authority

    National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

    Summary

    NIJ seeks proposals for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, which awards grants to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroners office services. Among other things, funds may be used to eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence and to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog.


    Coverdell Program funds are divided into two separate categories each year.

    • Allocated Funds - The Coverdell law sets a floor for the minimum amount a State Administrative Agency (SAA) may receive annually through the program. In FY 2020, this minimum amount is anticipated to be $264,698 per state.
      • To address the effect of heroin and synthetic opioid abuse on crime laboratories, NIJ plans to allocate approximately 57% of available funds to specifically target the challenges the opioid abuse crisis has brought to the forensic science community. 
      • Coverdell funds are available for permissible uses that would not address the opioid abuse crisis; however, States should plan to allocate at least 57% of Coverdell grant funds (commensurate with each States specifically-identified need) to address the challenges to the forensic science community posed by the opioid abuse crisis.
    • Competitive Funds - The Coverdell law sets aside a minimum of 15% available funds to a competitive process. The average annual number of Part 1 violent crimes reported by each State to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for calendar years 2016, 2017, and 2018; existing resources; and current needs of the potential grant recipient will be considerations in award decisions. In FY 2020, a state or unit of local government may receive up to $250,000 in addition to the base allocation.
      • Coverdell funds are available for permissible uses that would not address the opioid abuse crisis; however, applications requesting Coverdell funds for projects that address specified opioid-abuse-crisis related challenges to the forensic science community will be given priority consideration in award decisions over applications not requesting funds for such projects.

    A State or unit of local government that receives a Coverdell grant must use the grant for one or more of these six purposes:

    • To carry out all or a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner/coroners office services in the State, including those services provided by laboratories operated by the State and those operated by units of local government within the State.
    • To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence, including, among other things, a backlog with respect to firearms examination, latent prints, impression evidence, toxicology, digital evidence, fire evidence, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence.
    • To train, assist, and employ forensic laboratory personnel and medicolegal death investigators, as needed to eliminate such a backlog.
    • To address emerging forensic science issues (such as statistics, contextual bias, and uncertainty of measurement) and emerging forensic science technology (such as high throughput automation, statistical software, and new types of instrumentation).
    • To educate and train forensic pathologists.
    • To fund medicolegal death investigation systems to facilitate accreditation of medical examiner and coroner offices and certification of medicolegal death investigators.
     

    History of Funding

    A list of awards and abstracts is available at: http://www.nij.gov/topics/forensics/lab-operations/capacity/nfsia/pages/welcome.aspx.

    Additional Information

    Eligible expenses include: 

    • Personnel 
    • Computerization
    • Laboratory equipment 
    • Supplies
    • Laboratory accreditation
    • Education, training and certification
    • Facilities
    • Administrative expenses

    Ineligible expenses include: 

    • Funds to conduct research. Applicants may address emerging forensic science issues and technology through implementation of new technologies and processes into public laboratories.
    • Expenses other than those listed above (including expenses for general law enforcement functions or non-forensic investigatory functions).
    • Costs for any new facility that exceed the limits described above.
    • Recipient administrative expenses (direct or indirect) that exceed 10 percent of the total grant amount.
    • The use of funds for the purchase and/or lease of vehicles such as crime scene vans.

    Contacts

    National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center

    National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center
    Bureau of Justice Assistance
    810 Seventh Street NW
    Washington, DC 20531
    (800) 851-3420
    (301) 240-5830
     

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligibility varies based on program area: 
    • Allocated Funds - The State Administrative Agency (SAA) is the only eligible applicant. Units of local government may then apply for pass-through funding from the appropriate SAA. 
    • Competitive Funds - The State Administrative Agency (SAA) or unit of local government may request additional funding. 

    Deadline Details

    Applications are to be submitted by June 19, 2020. A similar deadline is anticipated annually. 

    Award Details

    Award amounts vary based on program area: 

    • Allocated Funds: In FY 2020, up to $26,469,758 is available in funding for allocated (AKA formula) funds to State Administrative Agencies.  The approximate amount each eligible State will receive is listed in Appendix 1 of the 2020 Formula Program Guidance (https://bja.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh186/files/media/document/bja-2020-18434.pdf).
    • Competitive Funds: In FY 2020, up to $3,970,464 is available in funding for competitive solicitations. Up to 30 awards will be granted. The maximum amount a State or unit of local government may receive in competitive funds is $250,000. 

    Cost sharing/matching is not required. Project periods for both programs will extend up to 12-months, starting October 1, 2020.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts


    • New Funding Opportunities for K-12 School Safety - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available
    • Funding to Address High Crime Areas within Your Community - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available
    • Funding to Enhance Response, Investigation, and Prosecution of Domestic Violence - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available

 

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