FR Doc 03-11625
[Federal Register: May 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 90)]
[Page 25009-25011]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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RIN 1820 ZA25

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary proposes a priority for Research 
Infrastructure Capacity Building under the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program under the National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The 
Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal 
year (FY) 2003 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on an identified national need. We intend this priority to 
improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with 

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

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority 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 
call 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 this proposed priority.
    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 this proposed 
priority. 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 this priority in Room 3412, Switzer Building, 330 C 
Street SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 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 this proposed priority. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed 
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. we will determine the final priority 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 this proposed priority, 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 priority is 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 this proposed priority, a 
specific reference is included for the 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 may include one or more of the following (34 CFR 
    (1) Proposing project objectives addressing the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds.
    (2) Demonstrating that the project will address a problem that is 
of particular significance to individuals with disabilities from 
minority backgrounds.
    (3) Demonstrating that individuals from minority backgrounds will 
be included in study samples in sufficient numbers to generate 
information pertinent to individuals with disabilities from minority 

[[Page 25010]]

    (4) Drawing study samples and program participant rosters from 
populations or areas that include individuals from minority 
    (5) Providing outreach to individuals with disabilities from 
minority backgrounds to ensure that they are aware of rehabilitation 
services, clinical care, or training offered by the project.
    (6) Disseminating materials to or otherwise increasing the access 
to disability information among minority populations.



    This priority supports one DRRP on Research Infrastructure Capacity 
Building. This DRRP will improve the rehabilitation research 
infrastructure and rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals 
with disabilities from minority populations. Minority population refers 
to specific race and ethnicity categories. The following race and 
ethnic categories are applicable for this priority: (1) American Indian 
or Alaska Native, (2) Asian, (3) Black or African American, (4) Native 
Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and (5) Hispanic or Latino. 
Definitions and further information about race and ethnic categories is 
available in the Office of Management and Budget Directive 15 at
    Minority populations are among the fastest growing racial and 
ethnic groups in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts 
that the American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, and 
Hispanic population will increase to 40 percent of the U.S. population 
by 2010 and 50 percent by 2050. Additionally, more than 32 million 
individuals in the U.S. speak a language other than English (latest 
figures available from the U.S. Census Bureau). Currently, about 10.4 
percent of the U.S. population is foreign-born; by the year 2050, this 
figure is likely to rise to approximately 13.3 percent (U.S. Census 
Bureau, 2000).
    Historically, disability disproportionately affects minority racial 
and ethnic populations. The changing demographic profile of the U.S. 
will potentially increase the demand for a disability and 
rehabilitation community that is better prepared to address the needs 
of a more ethnically, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse 
    Language barriers and lack of understanding about cultural values 
and beliefs are challenges that may impact access to services, 
rehabilitation outcomes, and research activities. Additionally, 
traditional theories and methodologies may ignore the unique 
characteristics and needs of minority populations and be ineffective 
for conducting research activities, disseminating research findings, 
and fostering the participation of minority racial and ethnic 
populations in research activities. Research activities are often 
challenged by methodological issues, particularly questions about the 
use of specific research approaches within certain cultural contexts.
    NIDRR is interested in funding activities focused on high quality 
research that will assist with further development of the research 
infrastructure, particularly activities that expand research approaches 
for scientific inquiry of relevant variables to improve understanding 
of the needs of minority populations, including issues of race, 
ethnicity, and cultural context; improve our understanding about 
rehabilitation outcomes, and the disparate rate of disability in 
minority racial and ethnic populations; and assist with development of 
innovative methods for establishing collaborative research 

Proposed Priority--Research Infrastructure Capacity Building

    The Assistant Secretary proposes to fund one DRRP that will focus 
on a research, development, and dissemination project on Research 
Infrastructure Capacity Building. The reference for this topic can be 
found in the Plan, Chapter 9, Capacity Building: Priorities in Capacity 
Building. In carrying out this purpose the DRRP must:
    (1) Develop and evaluate an innovative method(s) for establishing 
long-term collaborative research partnerships, with an emphasis on 
relationships between minority entities, Indian tribes, and nonminority 
    (2) Research, develop, and evaluate strategies to assess the 
efficacy of existing research theories, methodologies, and measures for 
studying and describing underrepresented individuals with disabilities 
from minority racial and ethnic populations and their needs;
    (3) Research, identify and modify or develop, and evaluate 
scientifically valid measurement strategies and methodologies for 
research involving the study of underrepresented minority racial and 
ethnic populations; determine their efficacy; and examine the 
implications of introducing newly developed approaches designed 
specifically for the study of this population;
    (4) Develop and evaluate research principles or standards for 
culturally appropriate and linguistically competent disability and 
rehabilitation research, and disseminate guidelines; and
    (5) Develop, implement, and evaluate approaches for disseminating 
research findings, information about best practices for research 
involving underrepresented minority race and ethnic populations, and 
information about research collaboration.
    In carrying out the purposes of the priority, the DRRP must:
    [sbull] In the first three months of the grant, develop and 
implement a research partnership plan ensuring that all activities are 
predominantly focused on research infrastructure capacity building and 
provide for mutual benefit for each member of the partnership, 
including persons with disabilities or their representatives;
    [sbull] In the first year of the grant, implement a plan to 
disseminate research results;
    [sbull] In the third year of the grant, conduct a state-of-the-
science conference focused on the funded area of research and related 
    [sbull] In the fourth year of the grant, publish and disseminate a 
comprehensive report on the outcomes and proceedings of the conference;
    [sbull] Demonstrate how the research project can transfer research 
findings to practical applications in planning, policy-making, program 
administration, and delivery of services to individuals with 
disabilities; and
    [sbull] Conduct ongoing program evaluation and produce a closing 
report describing research outcomes, as they relate to the research 
goals and objectives, and future directions for research infrastructure 
development and capacity building.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priority 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 priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of proposed priority, we have 
determined that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the 

[[Page 25011]]

    Summary of potential costs and benefits: The potential cost 
associated with this proposed priority 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 research infrastructure capacity building 
projects have been well established over the years in that similar 
projects have been completed. This proposed priority will generate new 
knowledge through a dissemination, utilization, training, and technical 
assistance project.
    The benefit of this proposed priority and proposed applications and 
project requirements will be the establishment of a new DRRP projects 
that generates, disseminates, and promotes 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 site:
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    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).

    Dated: May 6, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-11625 Filed 5-8-03; 8:45 am]