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?|
|How are researchers and projects chosen?|
|What types of research projects are ongoing or have been done in the recent past?|
|Are all projects funded at the same level, or is each project funded based on prospective cost?|
|How long does a fellowship last?|
|Must visiting fellows relocate to Washington, DC, to work?|
|What's the best way to find a suitable project?|
|What does the fellowship funding cover?|
|How do I apply?|
|Where can I find more information?|
|Who has participated in the visiting fellows program?|
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.
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:
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.
Current projects include—
Past projects include—
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.
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.
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.
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.
Budgets submitted for fellowships may include—
Budgets may not include—
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.
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.
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.
|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 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.
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
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
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
Senior Research Associate
Justice Policy Center
The Urban Institute
Project: Examining methods to measure the recidivism of youthful offenders
Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D.
College of Human Ecology
Project: Reviewing variations in the incarceration-mortality relationship by state and institution type