FR Doc 03-11624
[Federal Register: May 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 90)]
[Page 25006-25009]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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RIN 1820 ZA21

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes priorities for one or more development 
projects under the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
(DRRP) Program under the National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The Assistant Secretary may use these 
priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2003 and later years. 
We take this action to focus research attention on identified national 
needs. We intend these priorities to improve rehabilitation services 
and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before June 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about these proposed priorities to 
Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 3412, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. If you prefer 
to send your comments through the Internet, use the following address:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 205-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 

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the TDD number at (202) 205-4475 or via the Internet:    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed 
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
priorities. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should 
take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while 
preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about these priorities in Room 3412, Switzer Building, 330 C 
Street SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 
p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for these proposed priorities. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person 
    We will announce the final priorities in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priorities after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding 
additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these proposed priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice published in the Federal Register. 
When inviting applications we designate each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational. 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 either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that 
does not meet the competitive priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).

    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Note: NIDRR supports the goals of President Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the 
following site:

    The proposed priorities are in concert with NIDRR's Long-Range Plan 
(the Plan). The Plan is comprehensive and integrates many issues 
relating to disability and rehabilitation research topics. While 
applicants will find many sections throughout the Plan that support 
potential research to be conducted under these proposed priorities, a 
specific reference is included for each topic presented in this notice. 
The Plan can be accessed on the Internet at the following site:
    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 

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP Program is to plan and conduct research, 
demonstration projects, training, and related activities that help to 
maximize the full inclusion and integration of individuals with 
disabilities into society and to improve the effectiveness of services 
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act).
    An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in 
its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b).
    Under the DRRP program, we define a development activity as the use 
of knowledge and understanding gained from research to create 
materials, devices, systems, or methods beneficial to the target 
population, including design and development of prototypes and 

Priorities--Development Projects for Stabilizing and Improving Lives of 
Persons With Disabilities


    On May 17, 2002, we published in the Federal Register (67 FR 35417-
35419) a notice inviting written comments suggesting priorities for 
research centers and projects administered by NIDRR under title II of 
the Act. Individuals were encouraged to suggest research centers and 
projects consistent with the Plan and that support the NFI.
    We received many suggestions. The purpose of this notice of 
proposed priorities is to present two development topics from public 
suggestions. These topics are for development activities under the DRRP 
    We propose priorities for development that will alleviate problems 
and challenges faced by people with disabilities as they seek improved 
life outcomes. These priorities share the goal of developing new 
materials, devices, systems, or methods to improve the inclusion and 
participation of individuals with disabilities in their families and 
communities. We propose two topics with the knowledge that we may not 
issue final priorities nor make awards in both areas.

Letters of Intent

    Due to the open nature of this competition, NIDRR is requiring all 
potential applicants to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). Each LOI must 
be limited to a maximum of four pages and must include the following 
information: (1) The title of the proposed DRRP, the name of the host 
institution, the name of the Principal Investigator (PI), and the names 
of partner institutions and entities; (2) a brief statement of the 
vision, goals, and objectives of the proposed DRRP and a description of 
its research and development activities at a sufficient level of detail 
to allow potential peer reviewers to be selected; (3) a list of 
proposed DRRP staff including the center Director and key

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personnel; and (4) a list of individuals whose selection as a peer 
reviewer might constitute a conflict of interest due to involvement in 
proposal development, selection as an advisory board member, co-PI 
relationships, etc.
    Submission of a LOI is a prerequisite for eligibility to submit an 
application. The signed, original LOI, or with prior approval an e-mail 
or facsimile copy, must be received by NIDRR no later than June 9, 
2003. Applicants that submit e-mail or facsimile copies must follow up 
by sending to NIDRR the signed original copy no later than one week 
after the date the e-mail or facsimile copy was sent. All 
communications pertaining to the LOI must be sent to: Donna Nangle, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3412, 
Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. For further information 
regarding the LOI requirement, contact Donna Nangle at (202) 205-5880 
or by e-mail at:

    The Assistant Secretary proposes to fund one or more DRRPs that 
will focus on stabilizing and improving lives of persons with 
disabilities. In carrying out the purposes of the priority, projects 
awarded under each of the topics, in consultation with the NIDRR 
project officer, must:
    [sbull] Coordinate and establish partnerships, as appropriate, with 
other academic institutions and organizations that are relevant to the 
project's proposed activities;
    [sbull] Demonstrate use of culturally appropriate data collection, 
evaluation, dissemination, training, and development methodologies and 
significant knowledge of the needs of individuals with disabilities 
from traditionally underserved populations;
    [sbull] Involve, as appropriate, individuals with disabilities or 
their family members, or both in all aspects of development as well as 
in design of clinical services and dissemination activities;
    [sbull] Demonstrate how the project will yield measurable results 
for people with disabilities;
    [sbull] Identify specific performance targets and propose outcome 
indicators, along with time lines to reach these targets; and
    [sbull] Disseminate findings on products and technologies to 
appropriate audiences, including information on best practices, where 
    An applicant must propose development activities and dissemination 
of findings under one of the following topics:
    (a) Voting Access and Privacy. This project must develop 
technologies, strategies, and approaches that can be used to improve 
and expand access, including physical accessibility, to voting 
accurately, independently, and privately for all citizens with 
disabilities. Voting is a citizen's most basic right. Yet many 
individuals with disabilities find it difficult, if not impossible, to 
vote without a poll worker's or another individual's assistance. 
Development products may address, but are not limited to, voting 
apparatus, accommodations information, training materials (i.e., books, 
guidelines, electronic materials) for public elections officials and 
citizens, and cost analysis and evaluation of products and technologies 
to enhance voting access for citizens with disabilities. The reference 
for this topic can be found in the Plan, Chapter 5, Technology for 
Access and Function: Research to Improve Accessibility of 
Telecommunications and Information Technology.
    (b) Technologies for Families and Caregivers. This project must 
develop technologies, strategies, and approaches that will facilitate 
and improve the continuum of activities and reduce the demands involved 
in care giving for individuals with disabilities. The upsurge of 
programs such as ``Long-Term Care'' and ``Home-Health Care'' has 
stimulated the need for tools and strategies that enable individuals 
with disabilities to live longer and more productively in their 
communities. New and improved technologies for care giving will help 
implement the Supreme Court's Olmstead v. L.C. decision. Development 
products may address, but are not limited to, evaluation and assessment 
of existing technology solutions, accommodations information, training 
materials (i.e., books, guidelines, electronic materials) for public 
officials and citizens, and cost analysis and evaluation of products 
and technologies to enhance community integration, personal assistance 
services, and independent living for citizens with disabilities. The 
reference for this topic can be found in the Plan, Chapter 5, 
Technology for Access and Function: Assistive Technology for 

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priorities 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 the notice of proposed 
priorities 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 notice of proposed priorities, we have 
determined that the benefits of the proposed priorities justify the 
    Summary of potential costs and benefits: The potential cost 
associated with these proposed priorities is minimal while the benefits 
are significant. Grantees may anticipate costs associated with 
completing the application process in terms of staff time, copying, and 
mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application technology reduces 
mailing and copying costs significantly.
    The benefits of the DRRP Program have been well established over 
the years that similar projects have been completed. These proposed 
priorities will generate new knowledge through development to focus on 
stabilizing and improving lives of persons with disabilities.
    The benefit of these proposed priorities and proposed applications 
and project requirements will be the establishment of new DRRP projects 
that generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that 
will improve the options for disable individuals to perform regular 
activities in the community.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following 
    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 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:

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Project)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

[[Page 25009]]

    Dated: May 6, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-11624 Filed 5-8-03; 8:45 am]