Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program

The goal of NIJ's Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 is to assist eligible States and units of local government to reduce forensic DNA case turnaround time, increase the throughput of public DNA laboratories, and reduce DNA forensic casework backlogs.

These improvements
are critical to preventing future DNA backlogs and to helping the criminal justice system use the full potential of DNA technology.

Agency - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interest of the United States, ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic; providing Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful pursuits; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.



Program Accomplishments

None.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Expenditures from Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program awards may include the following: (1) Salary and benefits of additional laboratory employees: Funds may be used to hire additional full-time or part-time laboratory employees who will be directly engaged in handling, screening, and/or analyzing forensic evidence that may contain DNA, or in validating new DNA analysis technologies.

Matching funds are not required.

NIJ makes no assurance that funds will be available for this purpose in future award announcements.

(2) Overtime for existing laboratory staff: Funds may be used to pay overtime for existing laboratory employees who will be directly engaged in handling, screening, and analyzing forensic evidence that may contain DNA, or in validating new DNA analysis technologies.

Any payments for overtime must be in accordance with the applicable provisions of the OJP Financial Guide, available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/finguide06.

(3) Training: Funds may be used for appropriate training of DNA laboratory personnel.

- Existing members of the DNA unit: Appropriate training may include internal or external training, appropriate continuing education/training opportunities, and/or applicable graduate-level coursework that is directly related to the applicant's forensic DNA laboratory operation and is for members of the DNA Unit.

(Reasonable travel expenses directly associated with training may be paid in accordance with the provisions of the OJP Financial Guide.) Funds associated with internal or external training, appropriate continuing education/training opportunities, and/or applicable graduate-level coursework for existing members of the DNA Unit (including travel expenses) are limited to no more than 5 percent of the total award.

Such funds will be awarded with the intended purpose of aiding existing members of the DNA Unit to meet the continuing educational requirements mandated in DNA Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

- New members of the DNA Unit: States and units of local government that wish to use funds to train new employees to handle, screen or analyze DNA evidence should submit a detailed plan for training these individuals with their proposal.

There is no fixed percentage cap on the funds for this purpose.

(4) Travel (Limited): Funds may be used for travel to public or private accredited laboratories that will conduct DNA analyses to review procedures and practices prior to initial sample shipment, and to make one additional unannounced site visit.

Funds may also be used for travel associated with DNA training as described above.

Travel expenses must be reasonable and must comply with the applicable provisions of the OJP Financial Guide.

(5) Equipment: Funds may be used for upgrading, replacing, and purchasing laboratory equipment, instrumentation, and computer hardware or software (e.g., LIMS or expert systems) for forensic DNA analyses and data management.

(6) Supplies for Validation: Allowable supply expenses include the purchase of laboratory supplies that can be directly attributed to the validation of new DNA analysis technologies.

Convicted offender-related evidence collection kits may also be purchased.

(7) Supplies for in-house laboratory handling, screening, and analysis of forensic DNA casework samples: Funds may be used for costs associated with in-house laboratory handling, screening, and analysis of forensic DNA casework samples.

These costs include supply expenses (to include any supplies necessary for the handling, screening, and analysis of backlogged forensic casework samples in addition to supplies discussed above) directly attributable to forensic DNA casework.

(8) Renovation: Funds may be used for renovations to existing DNA laboratory facilities if it can be demonstrated that the purchases will directly and specifically improve the efficiency of the forensicDNA laboratory.

Expenses thatmaybeallowable include the purchase or upgrade of benches, cabinets, interior dividing walls, plumbing, HVAC systems, electrical wiring, evidence examination and preparation rooms, evidence storage rooms, drying rooms, walk-in freezers, and extraction or amplification rooms.

(9) Consultant and contractor services other than sending forensic DNA casework samples to accredited fee-for-service laboratories for analysis: Funds may be used to hire consultants and/or temporary contract staff to handle, screen, and analyze forensic evidence that may contain DNA or to validate new DNA analysis technologies.

Funds may also be used to hire consultants or contractors to assist laboratories with the installation of LIMS or expert systems, or with the implementation of DNA process-improvement measures.

(10) Sending forensic DNA casework samples to public or private accredited forensic DNA laboratories for analyses: Funds may be used to send samples to accredited fee-for-service laboratories to conduct DNA analyses.

Funds may also be used to enter into agreements with accredited government-owned laboratories to conduct DNA analyses, perform data review, enter eligible forensic DNA profiles into CODIS, and, where applicable, upload to NDIS.

If an eligible applicant chooses to send samples to an external accredited forensic DNA laboratory, the applicant will be responsible for ensuring that applicable NDIS Data Acceptance Standards are met for all profiles uploaded to NDIS.

Administrative expenses: Up to 3 percent of the Federal portion of a grant awarded under this program may be used for direct and indirect administrative expenses specifically related to grant administration and management.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants are State and units of local government with existing crime laboratories conducting DNA analysis that are either: (1) Accredited by a nonprofit professional association actively involved in forensic science that is nationally recognized within the forensic science community such as the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) or the Forensic Quality Services (FQS), etc., or (2) Undergo external audits, not less than once every 2 years, that demonstrate compliance with DNA Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible applicants are State and units of local government with existing crime laboratories conducting DNA analysis that are either: (1) Accredited by a nonprofit professional association actively involved in forensic science that is nationally recognized within the forensic science community such as the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) or the Forensic Quality Services (FQS), etc., or (2) Undergo external audits, not less than once every 2 years, that demonstrate compliance with DNA Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Credentials/Documentation

The applicant must furnish a copy of their current accreditation certificate.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Potential applicants are encouraged to request the program announcement for additional information about eligibility requirements, the research priorities of the Institute, and application and selection procedures.

The standard application form as furnished by the Federal agency, in accordance with 28 CFR, Part 66 (Common Rule), must be used for this program.

Applicants must contact their State Point of Contact (SPOC) to determine if the program has been selected for review by the State.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

The date that the application was sent to the SPOC or the reason such submission is not required must be included in the application.

A copy of the application must also be submitted to the State office that administers the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Formula Grant Program.

Application Procedures

Detailed information is provided in a program solicitation which is obtained by sending a self-addressed mailing label to NCJRS, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000; calling toll free to request a copy at (800) 851-3420; or accessing the web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij under Funding Opportunities. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No.A-110 or the Common Rule where applicable. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) requires that funding applications be submitted electronically through the OJP Grants Management System (GMS), which will be accessed at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/fundopps.htm. On-line submission of an application represents legal binding acceptance of the terms of the application. For further information about GMS, call the OJP GMS Hotline at (1-888) 549-9901.

Award Procedures

All applications will be reviewed by the Program Office. All final decisions will be made by the NIJ Director.

Deadlines

There is normally one deadline each year, usually in the Spring. The deadline varies based on when program appropriations is passed into law. Throughout the fiscal year, NIJ releases multiple announcements for research and technology development funding. Program deadline will be included in the announcements on FedGrants at www.fedgrants.gov, on NIJ's website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/funding.htm, and on the Office of Justice Programs website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/fundopps.htm .

Authorization

Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2005, Public Law 108-447, 118 Stat. 2809, 2853, 2865 (2004).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 90 days from application deadline.

Appeals

Hearing by the NIJ Director.

Renewals

None.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Grant funds shall not be used to pay salaries and/or benefits of existing State or local personnel. Applicants, however, may include the cost of hiring new laboratory personnel directly associated with the project.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Awards under this program are issued for a period of 18 months.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Fiscal report consisting of quarterly expenditures and budget expenditure reports; final financial report giving costs and expenditures of the complete project; program reports consisting of quarterly performance metrics reports, bi-annual progress reports; and a final report including a summary of program accomplishments.

Other reports may be requested.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No.A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofits Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Records

Records and accounts concerning the expenditure of Institute and grantee or appointee-contributed funds shall be maintained during the grant period and retained for 3 years thereafter.

Financial Information

Account Identification

15-0401-0-1-754.

Obigations

FY 07 $44,249,591; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In amounts consistent with the applicant's proposed project and the Institute's plans, priorities and levels of financing.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Information about the Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program solicitation may be obtained by calling NCJRS at (800) 851-3420 or accessing the web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij under Funding Opportunities.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20531. Telephone: (202) 307-2942. FTS number is (202) 307-3942. For assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact Senior Program Manager: Mark Nelson; Telephone: (202) 616-1960 or Mark.S.Nelson@usdoj.gov, or Program Manager: Minh Nguyen; Telephone: (202) 305-2664 or Minh.Nguyen@usdoj.gov. This application must be submitted through OJP's online Grants Management System (GMS). For technical assistance with submitting the application, call the Grants Management System Customer Support Hotline at (1-888) 514-9901.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

All eligible State and units of local government with existing crime laboratories conducting DNA analysis that are accredited by a nonprofit professional association actively involved in forensic science that is nationally recognized within the forensic science community such as the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) or the Forensic Quality Services (FQS), etc., and unergo external audits, not less than once every 2 years, that demonstrate compliance with DNA Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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