U.S. Department of Justice

Application Review Process

Applications for cooperative agreement awards are reviewed by a team of Institute staff members and are subsequently approved or disapproved by the Director of the National Institute of Corrections. Four categories of criteria are used in reviewing applications: programmatic, organizational, project management, and financial/administrative.

Among the specific criteria used to evaluate the applications are:
  • Indication of a clear understanding of the problem to be addressed, the key issues underlying the problem, and the relevance of the proposed project;
  • Well-defined project objectives, tasks, and resources necessary to meet the objectives;
  • Technical soundness of the design and methodology for achieving the project goals;
  • Description of all elements and tasks of the project;
  • Realistic time frames necessary to complete the tasks;
  • Background, experience, and expertise of the proposed project staff, including any subcontractors;
  • Sufficient and realistic time commitments from key project staff;
  • Reputation or recognized skill of the applicant organization and any proposed subcontractors;
  • Financial and administrative integrity of the proposal, including adherence to federal financial guidelines and processes;
  • Adequate detail and narrative about the cost elements in the proposed budget;
  • Provisions for adequate evaluation of the effectiveness of the project; and
  • Potential for using the results of the project in other undertakings or programs.
Once the formal application has been received, a decision is normally made within 90 days.