Each month, the Office of Sponsored Programs will spotlight a different PI and their research. If you are interested in being featured in our next spotlight, please email Please be sure to provide us with an abstract (3-5 paragraphs) about your research, explanation of your recent project, the amount your project (s) were funded for, special events that you are hosting or coordinating, obstacles or challenges you faced during the application process, if applicable, and a photo of yourself.   

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Mangai Natarajan, PhD
Professor, Department of Criminal Justice

John Jay College of  Criminal Justice

Mangai Natarajan, is a Professor at the department of Criminal Justice and a core faculty member of the CRJ PhD Program, CUNY Graduate Center. She has played a significant role in building the International Criminal Justice program at John Jay, the first BA degree program of its kind in the world and dedicated herself to teaching many hundreds of young vibrant students from diverse backgrounds who are aspiring for global justice.  She is an award-winning scholar in the areas of international/comparative research, environmental criminology, and crime analysis, improving policing for women and domestic violence.

Dr. Natarajan is a criminologist and crime scientist, has 30 years of experience in studying various forms of gender-based violence with a life mission to finding solutions to problems that many victims face worldwide. She is a widely published and an active policy-oriented researcher. In 2014, she served as an international consultant to the UK Vodafone Foundation in evaluating the experience of the London Metropolitan Police Service in using TECSOS mobile phone technology to improve its responses to domestic violence. The study findings indicated that TECSOS activations reduced the risk of repeat victimization and resulted in victim protection and empowerment and demonstrated wider cost-saving public benefits. More recently (2020-2021), as a special advisor, she assisted in conceptualizing the digital technology and in preparing the contents for the Progressive Web Application for an United Nations Development Programme funded multi agency project to FUSADES, an NGO in El Salvador for building a violence-free public transport environment for women.

In Fall 2020, Dr. Natarajan served as the Technical Lead of nodal NSF I-Corps (NYCRIN) cohort. In March 2021, she received the NSF I-Corps TM grant ($50,000) after her successful application as the PI with a project agenda to find digital solutions for preventing interpersonal violence and to obtain an extensive real-world, hands-on, immersive learning about what it takes to successfully transfer knowledge into products and processes that benefit society especially developing digital solutions to preventing Intimate Partner Violence. For her I-Corps trainings, her team included Ms. Dhanya Babu, a John Jay/Graduate Center PhD student, as the Entrepreneurial Lead; and Raj Bhargav, a professor at Stanford University, and Anand Sahasram, Chief Data Officer at Dodge & Cox, as Industrial Mentors. Recently (August 2021), Natarajan received another NSF grant for collaborative research with Dr. Irvin-Erickson at George Mason University (a total award of $343,241 which $194,005 was awarded to John Jay) to lead a study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on victimization risk and the service needs for domestic violence victims and survivors to identify nationwide proactive and protective interventions. Dr. Irvin-Erickson and Dr. Natarajan have a successful collaboration history. In 2017, Dr. Irvin-Erickson and her research team (including Dr. Natarajan) were selected among 10 teams worldwide in recognition of their work in response to gender-based violence to receive the prestigious World Bank Development Marketplace Innovation Award. The team developed a mobile survey application to crowdsource real-time data on transit users’ experiences and fear of violence in public transportation. A unique contribution of their current collaborative NSF study is the integration of a multidisciplinary theoretical framework, including contemporary criminological, epidemiological, public health, and service advocacy perspectives and the use of Rapid Assessment Methodology, an indispensable tool in situations like COVID-19 pandemic times.

Dr. Natarajan has published widely in the areas of drug trafficking, women police, gender-based violence, crime analysis, crime prevention and international crime and justice. She is an expert on cross cultural comparative research including many forms of violence against women and policing, including her recent book (2019) International and Transnational Crime and Justice. She has received the Gerhard O.W. Mueller Award for her distinguished contributions to international criminal justice by the International Division of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (2021); Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis (2017) Award at Escuela Superior de Economia y Negocios, San Salvador, El Salvador; John Jay’s Senior Scholar Award (2014) and Scholarly Excellence Award (2012); and Excellence Research Award for Improving Policing for Women by Australasian Council of Women and Policing and Law Council of Australia (2013).