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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What does the fellowship funding cover?
Budgets submitted for fellowships may include—
- benefits, such as life, health, and disability insurance; state workers’ compensation; retirement plan; FICA; and a publictransportation 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.
How do I apply?
Respond to the solicitation located on the Funding tab of the BJS website. The solicitation contains more information about the application deadline, where to send your application, specific application requirements, and the selection process.
Where can I find more information?
For more information, select the Funding tab on the BJS website or email askBJS@usdoj.gov.
- BJS has four current visiting fellows: Lynn A. Addington, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Justice, Law and Society at American University, Washington, D.C.
- Avinash Bhati, Ph.D., Founding President of Maxarth, LLC
- Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, and affiliated member of the Division of Substance Dependence, University of Colorado School of Medicine
- Janet L. Lauritsen, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri - St. Louis
Brief Biography and Project Description
Lynn Addington, Ph.D.
Lynn A. Addington is an associate professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. She earned her Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University at Albany, State University of New York and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her research focuses on violent victimization with an emphasis on adolescents and school environments, as well as the measurement of crime and utilization of national crime statistics. Professor Addington has worked with the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education on their efforts to collect victimization data. Her recent publications have appeared in outlets including the American Behavioral Scientist, Homicide Studies, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, and the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. She is the co-editor (with James P. Lynch) of a volume of original research entitled Understanding Crime Statistics: Revisiting the Divergence of the NCVS and UCR (2007, Cambridge University Press).
Avinash Bhati, Ph.D.
Avinash Bhati, Ph.D., is the founding president of Maxarth LLC. He has over ten years of experience conducting applied empirical research addressing challenging public policy questions. Mr. Bhati earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the American University (Washington, D.C.) in 2001 and has since successfully led several research efforts supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, the American Statistical Association, and several foundations. He has consulted with several universities, research organizations, and practitioners. Mr. Bhati is the author of numerous articles and reports. His multi-disciplinary work can be found in such publications as Criminology, Econometric Reviews, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Sociological Methodology, and Criminal Justice Policy Review. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, MS
Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and an affiliated member of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is a visiting fellow at BJS working on analyzing data on deaths in prisons from the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program. Her research will provide critical information on morbidity and mortality in prisons that can be used to justify policies and interventions to improve the health outcomes of persons involved with the criminal justice system. Dr. Binswanger received an MS at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MD from the University of California, San Francisco, where she also completed a Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency. She received her MPH during fellowship training in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington. Her research has focused on improving health outcomes among individuals involved with the criminal justice system and preventing the medical complications of drug use. In particular, she has sought to understand and find ways to prevent overdose and other poor health outcomes during the transition from prison to the community. She has published research in the New England Journal of Medicine and other leading medical journals.
Janet Lauritsen, Ph.D.
Janet L. Lauritsen is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Illinois in 1989. Professor Lauritsen has published more than 45 peer reviewed articles and book chapters on the topics of crime and victimization. Her research expertise is primarily focused on the social distribution of victimization and its consequences, and the methods of measuring crime and victimization. Her current research includes estimating and understanding long-term trends in violence against women and men, developing estimates of period effects on individuals’ risk for violence, and assessing whether the significance of social correlates of victimization varies over time. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the American Statistical Association, and most recently, by the National Science Foundation.
Professor Lauritsen has served on several national review panels for the National Academy of Sciences including the Committee on National Statistics Panel to Review the Programs of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2007-2008), the Workshop on Understanding Crime Trends (2007-2008), and the Panel to Review Police Policy and Practice (2000-2003). She has served as Executive Counselor for the American Society of Criminology (2004-2007), Chair of the American Statistical Association’s Committee on Law and Justice Statistics (2004-2006), and Research Fellow to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002-2004, 2005-2006). She is currently a member of the standing committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Law and Justice (Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education), and she serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Sociology, Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, and the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D.
Christopher Wildeman is an associate 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. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan. His research and teaching interests revolve around the consequences of mass imprisonment for inequality, with emphasis on families, health, and children. His forthcoming book Children of the Prison Boom (with Sara Wakefield, Oxford University Press) considers the consequences of mass imprisonment for inequality among children. Some of his other recent publications have appeared in American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Criminology and Public Policy, Demography, JAMA, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Social Forces. His research at the Bureau of Justice Statistics involves considering variations in the incarceration-mortality relationship by state and institution type.
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Professor Janet L. Lauritsen
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
Past 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
Department of Justice, Law and Society
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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If you are interested in the program or have additional questions, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject of the e-mail specify BJS Visiting Fellows Program. If you are interested in pursuing an application,
summarize in 100 words or less what you would be interested in doing as a visiting fellow. Researchers whose interests match those of BJS would then be invited to make application.