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Frequently-Asked General Questions about the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

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  1. It is so hard to findIt is so hard to find what you are looking for on the NIDILRR or ED.gov Website. Do you have a sitemap?
  2. What does NIDILRR stand for?
  3. When was NIDILRR created?
  4. What is NIDILRR's mission?
  5. Is there blueprint or long-range plan to describe its vision for the future?
  6. Is there one place that contains the laws, rules and regulations that NIDILRR and its grantees must follow?
  7. What does NIDILRR do?
  8. What can I expect if I choose to "donate my brain to science" and become a peer reviewer for NIDILRR?
  9. I am an individual and am looking for money to achieve a specific goal or purpose. Can NIDILRR help me?
  10. Do you have a basic guide that explains your programs and how to apply for them?
  11. Do you have a place like a "NIDILRR Program Central" where I can learn more about your programs?
  12. Does NIDILRR have FAQs for all of its programs in one place?
  13. What is NARIC and what can it do for me?
  14. Is there a device or product information database for people with disabilities?
  15. I have been hearing that NIDILRR is investing in "Knowledge Translation." What is it and where can I learn more about it?

1. It is so hard to findIt is so hard to find what you are looking for on the NIDILRR or ED.gov Website. Do you have a sitemap?

Yes. We have something even better than a sitemap. We have a complete guide to our site because we want you to understand how we put our Website together. You can read it online or can access a printer-friendly version.

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2. What does NIDILRR stand for?

NIDILRR stands for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

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3. When was NIDILRR created?

Created in 1978, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) is a national leader in sponsoring research. NIDILRR is located in Washington, D.C., and is one of three components of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. NIDILRR operates in concert with the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the Office of Special Education Programs.(OSEP).

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4. What is NIDILRR's mission?

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a component of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), is the main federal agency that supports applied research, training and development to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. Accomplishing NIDILRR's mission is a first step on the journey toward improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. NIDILRR staff and its grantees are therefore committed to:

  • Generating new knowledge and promoting its effective use in improving the ability of persons with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, and
  • Expanding society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities.
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5. Is there blueprint or long-range plan to describe its vision for the future?

Yes, NIDILRR is required to develop a five-year plan by 29 U.S.C. Section 762(h). The latest five-year plan is published in the Federal Register.

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6. Is there one place that contains the laws, rules and regulations that NIDILRR and its grantees must follow?

Yes. We have created a page just for that purpose. To view it click here.

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7. What does NIDILRR do?

Through its programs or funding mechansims, NIDILRR awards federal money to eligible applicants (e.g., institutions of higher education, non-profit organiations, for-profit organiations, etc.)who submit proposals on various applied disability and rehabilitation research and development topics. These proposals are usually written in response to Notices Inviting Applications (NIAs) that highlight NIDILRR's funding priority areas and requirements for submitting proposals. These NIA's are published in the federal goernment's daily journal known as the Federal Register. For a list of recent NIA and other NIDILRR-related documents appearing in the Federal Register since January 01, 2011, click here.

Proposals received by NIDILRR go through a competitive peer review process. Only the winning proposals get the government money. After the money is awarded, specific NIDILRR staff are assigned a caseload of grantees that relate to their training and expertise. These NIDILRR staff, known as Project Officers, monitor the work of funded grantees to ensure that they are "doing what they said they could do" in their proposal. NIDILRR Project Officers also ensure that funded grantees are complying with all applicable federal laws and regulations.To facilitate these on-going monitoring efforts, Project Officers use a variety of monitoring tools and strategies which include but are not limited to: regular teleconferences, email correspondence, review of Annual Performance Reports (APRs) submitted to our Annual Web-Based Reporting System, and formative and summative reviews. For more information on how we measure the performance of our grantees, go to our performance page.

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8. What can I expect if I choose to "donate my brain to science" and become a peer reviewer for NIDILRR?

You may have heard our new Director, Charlie Lakin, has developed a new slogan for recruiting peer reviewers: "Donate your brain to science and become a peer reviewer for NIDILRR." When people hear it, they next question they ask is what does really mean and what can I expect if I decide to become a peer reviewer for NIDILRR? We have prepared an answer to that question and it is available here.

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9. I am an individual and am looking for money to achieve a specific goal or purpose. Can NIDILRR help me?

We get that question a lot. Unfortunately NIDILRR does not give out money to individuals who want to use it to achieve a specific goal or purpose. We award grant money to colleges and universities, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and qualified scholars who earn the money by submitting a winning research or development proposal that is reviewed by a panel of experts.

While we cannot help you directly with your efforts to obtain money for a specific purpose, we can refer you to several organizations that may be able to help you identify additional resources.

Two of these are organizations are:

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10. Do you have a basic guide that explains your programs and how to apply for them?

Yes, we have created a short guide just for that purpose.

You may also find the links on NIDILRR's Applicant Information Center Page helpful.

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11. Do you have a place like a "NIDILRR Program Central" where I can learn more about your programs?

Yes. We created a page just for that purpose. We hope you find it helpful.

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12. Does NIDILRR have FAQs for all of its programs in one place?

Yes. Check out our Programs FAQ Homepage.

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13. What is NARIC and what can it do for me?

NARIC stands for the National Rehabilitation Information Center and operates under contract to NIDILRR to serve as the central repository or library for NIDILRR information. Listed below are just some of the things that NARIC can do for you:

  • Si usted quiere ver el sitio de NARIC en español, clique aquí.


  • If you have visited the NARIC Website before, you may have noticed that NARIC got a face lift and want to know what has changed.


  • If you have reached the NARIC main page but don't know where to start looking for information and resources you want, check out NARIC's Where Do I Start Page.


  • If you want to search NARIC's databases using an all-in-one search form, click here.


  • If you want to learn about research or development grants funded by NIDILRR, or contact them for more information, check out the NIDILRR Online Project Directory.


  • If you want to read up on the latest rehabilitation research abstracts,and order documents, you may want to check out REHABDATA, the permiere searchable database of disability and rehabilitation literature maintained by NARIC.


  • If you want to find out if you can obtain full text of a document from REHABDATA, check out Full Text Documents from REHABDATA.


  • If you want to submit a document to REHABDATA, check out How to Get Your Document Listed in REHABDATA


  • If you want to find contact information for a national disability organization or browse other, check out the NARIC Knowledgebase.


  • If you want to search for tools produced by NIDILRR grantees check out The NIDILRR Tools Collection.


  • If you want to view a multimedia collection of audios and videos produced by NIDILRR grantees check out NARIC's Multimedia Collection.


  • If you want to view a collection of research reviews on rehabilitation topics, generated from queries and questions asked by patrons just like you, check out reSearch.


  • If you want to view some of the resources that NARIC's own information specialists use to serve patrons, check out Disability Resources from NARIC.


  • If you want to learn about select achievements of NIDILRR grantees, you may want to check out NIDILRR Research Spotlight.


  • If you want to receive research updates on a particular topic in your email, subscribe to REHABDATA Connection.


  • If you want to receive NIDILRR and NARIC-related weekly news and notes in your email, sign up here.


  • If you use Facebook or Twitter, check out NARIC's Facebook and Twitter pages.


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14. Is there a device or product information database for people with disabilities?

Yes, it is called ABLEDATA and it is funded by NIDILRR under a contractual agreement. If you need to talk to someone about your search for the right device or product to meet you needs, check out ABLEDATA's Contact page.

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15. I have been hearing that NIDILRR is investing in "Knowledge Translation." What is it and where can I learn more about it?

Knowledge Translation (KT) is a term that has been popularized by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Learn what KT is from a staff member at CIHR by reading Knowledge Translation at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: A Primer.

You can learn more about it by emailing NIDILRR staff member Pimjai Sudsawad at: pimjai.sudsawad@ed.gov.

You can also talk with staff from NIDILRR's newly and currently-funded Knowledge Translation Grantees and contracts.

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Last Modified: 04/06/2015