[Federal Register: July 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 130)]
[Notices]              
[Page 39429-39431]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr08jy10-170]                              

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers
Program--Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--
International Exchange of Knowledge and Experts in Disability and
Rehabilitation Research

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-6.

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

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice announces a priority for a DRRP
entitled International Exchange of Knowledge and Experts in Disability
and Rehabilitation Research. The Assistant Secretary may use this
priority for a competition in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later years. We
take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need.
We intend this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes
for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective August 9, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5133, Potomac Center Plaza
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by e-
mail: marlene.spencer@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 priority 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 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 (Rehabilitation Act).
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(6).

[[Page 39430]]

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for NIDRR's
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in
the Federal Register on May 14, 2010 (75 FR 27324). The NPP included a
background statement that described our rationale for the priority
proposed in that notice.
    There is one significant difference between the NPP and this notice
of final priority (NFP) as discussed in the following section.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, three
parties submitted comments on the proposed priority. An analysis of the
comments and of any changes in the priority since publication of the
NPP follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes or
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed
priority.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes:
    Comment: One commenter suggested that NIDRR consider how the
activities to be carried out under this priority will be sustained over
time.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the sustainability of activities
carried out under this priority is an important goal. Paragraph (b) of
the priority requires that the Center identify or develop, and then
evaluate and implement, sustainable methods for carrying out the
overall mission of this center; namely, domestic dissemination of
research findings produced by disability and rehabilitation personnel
from other countries. NIDRR does not wish to specify the methods an
applicant must use in order to ensure that dissemination activities are
sustainable. We believe the choice of methods to sustain the
dissemination of research findings is best left to the applicant.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter expressed appreciation for the Center for
International Rehabilitation Research Exchange (CIRRIE) database
described in paragraph (a) of the priority. However, this commenter
noted that, as more research is exchanged globally, it may be difficult
to determine if a study from another country is applicable to one's own
country. This commenter suggested that the Center produce ``country
profiles'' to help those who are trying to interpret studies but lack
knowledge of the health care practices and culture in which the study
was produced.
    Discussion: Applicants are free to propose the development of
``country profiles'' to support the success of required activities
under this priority. However, NIDRR does not have a sufficient basis
for requiring all applicants to include this approach.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the requirement to propose
and justify one substantive area of focus for activities under
paragraph (b) of the priority is too restrictive for a number of
reasons. This commenter noted that the restriction to one substantive
area under paragraph (b) contradicts the broader requirements of the
opening paragraph of the priority, which states that the Center must
promote the following outcomes for individuals with disabilities:
improved education, employment, health, and community living. In
addition, this commenter noted that there is no basis in NIDRR's Long-
Range Plan for limiting this priority's focus to one substantive area.
This commenter also stated that substantive outcome areas are
intertwined in the rehabilitation research and development literature
and in the lives of individuals with disabilities. Therefore, this
commenter recommended that the restrictive language requiring
applicants to specialize in a specific substantive area be removed and
that applicants be allowed to propose approaches that would be as
specific or comprehensive as they deem appropriate.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that substantive outcome areas such as
education, employment, health, and community living are intertwined in
the disability and rehabilitation research literature and in the lives
of individuals with disabilities. NIDRR proposed the requirement that
applicants specify one subject area recognizing that the Center might
not have sufficient resources to support research in many different
areas. After further review, however, we are removing this requirement
because we believe it is too prescriptive and that it would be best to
allow applicants to specify how they will define the body of research
to be studied. We are therefore, revising the priority to provide that
each applicant must describe and justify the inclusion and exclusion
criteria it will use to define a body of research literature that can
be evaluated and disseminated within the resource constraints of this
Center.
    Changes: NIDRR has revised paragraph (b) of the priority to state
that applicants must describe the criteria and methods that they will
use to define the body of research literature that they will evaluate
and disseminate to U.S. stakeholders.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the requirement in paragraph
(b) of the priority to propose and justify the countries or global
regions to be targeted is overly restrictive. This commenter noted that
disseminating knowledge from only a subset of countries or regions
would deprive the disability and rehabilitation community in the U.S.
of knowledge from many other sources outside the chosen geographic
focus.
    Discussion: Nothing in this priority precludes applicants from
proposing to target all countries or global regions as sources of
disability and rehabilitation research and development. The peer review
process will evaluate the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Final Priority:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services announces a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation
Research Project (DRRP) to serve as a Center for International Exchange
of Knowledge and Experts in Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(Center). This Center must promote improved education, employment,
health, and community living outcomes for individuals with disabilities
by developing and implementing methods for the international exchange
of knowledge generated by disability and rehabilitation research and
development (R&D). Under this priority, the Center must contribute =
to
the following outcomes:
    (a) A well-maintained, publicly accessible, and searchable database
containing citations of publications from disability and rehabilitation
R&D that was conducted in other countries. The Center must =
contribute
to this outcome by assuming the operation of an existing database
presently operated by the Center for International Rehabilitation
Research Exchange (CIRRIE). The Center must establish sound strategies
and approaches to ensure that the database is comprehensive, easy to
use, and up-to-date at all times.
    (b) Improved methods for the identification and domestic
dissemination of findings from R&D generated by disability and
rehabilitation R&D personnel in other countries. The Center must
contribute to this outcome by developing or identifying, evaluating,
and applying methods for the identification of research findings to be
disseminated in the U.S. The application of these methods must lead to
information on the methodological rigor with which the R&D was
conducted, as well as the

[[Page 39431]]

relevance of findings to U.S. stakeholders (e.g., researchers,
rehabilitation service providers, educators, clinicians, and
individuals with disabilities and their families). The Center also must
identify or develop, and then evaluate and implement, sustainable
methods for domestic dissemination of relevant findings produced by
disability and rehabilitation R&D personnel from other countries. =
Given
the breadth of disability and rehabilitation R&D conducted in =
countries
outside of the U.S. and the limited resources of this Center,
applicants must propose and justify the criteria or methods they will
use to define the body of research that they will evaluate. Applicants
must also propose and justify the countries or global regions they will
target as the sources of disability and rehabilitation R&D.
    (c) Improved cross-cultural and cross-national awareness and
expertise among personnel from NIDRR-funded grants. The Center must
contribute to this outcome by administering an international exchange
of R&D personnel from NIDRR-funded projects and disability and
rehabilitation R&D personnel from other countries. The Center must
establish criteria for reviewing and selecting personnel to participate
in the exchange. These criteria must emphasize the extent to which
proposed exchanges will promote cross-cultural and cross-national
awareness and expertise among NIDRR grantees and contribute to the
quality and relevance of disability and rehabilitation research
conducted in the U.S.
    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 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)).

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in
which we choose to use this priority, 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 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 priority justify the costs.
    Discussion of costs and benefits: The benefits of the Disability
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Programs have been
well established over the years in that similar projects have been
completed successfully. This priority will generate new knowledge
through research and development. Another benefit of this priority is
that the establishment of a new DRRP will improve the lives of
individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP will generate, disseminate,
and promote the use of new information that will improve the options
for individuals with disabilities to perform regular activities in the
community.
    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.

        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.


    Dated: July 2, 2010.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2010-16689 Filed 7-7-10; 8:45 am]
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