BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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BJS Visiting Fellows Program

About the Program

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) offers a visiting fellows program. The program facilitates collaboration between academic scholars and government researchers in survey methodology, statistics, economics, and social sciences. BJS visiting fellows have the unique opportunity to address some substantive, methodological, and analytic issues relevant to BJS programs, and to further knowledge and understanding of criminal justice system operations. Fellows conduct research at BJS or at their home site, use BJS data and facilities, and interact with BJS staff.

This collaborative environment fosters mutual growth: Projects provide social science researchers and statisticians with a unique and challenging experience outside of their normal work environment, and BJS gains input and solutions from experts who possess the specialized training and experience needed for these efforts.

  Who is eligible?
red arrow   How are researchers and projects chosen?
red arrow   What types of research projects are ongoing or have been done in the recent past?
red arrow   Are all projects funded at the same level, or is each project funded based on prospective cost?
red arrow   How long does a fellowship last?
red arrow   Must visiting fellows relocate to Washington, DC, to work?
red arrow   What's the best way to find a suitable project?
red arrow   What does the fellowship funding cover?
red arrow   How do I apply?
red arrow   Where can I find more information?
red arrow   Who has participated in the visiting fellows program?

Who is eligible?

Applicants are limited to senior-level social science researchers and/or statisticians in the fields of statistics, survey methodology, mathematics, criminology, demography, economics, behavioral science, and other related fields. Applicants should have an established research record in their field and considerable expertise in their area of proposed research. Applicants must be willing to commit a substantial portion of their time (typically 6 to 18 months) to undertake analyses of existing BJS data and produce a report that both summarizes their analyses and meets BJS publication and data quality standards.

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How are researchers and projects chosen?

Fellowship applications are awarded based on the qualifications of the applicant and the intrinsic value of the proposed research. When evaluating proposed research, BJS typically uses the following criteria to weigh project cost against anticipated output:

  • relevance of the research to the criminal justice field (research should address significant substantive issues facing the criminal justice system)
  • methodological validity of the proposed plan
  • rationale for analysis of BJS data (or BJS data in combination with other relevant local, state, or national data)
  • degree of interest that BJS or BJS data users might have in the topic
  • value relative to other ongoing research (the possibility of exploiting, expanding, or enhancing the value of other studies)
  • validity of the application’s problem statement and whether the proposal is reasonable, understandable, and consistent with the current solicitation.

For more information about the selection process and specific requirements for applications, please review the annual solicitations on the BJS website. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact BJS prior to applying to discuss their research concepts.

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What types of research projects are ongoing or have been done in the recent past?

Current projects include—

  • researching issues related to the National Criminal Victimization Survey (NCVS) screening process and development of a modular crime incident report
  • addressing repeat victimization measured by the NCVS
  • developing weighting and record-linking methods to improve the use of National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) data for statistical purposes.

Past projects include—

  • comparing crime and justice in England and the United States
  • developing graphical and geographical methods for analyzing criminal justice data
  • investigating how different police departments classify assaults and homicides for statistical purposes
  • describing differences in punishment cross-nationally with special emphasis on the use of incarceration
  • creating easy-to-use, incident-based police datasets for analysis of diverse topics related to crime.

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Are all projects funded at the same level, or is each project funded based on prospective cost?

The total award for a BJS visiting fellowship ranges from about $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the project requirements. Indirect costs may be allowable. BJS may award one or more BJS visiting fellows under a solicitation. All awards are subject to the availability of appropriated funds and any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law.

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How long does a fellowship last?

Fellowship appointments typically range from 6 to 18 months, but may extend beyond 18 months, depending on project requirements. Appointment terms are flexible and can be full-time, part-time, or split into multiple terms. Applicants should specify approximate dates for proposed projects.

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Must visiting fellows relocate to Washington, DC, to work?

No, there is flexibility regarding work and travel arrangements. BJS visiting fellows may, at their discretion, work on-site at BJS for the duration of their project or make occasional visits to accommodate their schedules. Travel expenses may be allowed to make site visits with other BJS or OJP staff, to attend conferences and meetings (both local and outside of the Washington Metropolitan Area), and to participate in training. While in Washington, fellows have the benefit of access to BJS staff and an office space as well as the bureau's rich array of datasets and software. Further, some BJS datasets can only be accessed on site.

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What's the best way to find a suitable project?

Possible projects are identified in the solicitation for the fiscal year of the fellowship. In addition, applicants may want to contact BJS staff before submitting a proposal to identify a mutually agreeable project and discuss how to best focus their work to meet BJS research needs. Although not required, this early collaboration is very helpful in ensuring that the proposed project effectively addresses the complexities often encountered in BJS data. Please note, such a consultation does not guarantee, in any way, that an application will be chosen. Applicants who want to know if their area of expertise might contribute to the work at BJS should email askBJS@usdoj.gov.

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What does the fellowship funding cover?

Budgets submitted for fellowships may include—

  • salary
  • benefits, such as life, health, and disability insurance; state workers’ compensation; retirement plan; FICA; and a public transportation stipend that does not exceed $125.00 monthly (based on actual expenses)
  • travel to make site visits with other BJS or OJP staff, to attend conferences and meetings (both local and outside of the Washington Metropolitan Area), and to participate in training, including per diem expenses within the limitation of federal regulations
  • indirect costs, if the applicant has an indirect rate approval with the federal government.

Budgets may not include—

  • computer hardware or software (these are provided while at BJS)
  • books or other reference materials
  • fees for dissemination of research
  • per diem expenses for meals and incidentals when traveling to Washington, DC.

In addition, fellows have access to resources at BJS, including technical support and library facilities, in-house databases and computer facilities, a laptop computer or stationary workstation, and statistical software. Limited funds are available to accommodate specialized needs for software and hardware. Salaries are commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits, travel, and relocation support are negotiable.

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How do I apply?

BJS Visiting Fellows Program is announced in a solicitation made available on the Funding page.  The solicitation contains more information about the application deadline, where to send your application, specific application requirements, and the selection process.

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Where can I find more information?

If you are interested in the program or have additional questions, send an email to askBJS@usdoj.gov. In the subject of the email specify, BJS Visiting Fellows Program.

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Who has participated in the visiting fellows program?

BJS has four current visiting fellows:
  • KiDeuk Kim, senior research associate in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute
  • Megan Kurlychek, Ph.D., associate professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, SUNY
  • Heather Warnken, J.D., LL.M., a visiting fellow working across BJS and the Office for Victims of Crime
  • Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D., associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University


Brief Biography and Project Description
KiDeuk Kim KiDeuk Kim
KiDeuk Kim is a senior research associate in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he leads multidisciplinary research teams to examine issues related to criminal justice interventions and policies. His research at BJS focuses on improving recidivism estimates in administrative data and examining the lifelong involvement of young offenders in the criminal justice system. Before joining Urban, he was a senior researcher for the state of New York, providing strategic planning and research oversight for numerous task forces on criminal justice issues.

Megan Kurlychek, Ph.D. Megan Kurlychek, Ph.D.
Megan Kurlychek is an associate professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, SUNY. She has worked at the University of South Carolina, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, the Pennsylvania State Senate, and the National Center for Juvenile Justice. Throughout her career, Megan has maintained a focus on juvenile delinquency and justice and the collateral consequences of living with a formal criminal record. Her research has been published in the field's top journals, and she has previously received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice. Her work with BJS focuses on recidivism and assessing the immediate and longer-term outcomes of juveniles processed and sentenced in adult courts as well as how state policies and different statistical approaches may alter research findings.

Heather Warnken, J.D., LL.M. Heather Warnken, J.D., LL.M.
Heather Warnken is a visiting fellow working across BJS and the Office for Victims of Crime in the first-ever fellowship designed to improve the use, dissemination, and translation of statistical data and social science findings for the crime victim assistance field. Prior to coming to BJS, she has served since 2011 as a legal policy associate at the Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. While at the Warren Institute, she led multidisciplinary projects using research and collaborative partnerships to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice, including two statewide needs assessments on how to improve access to services and compensation for underserved victims of crime. She also worked with the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department to develop policies and procedures to improve outcomes for youth. She served as law clerk to the Honorable Joseph F. Murphy, Jr., Court of Appeals of Maryland, has provided pro bono direct legal services in domestic violence and child welfare-related matters, and was a 2015 Women's Foundation of California Criminal Justice Fellow. She holds an LL.M. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D.
Christopher Wildeman is an associate professor of policy analysis and management (PAM) in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, where he is also co-director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) and a faculty fellow at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR), the Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI), Court-Kay-Bauer Hall, and the Cornell Population Center (CPC). His research at BJS involves considering variations in the incarceration-mortality relationship by state and institution type. Since 2015, he has also been a senior researcher at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Christopher was an assistant professor of sociology, a faculty fellow at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE), and a resident fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) at Yale University. From 2008 to 2010, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan. He has a Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Princeton University.

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Other recent BJS fellows

(Affiliation at time of fellowship)

Professor Janet L. Lauritsen
Associate Professor
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice 
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Project: Examining the methodological history of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

Professor David P. Farrington
Lecturer in Criminology at Cambridge University
Former President of the British Society of Criminology
President-elect of the American Society of Criminology
Project: Comparison of crime and justice in England and the U.S.

Professor Michael D. Maltz
Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois
Editor of Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Project: Development of graphical and geographical methods for analyzing criminal justice data

Professor James A. Fox
Dean of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University
Project: Investigating how different police departments classify assaults and homicides for statistical purposes

Professor James P. Lynch
Associate Professor
Department of Justice, Law and Society
American University
Project: Describing differences in punishment cross-nationally with special emphasis on the use of incarceration

Professor Roland J. Chilton
Department of Sociology
University of Massachusetts
Project: Create easy-to-use incident-based police datasets for analysis of diverse topics related to crime


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