FR Doc 03-11627
[Federal Register: May 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 90)]
[Page 25014-25017]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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RIN 1820 ZA17

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 research 
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

[[Page 25015]]

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 
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 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 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 research project as basic or 
applied (34 CFR 350.5). Research is classified on a continuum from 
basic to applied:
    (1) Basic research is research in which the investigator is 
concerned primarily with gaining new knowledge or understanding of a 
subject without reference to any immediate application or utility.
    (2) Applied research is research in which the investigator is 
primarily interested in developing new knowledge, information, or 
understanding which can be applied to a predetermined rehabilitation 
problem or need. Applied research builds on selected findings from 
basic research.
    In carrying out a research activity under this program (34 CFR 
350.13), a grantee must:
    (a) Identify one or more hypotheses; and
    (b) Based on the hypotheses identified, perform an intensive 
systematic study directed toward--
    (1) New or full scientific knowledge; or
    (2) Understanding of the subject or problem studied.

[[Page 25016]]


Research Projects for Stabilizing and Improving Lives of Persons with 

    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 priorities 
consistent with the Plan and that support the NFI.
    We received many suggestions. The purpose of this notice of 
proposed priorities is to present multiple research topics from public 
suggestions as well as related topics from staff analysis of emerging 
disability needs. All topics are for research activities under the DRRP 
    We propose priorities for applied research 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 knowledge to improve the inclusion and participation of individuals 
with disabilities in their families, school, or work. Although we are 
proposing multiple priorities, we may not issue final priorities or 
make awards in all 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 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 email 
or facsimile copy, must be received by NIDRR no later than June 9, 
2003. Applicants that submit email or facsimile copies must follow up 
by sending to NIDRR the signed original copy no later than one week 
after the date the email 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 email 

    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 these priorities, 
projects awarded under each of the topics must, in consultation with 
the NIDRR project officer:
    [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 research 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 the research as well as 
in design of clinical services and dissemination activities;
    [sbull] Demonstrate how the research project can transfer research 
findings to practical applications in planning, policymaking, program 
administration, and delivery of services to individuals with 
disabilities; and
    [sbull] Disseminate findings to appropriate audiences, including 
information on best practices, where applicable.
    An applicant must propose research activities and dissemination of 
findings under one of the following topics:
    (a) Self-Determination in Transition to Adulthood for Youth with 
Disabilities: This project must conduct research and disseminate 
information about factors that enhance and promote self-determination 
for youth with disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood. The 
project may include research on interventions that (1) enable 
successful transition to life activities such as independent living, 
higher education, and employment; and (2) improve functional outcomes 
such as enhanced memory, learning, visual perception, auditory 
reception, literacy, and self-advocacy. The reference for this topic 
can be found in the Plan, chapter 3, Employment Outcomes: Transition 
from School to Work.
    (b) Examining Violence Against People With Disabilities: This 
project must conduct research and disseminate information on violence 
against persons with disabilities. Activities may include research on 
statistics related to criminal victimization of people with 
disabilities compiled under the 1998 Crime Victims with Disabilities 
Awareness Act (Pub. L. 301-105); study of data from enhanced crime 
incident reports; and analysis of data and research findings on the 
impact of violence on specific populations such as, but not limited to, 
individuals with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, women with 
disabilities, individuals with sensory disabilities, and individuals 
with mobility disabilities. The reference for this topic can be found 
in the Plan, chapter 2, Dimensions of Disability: Emerging Universe of 
    (c) Family and Cultural Aspects of Independent Living: This project 
must conduct research and disseminate information on how individuals 
with disabilities draw upon their families (or those with whom they 
share living arrangements) to obtain necessary supports such as 
economic assistance, informal and formal care giving, and emotional 
nurturing. Activities may include: (1) Identifying factors that help or 
hinder NFI goals regarding educational attainment, home ownership, and 
full access in community life; (2) research on ways that family and 
shared-community living arrangements may facilitate independence and 
help implement the Supreme Court's Olmstead v. L.C. ruling; and (3) 
research on how family and shared-community living arrangements may 
facilitate meeting the objectives for people with disabilities in 
Healthy People 2010. The references for this topic can be found in the 
Plan, chapter 2, Dimensions of Disability: Disability, Employment, and 
Independent Living and chapter 6, Research on Social Roles.
    (d) Older Women and Falls: This project must identify and compare 
outcomes-oriented rehabilitation interventions for older women to 
overcome the disabilities and secondary conditions associated with 
falls and to prevent secondary falls and other complications. The 
project must examine risk factors for falls (e.g., age, disability, 
medications use, health, functional ability, environmental hazards). 
The references for this topic can be found in the Plan, chapter 2, 
Dimensions of Disability: Emerging Universe of Disability and chapter 
4, Health and Function: Research on

[[Page 25017]]

Trauma Rehabilitation; Research on Aging.
    (e) Issues in Asset Accumulation and Tax Policy for People with 
Disabilities: This project must conduct research on fiscal and social 
environmental barriers to economic empowerment and self-sufficiency for 
people with disabilities and the impact of legislation designed to 
promote economic self-sufficiency and facilitate community integration. 
The project must conduct systematic analysis of the relationship 
between tax policy and asset accumulation for individuals with 
disabilities and improved economic and community integration outcomes. 
This includes testing the impact of asset accumulation on economic 
improvements and community integration for individuals with 
disabilities. The reference for this topic can be found in the Plan, 
chapter 3, Employment Outcomes: Economic Policy and Labor Market 
    (f) Identifying Opportunities and Barriers to Entrepreneurship for 
People with Disabilities: This project must conduct research on ways to 
improve employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities through 
self-employment and entrepreneurial strategies and how to train both 
people with disabilities and counselors in successful use of these 
strategies. The research must include analysis of the effects of 
policies and practices of the vocational rehabilitation system; related 
programs such as those of the Small Business Administration; and other 
public, private, or nonprofit employment organizations on self-
employment options for individuals with disabilities. The reference for 
this topic can be found in the Plan, chapter 3, Employment Outcomes: 
Economic Policy and Labor Market Trends.

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 research 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 disabled 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 
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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. 03-11627 Filed 5-8-03; 8:45 am]