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Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholars Program

Scholarship Program for USA Law
Enforcement Officers to Conduct Research

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) - Office of Justice Programs (OJP) - National Institute of Justice (NIJ), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and RAND Corporation

Deadline Date:

05/03/21 11:59 PM ET


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Scholarships to USA mid-career law enforcement officers to conduct research and engage in career development opportunities. The scholarship is intended to allow participants to attend conferences, summer program sessions, and collaborative brainstorming events. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to present research and findings at law enforcement conferences and be published in practitioner-focused journals.

The intent of the program is two-fold:

  1. Strengthen the Scholars as researchers and strengthen the use of research and evidence-based practices in policing
  2. Build the next generation of police leaders who champion these practices in their agencies. 

NIJ LEADS scholars are pioneers in the evidence-based policing movement and present and publish frequently about their research and findings. The LEADS Scholars program offers immeasurable benefits both to both scholars and their agencies. The program provides officers with professional development, mentorship, and networking opportunities, and NIJ provides editorial support in publishing and promoting research.

The LEADS scholarship is a three-year commitment, and officers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of other activities and take advantage of other available resources, including:

  • Programming at the IACP Annual Conference, beyond the expected participation in the pre-conference meeting  and orientation day discussed above, including:
    • A dedicated LEADS program roundtable with NIJ and IACP leadership to discuss priorities in policing research.
    • Attendance at and potential participation in the NIJ Saturday Session, "What Works and What Matters in Policing."
    • Participation in the IACP Research Advisory Committee meeting and the newly formed IACP research section.
  • Additional training opportunities provided around the LEADS Summer Session, held in and around Washington, DC.
  • Collaborative brainstorming events between LEADS Scholars, Academics, Civilians; NIJ science staff; RAND; the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), and IACP.   
  • Opportunities to present research and findings at law enforcement conferences and be published in practitioner-focused magazines and journals.
  • Participation in professional development activities hosted by the IACP.
  • Integration into an online community of practice moderated by the IACP connecting both active Scholars and alumni, and acting as a repository for participant information sharing related to research in policing.
  • Participation in peer review of research applications submitted to NIJ.
  • Technical assistance on projects (e.g., improving data collection and analysis, integrating existing research into policies and practices, designing research projects) of their own choosing. During their three-year LEADS commitment, Scholars may request assistance from the LEADS supporting organizations through IACP’s online community of practice. 
  • LEADS Program participants are also provided with a free PERF membership for the duration of their LEADS scholarship (3 years) and opportunities to attend and participate in PERF conferences.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183567

Number of Grants:

10 scholarships are awarded annually.

Estimated Size of Grant:

NIJ covers all travel, accommodation, and per diem costs associated with the LEADS Scholars program.

Term of Contract:

The LEADS scholarship is a three-year commitment.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

LEADS Scholars must be mid-career, sworn law enforcement officers working full-time in a law enforcement agency in the United States. Scholars must have demonstrated experience advancing the police profession through science. This may be in the form of partnering with researchers, independently conducting their own research, or infusing research into policies and practices. The ideal candidate will be in a position to impact policy and practice in their agency.

Tribal law enforcement officers who meet the application criteria for LEADS Scholars are encouraged to apply. Federal law enforcement active in tribal jurisdictions (e.g., Bureau of Indian Affairs Police Services) will also be considered.

The LEADS Scholars program acknowledges that all participants are working full-time as sworn law enforcement officers, and the program is designed to be flexible and dependent on the capacity of the Scholar and the demands of their agency.

This program does not include direct funding to support original research. However, LEADS Scholars will regularly be exposed to multiple federal resources and programs with relevance to your agency, including such entities as the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

Pre-Application Information:

All applications must be received by May 3, 2021, 11:59 pm ET.

LEADS Scholars are expected to attend two meetings that require travel away from their agency: the annual IACP Conference, including a pre-conference LEADS meeting and discussion (4-5 days) and the NIJ Summer Session in Washington DC (2-3 days). NIJ covers the cost of all travel and per diem associated with these events.

Contact Information:

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

Submit applications to

Direct questions to the main NIJ number at 202-307-2942.

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

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