FR Doc E4-1955
[Federal Register: August 27, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 166)]
[Page 52651-52654]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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RIN 1820-ZA36

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities for knowledge dissemination and 
utilization projects.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes priorities for three knowledge 
dissemination and utilization projects under the National Institute on 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program. The Assistant 
Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 
2005 and later years. We take this action to focus attention on an 
identified national need. We intend these priorities to improve 
rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before September 27, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Donna 
Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 
6030, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. If you prefer to 
send your comments through the Internet, use the following address:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
or via 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 
priorities. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific proposed priority or topic that each comment 
    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 6032, 550 12th Street, SW., 
Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. 
and 4 p.m., eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except 
Federal holidays.

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

[[Page 52652]]

    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 any of these proposed priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate each priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority 
    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 competitive 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 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 
invitational 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:

    These proposed priorities are in concert with NIDRR's 1999-2003 
Long-Range Plan (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 the 
activities to be conducted under these proposed priorities, specific 
references are included for the topics 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 (Act).
    Under the DRRP program, we define a development activity as using 
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 processes. We define 
a dissemination activity as the systematic distribution of information 
or knowledge through a variety of ways to potential users or 
beneficiaries. We define a technical assistance activity as the 
provision of expertise or information for use in problem-solving.



    Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization (KDU) projects ensure 
widespread distribution, in usable formats, of practical scientific and 
technological information generated by research, development, and 
demonstration projects. The effective dissemination and utilization of 
disability and rehabilitation research results are critical to 
achieving NIDRR's mission. Research findings can improve the quality of 
life of people with disabilities and further their full inclusion into 
society. These benefits are feasible only if the findings and 
technologies are available to, known by, and accessible to potential 
    NIDRR is particularly interested in ensuring that information to be 
disseminated is of high quality and is based on scientifically rigorous 
research and development and that potential users have the information 
they need to judge the quality of research and development findings and 
products and the relevance of these findings and products to their 
particular needs. End-users with limited scientific training, in 
particular, may need assistance in order to understand competing 
research claims or determine the relevance of particular findings to 
their individual situations. In addition, given the nature of 
scientific study, practical information often is based on cumulative 
knowledge, not upon the results of any one study. Therefore, we 
encourage potential applicants to examine procedures used by such 
organizations as the Campbell Collaboration (, 
the Cochrane Collaboration (, and the Department of 
Education What Works Clearinghouse ( when designing synthesis and dissemination activities.

Proposed Priorities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes to fund up to three DRRPs to develop dissemination 
methods and provide technical assistance that focus on innovative 
knowledge sharing solutions to improve the lives of persons with 
disabilities. The goal of the projects is to provide end-users with the 
information they need to make choices based on high-quality scientific 
research and development. Under each of these topics, the KDU project 
    (1) Identify topic areas and target audiences, which must include 
people with disabilities and their families;
    (2) Develop standards to guide the systematic review and synthesis 
of disability and rehabilitation research and development studies;
    (3) Identify or develop effective outreach strategies for the 
target audiences;
    (4) Develop research syntheses in selected topic areas and make 
this information available, in preferred formats, to the target 
audiences; and
    (5) Develop cost-effective outreach strategies to provide target 
audiences with research-based information, and determine whether and 
how the information is used.
    In carrying out these project requirements, in consultation with 
the NIDRR project officer, each project must:
     Involve, as appropriate, individuals with disabilities or 
their family members, or both, in all aspects of the design and 
development of dissemination activities;
     Demonstrate how the project will yield measurable results 
for people with disabilities; and

[[Page 52653]]

     Identify specific performance targets and propose outcome 
indicators, along with timelines to reach these targets.
    A project must focus on one of the following priority topic areas:
    (a) Dissemination Using the Mainstream Media: The purpose of a 
project under this topic area is to improve dissemination of disability 
and rehabilitation research and development information via the 
mainstream media and the disability press. Chapter 8 of the Plan calls 
upon NIDRR to ``address general audiences that influence the 
opportunities available to people with disabilities. These general 
audiences include: Employers, manufacturers, educators at all levels, 
economic development and planning personnel, service establishments, 
the media and policy makers at local, state and national levels''. 
Dissemination of research and development information through the 
mainstream media--e.g., newspapers, popular magazines, radio, 
television, and internet news and information sites--has the promise of 
being an effective means of communication to these diverse audiences. 
To provide information that ultimately will be used by the media, the 
grantee must work with representatives from the mainstream media and 
with researchers to establish strategies for providing timely 
information on research and development activities and findings to the 
    The reference to this topic may be found in the Plan, Chapter 8, 
Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization, and Chapter 10, Enhancing 
NIDRR's Management of Research.
    (b) International Exchange of Information and Experts in 
Rehabilitation and Independent Living: The purpose of a project under 
this topic area is to improve the exchange of disability and 
rehabilitation research and development information between the United 
States and other countries in order to develop new knowledge and 
methods in the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities in the 
United States, share information found useful in other nations, and 
increase the skill levels of rehabilitation personnel. This project 
     Develop innovative methods for compiling and exchanging 
information between the United States and other nations on 
rehabilitation research and development, as well as information on 
disability policies that maximize the full inclusion, social 
integration, employment, and independent living of individuals of all 
ages with disabilities.
     Provide targeted outreach to and obtain insight from 
researchers; consumers; and voluntary, non-profit, and philanthropic 
organizations that are operating programs related to disability and 
rehabilitation research in other nations.
     Conduct at least one rehabilitation research information 
conference per funding cycle involving participants from the United 
States and other countries to provide state-of-the-art information on 
international rehabilitation research efforts and policies that affect 
people with disabilities.
     Conduct an international exchange of researchers and 
technical assistance experts between other countries and the United 
States to provide firsthand experiences in cross-cultural communication 
and to form alliances for collaborative research or information 
    The reference to this topic may be found in the Plan, Chapter 10, 
Enhancing NIDRR's Management of Research.
    (c) Innovative KDU for Disability and Professional Organizations 
and Stakeholders: The purpose of a project under this topic is to 
disseminate information on disability and rehabilitation research and 
development findings to a particular constituency by using 
organizations that serve that constituency as intermediaries. Such 
organizations, because they have established strategies for providing 
information to their constituencies--e.g., conferences, newsletters, 
and workshops--may represent an effective means of dissemination. The 
project must produce information digests that will be suitable for 
further dissemination through the partner organizations. The project 
must be knowledgeable about the target audiences represented by the 
organizations and must develop innovative means of communication with 
the publics served by the organizations. The project must serve as an 
information conduit for interactive discussions with the organizations 
that will help inform future NIDRR research priorities and disseminate 
the findings of NIDRR-sponsored research.
    The reference to this topic may be found in the Plan, Chapter 8, 
Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization, and Chapter 10, Enhancing 
NIDRR's Management of Research.

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 costs associated with these proposed priorities are 
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. Similar projects have been completed successfully and have 
produced findings that help improve the lives of individuals with 
disabilities. These proposed priority will generate new strategies for 
disseminating findings from disability and rehabilitation research and 
development that will improve the full integration of individuals with 
disabilities into society.
    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: 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:

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

[[Page 52654]]

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

    Dated: August 24, 2004.
Troy R. Justesen,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E4-1955 Filed 8-26-04; 8:45 am]