Center of Excellence Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis

Funding Agency:
Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP) is requesting applications from U.S. colleges and universities to lead a consortium of universities for a Center for Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA). OUP is also posting a separate NOFO for eligible applicants to submit single project proposals for consideration as a partner to this Center of Excellence (COE). Please see NOFO Number DHS-16-ST-061-CINA-Partner or 97.061 on for directions on how to submit single project proposals. 

DHS will select qualified individual projects from applications received for either the Center Lead NOFO or the Center Partner NOFO, regardless of the institution that is awarded as lead institution. 

The DHS COEs are university consortia that work closely with DHS Components and their partners to conduct research, develop and transition mission-relevant science and technology, educate the next generation of homeland security technical experts, and train the current workforce in the latest scientific applications. Each COE is led by a U.S. college or university and involves multiple partners for varying lengths of time. COE partners include other academic institutions, industry, DHS components, Department of Energy National Laboratories and other Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), other federal agencies that have homeland security-relevant missions, state/local/tribal governments, non-profits, and first responder organizations. DHS envisions the COEs as long-term trusted academic partners that provide an array of resources to help DHS and its partners achieve their missions, and improve their operations. OUP maintains both financial assistance and contract mechanisms for DHS to access COE capabilities. The COEs that make up the COE network are listed at The new Center will be a fully-integrated component of the COE network and will take advantage of the network's resources to develop mission-critical research, education, and technology transition programs. 

It is critical for university applicants to understand the roles and requirements of being a COE lead institution before submitting an application. The DHS COEs are university consortia that work closely with each other and with DHS Offices and Components and their partners to conduct research, develop and transition mission-relevant science and technology, educate the next generation of homeland security technical experts, and train the current workforce in the latest scientific applications. DHS COEs operate using a unique research management approach where researchers work alongside operational and decision-making personnel to explore opportunities to use science and technology to enhance capabilities in line with DHS’ mission. The skill sets required to make a COE successful are more extensive than research expertise alone. COEs need to have an ability and a commitment to communicate frequently with a variety of actors from federal staff, to attorneys, to university administrators. COE teams should include experts in finance, project management, education, training, outreach and marketing, intellectual property management, technology development, and technology transfer. Applicants should also have an understanding of how to translate research to practice including licensing, the ability to work with transition partners, and an understanding of federal acquisition. The COE team must demonstrate their commitment to develop a long-term trust-based partnership between universities and federal agencies; to do that, this wide range of skills is essential. 

The Center for Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA) will conduct end user-focused research to enhance investigation strategies to address transnational criminal organizations’ (TCO) activities and other homeland security-related crimes. This Center of Excellence (COE) will also provide education and professional development to improve the cost-effectiveness of criminal investigations, prosecution, prediction and prevention. The overarching goal of the Center will be to develop methods, tools, knowledge-products, and technology-based solutions for agents, officers and investigators to better coordinate investigative strategies with on-the-ground activities to predict, thwart and prosecute these crimes. 

  • Duke Internal Deadline: July 18, 2016
  • Sponsor Deadline: September 1, 2016

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Theme Area 1: Criminal Network Analysis

  • Topic 1A: Characteristics of Criminal Networks
  • Topic 1B: Interdependencies and Linkages
  • Topic 1C: Influences and Other Impacts
  • Topic 1D: Illicit Supply and Value Chains

Theme Area 2: Dynamic Patterns of Criminal Activity

  • Topic 2A: Crime Trend Analysis Topic
  • 2B: Crime Mapping

Theme Area 3: Forensics

  • Topic 3A: Traditional Forensics
  • Topic 3B: Digital Forensics

Theme Area 4: Criminal Investigative Processes

  • Topic 4A: Managing Data across Multiple Platforms/Analyzing Unstructured Data
  • Topic 4B: Measures of Effectiveness

Theme Area 5: The Future of Law Enforcement Investigations (OPTIONAL)

Eligibility Requirements

The Center Lead designation is restricted to an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, in accordance with 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(A) which specifies: "The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, shall designate a university-based center or several university-based centers for homeland security." 

DHS will accept only one (1) application for Center Lead from any single university for review. Proposals must be submitted by an accredited U.S. institution of higher education that, along with its chosen partners, has the ability and capacity to conduct the required research. The applicant institution must be identified as the official lead for proposal submission and subsequent negotiations. 

Amount Description

There are two funding opportunities associated with the Center Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA) award: (1) one for Center Lead (DHS-16-ST-061-CINALead) and (2) one for Center Partner (DHS-16-ST-061-CINA-Partner). Subject to availability of funds, DHS estimates that a total of up to $4 million per year will be available for funding the Center and all direct and indirect costs for the selected Center lead and Partner applications. DHS does not guarantee any total amount of annual or cumulative funding. 

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

June 18, 2016

External Deadline

September 1, 2016