Grant Funding

Grant opportunities for DNA sample tracking solutions

The grant process

Grant opportunities from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) are released annually. The application window for these grants generally lasts six to eight weeks from the posting date, with deadlines in the April-May timeframe. After a grant application is submitted to BJA for consideration, it goes through a formal review process, and successful applicants typically receive notification of award no later than September 30th. Grant funds generally become available for use in January of the following year, though this timeline is subject to change.

While it may be difficult to predict your needs in 12 months when responding to these grant opportunities, careful thought and planning can help you to prepare a successful application and budget. Keep in mind that grant funds can only be used for the Permissible Uses of Funds described in each grant solicitation. By adhering to these criteria, you have a good chance of securing grant funding for your laboratory.

Closed grant opportunities

Please note the two-step process for Department of Justice funding applications:
Funding applications are submitted in a new two-step process, each with its own deadline. Applicants begin the application process by submitting an SF-424 and SF-LLL within Grants.gov. The application information and forms are then transferred to the Justice Grants System (JustGrants) and will automatically appear for the applicant in JustGrants. The applicant can then submit the full application, including attachments, in JustGrants.

2021 National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)

Grants.gov application deadline: June 22, 2021 | 11:59 PM
JustGrants application deadline: July 6, 2021 | 11:59 PM

STACS Casework sample tracking and control software and the Track-Kit sexual assault kit tracking system are eligible for Purpose Area 1 funding under this grant.

Key Points

  • Purpose Area 1– In addition to testing previously unsubmitted SAKs, applicants may also request funds in support of the following activities:
    • Testing of SAKs and related evidence, to include outsourcing kits for testing and technical review of data/results, as well as tracking and reporting of performance metrics. If an applicant has already tested more than 75 percent of its SAKs, funding may be used to perform additional DNA testing including:
      • Y STR testing
      • Testing of secondary evidence
      • Familial DNA searches
      • Forensic genealogy searches
      • Phenotyping/ancestral analysis
  • Purpose Area 2 is specifically for small agencies with fewer than 250 sworn officers.
  • Purpose Area 3 focuses on the collection of lawfully-owed DNA from convicted offenders to help with SAKI investigations and prosecutions.
  • Purpose Area 4 is specifically for the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults. To receive this funding, applicants must clearly demonstrate their jurisdiction(s) has previously addressed, or is currently effectively addressing, the major issues associated with unsubmitted SAKs.

2021 Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence – Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting

This grant may be used for the Track-Kit sexual assault kit tracking system. Under this competitive program, projects may be funded that meet the three tasks listed in the solicitation. A review of the grant solicitation indicates that Track-Kit meets and exceeds the requirements listed under all three tasks: Inventory, Tracking and Reporting:

  • Task 1 – Inventory: “a detailed and descriptive list of articles or items (for purposes of this solicitation, SAKs) containing information such as, but not limited to, item identifiers, quantity, and location of the item.”
  • Task 2 – Tracking:  “the monitoring and accounting of SAKs through the course, or path, of their movement from collection through final disposition.”
  • Task 3 – Reporting: “the task of delivering a written report to the appropriate entity within the prescribed time period and with the applicable data provided.”

Key points:

  • Track-Kit provides a method to inventory all SAKs statewide (tested and untested)
  • Track-Kit tracks SAKs from the time of collection by a medical facility through to final disposition of the case
  • Track-Kit provides many reporting metrics, which include those outlined in the Performance Metrics listed on page 20 of the FY 2020 solicitation
  • Current users have leveraged this grant opportunity to purchase Track-Kit for their state

2021 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program 

The purchase or upgrade of a DNA module, such as STACS Casework or STACS Database, is identified as a permissible use of funds under the Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) heading in the current CEBR solicitation (Item 11, Page 11 of the solicitation). For the purpose of this solicitation, a DNA module is defined as “a sample/case tracking component separate from the laboratory’s LIMS that functions only for the purposes of the forensic biology/DNA unit. NOTE: The module may be a product of the same, or a different, vendor as the laboratory’s current LIMS.”

Key points

  • The following are allowed for funding:
    • The purchase and install of DNA modules to existing LIMS
      • STACS Casework is permissible as it is defined as a DNA module, not a LIMS
    • License upgrades to STACS software
    • Software upgrades for an existing DNA module
    • Contracts for annual maintenance and service contracts, as well as licensing agreements for users in the forensic biology/DNA section of the laboratory
    • Additional barcode scanners and printers
  • Current clients have purchased STACS software using CEBR grant funds in past years
  • STACS Casework software integrates with any commercial/ in-house LIMS and features electronic case accessibility, allowing users to work remotely more efficiently
  • Implementations are typically completed in approximately nine months

For more information

To discuss how STACS DNA’s solutions can address your laboratory’s efficiency, capacity, and backlog reduction needs, contact Tim Stacy at 1-877-774-7822 ext 2002.