J-RIG Offers Rapid Response Research Grants for Studies of Addiction Treatment in Justice-Related Settings

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You have a great idea for a new study related to the treatment of opioid addiction, but the thought of writing a proposal that might not be funded for months is daunting. Or, you would like to have some seed money to do a pilot study before facing the large grant application. JCOIN’s Rapid Innovation Grant program (J-RIG) is here for just such a dilemma.

J-RIG facilitates and, importantly, accelerates research on policies and practices affecting individuals in the criminal justice system. J-RIG provides researchers with quickly approved, small grants targeting new efforts to address prevention and treatment of addiction in justice, or justice-related, settings. Applicants may request up to $110,000 for a study of 6 months to 2 years.

J-RIG is the latest initiative funded through the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network—JCOIN— a program within the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, a collaborative effort to provide scientific solutions to the opioid crisis.

The goals of J-RIG, said JCOIN director Faye Taxman, “are to fund research that will create quick changes, leading to higher quality care. We see a desperate need to speed up the pace of change while maintaining scientific and academic excellence…We are seeking to support innovation and ideas that are often mired in bureaucracy and paperwork.” Decisions on funding are typically made in 90 days.

Two J-RIG grants have been approved and are underway.

  • In Vermont, researchers at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine are undertaking a statewide evaluation of how medications are used for opioid use disorder among those in the state’s correctional facilities, as well as studying the effects of COVID-19 on incarcerated populations. Assistant Professor Elias Klemperer at the university’s Vermont Center on Behavior and Health in the Department of Psychiatry is leading that program.
  • Washington, D.C.-based Rulo Strategies LLC, along with Wayne State University and the National Center for State Courts, is examining the effects of COVID-19 remote treatment teleservices in judicially led diversion programs. The national study will look at how courts use telehealth services. Rulo Strategies is led by Tara Kunkel.

While opioids are a key priority for J-RIG projects, applications may focus more broadly on other substance use issues, particularly substances associated with overdose and overdose mortality. Projects should have direct relevance to individuals who are justice-involved, but need not take place within justice settings. Those applying for grants may come from universities, nonprofit organizations, or private businesses.

J-RIG funding is available three times per year, with the call for proposals available January 5, March 20, and July 1. Typically, one project is funded in each funding cycle. Applications for the March 20 funding cycle are due May 6. Funding is open to those who work in research, policy, and practice settings. These studies will provide opportunities to learn about local initiatives, policy changes, or practice improvement efforts. For more information, contact jcpilot@gmu.edu.

At George Mason University, the Coordination and Translation Center for JCOIN is managed by the 10-year-old Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence, ACE!, at Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government. ACE! is led by Schar School professor Faye Taxman and Danielle Rudes, an associate professor in Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law, and Society.