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Data Visualization Challenge: Using Data to Improve Justice

Competition for USA & Territories Residents, Others
for Criminal Justice Data Accessibility Applications

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

LOI Date:


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An opportunity for USA and territories legal residents (age 13 and above), businesses, and non-profits to compete for a total of $25,000 prize money for the development of an application to make criminal justice documents easily accessible to the public, researchers, and policymakers. Successful applicants of the initial, idea development phase, will be invited to continue to the second, creation phase.

In an effort to increase not only the transparency, but also the accessibility of valuable sources of government data, NIJ and BJS are seeking ideas for, and development of, data visualization applications. A well-developed data visualization product can make it easier for the public, researchers, and policymakers to understand the data. These applications should enhance public access to, and understanding of, criminal justice information in ways that will address current needs to access data in a readily understood format, from anywhere, at any time, from any device.

Drawing from a list of publicly available criminal justice datasets, contestants are asked to create an innovative approach for visualizing the data in a way that increases understanding, ensures broad access, and accounts for the complexities found within statistical data. Contestants are encouraged to develop solutions that are cost-effective, platform-independent, and publicly accessible. These solutions can take the form of infographics; dashboards; and static, or interactive, data visualizations. Applicants are encouraged to incorporate publicly available data from non-criminal justice sources when such data provide insight into justice system outcomes or crime-related phenomena.

All Challenge entries must demonstrate appropriate knowledge of applicable datasets and criminal justice concerns. Entries from law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners or researchers, public and private entities, research laboratories, startup companies, students, and others are encouraged.

The following provides a few examples of the type of criminal justice issues that could be explored and explained through data visualization in order to guide policymaking and public understanding:

* Criminal court case processing stages and time frames; differences by case type, court system and other factors; critical points of delay and decision-making.

* Relationship between the incidence of firearm assaults and other factors such as jurisdictional legal differences, demographics, socio-economic factors, etc.

* Information processing times in criminal justice system reporting and response situations (e.g., from citizen to 911 operator, from 911 operator to law enforcement officer, from GPS tracking device to protection order recipient), and the points of, and reasons for, delay or failure.

* Relationship between law enforcement officer shift length and on-the-job injury, assault, or citizen complaints.

* Money and information streams through criminal enterprises (e.g., stolen mobile devices; stolen vehicles; drugs; guns; laundering; contraband), points of potential law enforcement intervention.

* Systemwide costs of various crimes (e.g., property theft; violence against women; economic crimes; enforcement of illegal immigration; human and wildlife trafficking), identifying specific entities, agencies, and individuals that bear the costs.

Note: These topics are provided only as examples and meant to stimulate the development of new ideas. The list is not exhaustive nor does it reflect agency research priorities or indicate availability of existing data.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 148097

Number of Grants:

There will be five Phase ll winners.

Estimated Size of Grant:

First Prize: $8,000. Second Prize: $7,000. Third Prize: $5,000. Fourth Prize: $3,000. Fifth Prize: $2,000.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individual residents who are at least 13 years old at the time of entry.

Teams of eligible individuals.

Corporations or other legal entities (e.g., partnerships or nonprofit organizations).

Entries by contestants under the age of 18 must include the co-signature of the contestant’s parent or legal guardian.

Employees of NIJ, BJS, and individuals or entities listed on the Federal Excluded Parties list ( are not eligible to participate.

Employees of the Federal Government should consult with the Ethics Officer at their place of employment prior to submitting an entry for this Challenge. The Challenge is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations.

Pre-Application Information:

Important dates:
Phase I submission period: October 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015.
Phase I judging period: February 2, 2015 – April 30, 2015.
Phase I winners announced and Phase II invitations posted: May 1, 2015.
Phase II submission period: May 4, 2015 – August 3, 2015.
Phase II judging period: August 4, 2015 – September 30, 2015.
Phase II Winners Announced: October 15, 2015.

Contestants may submit or participate in the submission of more than one entry.

In the case of a team entry, the team will be considered a contestant and receive any prize money as a group. Subject to the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law, the contestants submitting the winning solution may be afforded the opportunity to participate in one or more related NIJ-sponsored events held subsequent to the Challenge contest.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Substantive Questions:

Technical Questions:
OJP Grants Management System (GMS) Help Desk, open Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM to midnight ET, except Federal holidays

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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