FR Doc E9-17233[Federal Register: July 21, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 138)]
[Notices]               
[Page 35858-35860]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21jy09-50]                             

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) Catalog 
of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133B.

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
(OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priorities.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities under the RRTC program 
administered by NIDRR. The Assistant Secretary may use one or both of 
these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and later 
years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of 
national need. We intend these priorities to improve rehabilitation 
services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities are effective August 20, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7462 or by e-
mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of final priorities is in 
concert with NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to 
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique 
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine

[[Page 35859]]

what are the best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation 
outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) 
identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) 
disseminate findings.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized 
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

RRTC Program

    The purpose of the RRTC program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
through advanced research, training, technical assistance, and 
dissemination activities in general problem areas, as specified by 
NIDRR. Such activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service 
providers, individuals with disabilities, and the family members or 
other authorized representatives of individuals with disabilities. In 
addition, NIDRR intends to require all RRTC applicants to meet the 
requirements of the General Rehabilitation Research and Training 
Centers (RRTC) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of 
final priorities in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 
6132). Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#RRTC.

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements of RRTCs

    RRTCs must--
     Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation 
research;
     Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively 
provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
     Provide technical assistance to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties;
     Disseminate informational materials to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties; and
     Serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation 
research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives, 
providers, and other interested parties.
    Applicants for RRTC grants must also demonstrate in their 
applications how they will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR's 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in 
the Federal Register on August 31, 2007 (72 FR 50516). The NPP included 
a background statement that described our rationale for each priority 
proposed in that notice, including the two priorities announced in this 
notice.
    There are no differences between the two final priorities announced 
in this notice and the version of these priorities proposed in the NPP.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 90 
parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities. Because none of 
these comments involved the two priorities announced in this notice, we 
do not address any comments here. (In a notice of final priorities, 
published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132), the 
Department responded to all comments on priorities from the NPP that 
were included in that February 1, 2008 notice.)
    Final Priorities:
    Priority 1--Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Individuals With 
Neuromuscular Diseases.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Persons 
with Neuromuscular Diseases (NMDs). This RRTC must conduct rigorous 
research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities 
to improve rehabilitation outcome measures and rehabilitation 
interventions that can be applied in clinical or community-based 
settings.
    In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the 
following dimensions: Prevention or reduction of secondary conditions 
(e.g., pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, associated sleep disorders, 
metabolic complications); improved mobility; emotional well-being; and 
access to community-based health promotion services and programs (e.g., 
fitness, recreation, and nutrition). Under this priority, the RRTC must 
be designed to contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals with NMDs. 
The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing 
and testing methods and measures to assess health and rehabilitation 
outcomes, participation in community-based programs, or both.
    (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based 
rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome 
by identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation 
interventions, replicating promising practices or programs, or both.
    Priority 2--Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Individuals With 
Arthritis.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Health and Wellness of 
Individuals with Arthritis. This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, 
training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to improve 
rehabilitation outcome measures and rehabilitation interventions that 
can be applied in clinical or community-based settings.
    In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the 
following dimensions: Prevention or reduction of secondary conditions 
(e.g., pain, fatigue, depression); improved mobility; emotional well-
being; and access to community-based health promotion services and 
programs (e.g., fitness, recreation, and nutrition). Under this 
priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following 
outcomes:
    (a) Improved outcome measures for use with persons with arthritis. 
The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing 
and testing methods and measures to assess health and rehabilitation 
outcomes, participation in community-based programs, or both.
    (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based 
rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome 
by identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation 
interventions, replicating promising practices or programs, or both.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a

[[Page 35860]]

notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority 
follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these priorities, we invite applications 
through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this final regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this final regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this final regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priorities justify the costs.
    We have determined, also, that this final regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    Summary of potential costs and benefits:
    The benefits of the RRTC program have been well-established over 
the years in that other RRTC projects have been completed successfully. 
The priorities announced in this notice will generate new knowledge 
through research and development activities.
    Another benefit of these final priorities is that establishing new 
RRTCs will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. These 
new RRTCs will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new 
information that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities to achieve improved education, employment, and independent 
living outcomes.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. 
If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.


    Note:  The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated 
authority to Andrew J. Pepin, Executive Administrator for the Office of 
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, to perform the functions 
of the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.

    Dated: July 15, 2009.
Andrew J. Pepin,
Executive Administrator for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. E9-17233 Filed 7-20-09; 8:45 am]

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