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Criminal Justice Research Center Seed Funding Mechanism

Request For Proposals (RFP) Due Date: November 20, 2020

Award Announcements: December, 2020

CJRC Proposal Submission Form 

Financial support range: $500 - $5,000 (or one faculty course buyout)

The CJRC provides financial and other resources to support the development of high quality criminal justice research at PSU. The center also provides consultation on proposal development. Our proposal review process is evaluative (we seek excellent proposals for funding) and developmental (we assist faculty members in initiating research programs that will build their careers and eventually attract external funding). The success of center-affiliated faculty in winning external funding provides the resource foundation for a sustainable seed grant program. 

The CJRC seed funding mechanism is primarily designed to assist PSU faculty (including Commonwealth Campuses) to pursue external funding by (1) buying out an investigator’s time, (2) supporting project-specific research meetings or workshops, (3) providing research personnel support (CJRC, Graduate, and Undergraduate wages and salaries), (4) collecting pilot data, and (5) other research-related activities in the areas of criminal justice and criminology. Although we encourage interdisciplinary and intercollegiate collaborations, our priority is on developing projects within the College of the Liberal Arts (CLA) at University Park. For this reason, we also encourage proposed projects to use CJRC resources (i.e., research assistants, administrative support) or have at least one investigator who is faculty with a continuing appointment in CLA.

  • Seed fund proposals range from $500-$5,000 or the amount of one course buyout at a standard internal rate (i.e., $7,500). For course buyout requests, investigators should seek approval from their unit heads prior to proposal submission.
  • Seed fund proposals should be short (2-3 pages) and may be submitted (1) in response to yearly CJRC Requests for Proposals or (2) at other times provided a specific need or funding opportunity.
  • The CJRC Director, Managing and Associate Directors, center-affiliated faculty, and advisory board members are potential reviewers for these proposals and typically provide feedback within 2 months.
  • Funds are typically allocated for a 6-12 month period.

Seed funds are intended to provide support for:

  • Development of new, innovative research projects
  • Creation of agency partnerships
  • Support for project meetings or workshops (including travel)
  • Research assistant time (CJRC, Graduate, and Undergraduate)
  • Paying outside consultants
  • Small pilot studies

Seed funds are NOT intended to support:

  • Expenditures generally made by departments and colleges (e.g., travel to professional conferences)
  • Delivery of outreach programs or services without an evaluation component
  • Fund requests for meals and snacks should be kept to a minimum
  • Student projects (masters, dissertation research) NOTE: The CJRC has a separate funding stream for graduate research support and undergraduate wages

Criteria for Review

  • Priority is placed on new ideas that are directly relevant to CJRC themes (Courts and Sentencing, Corrections and Re-Entry, Treatment and Rehabilitation, and Public Safety and Crime Prevention) or agency partners
  • A well-articulated plan of activities that promises progress toward external funding
  • Teams comprised of investigators who range in seniority and experience
  • Proposals must provide evidence for access to the population of interest and/or criminal justice agency monitoring that population
  • Proposals must make a clear contribution to a criminal justice domain

Structure and Submission of Proposals

Proposals must be submitted as one document via email to To complete your proposal submission, you must download, complete, and email the forms below:

CJRC Proposal Submission Form 

On those occasions where proposed research will involve either primary data collection or the use of secondary data, investigators are expected to prepare and submit the appropriate requests for IRB approval of research involving human or animal participants (whichever is appropriate to the project).

Project Reporting

Investigators will be expected to reply to an annual online project status update, which includes external funding (sought and awarded) and publication products. These efforts allow us to track and report outcomes as well as monitor the successfulness of our seed grant program. Awardees are also expected to list “Penn State Criminal Justice Center seed grant support” in publication acknowledgment statements.

If you need to make changes to the project team, description, design, or budget during the course of your projects, please send a request to with the details of these changes.