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A Summary of 2012 National Academy of Sciences Recommendations for NIDRR

The recommendations below were excerpted verbatim from the National Academy of Sciences report entitled, Review of Disability and Rehabilitation Research: NIDRR Grantmaking Processes and Products. (2012) disclaimer

Priority-Setting Advisory Council:

Recommendation 3-1: NIDRR should fulfill the statutory mandate to form and utilize a standing disability and rehabilitation research advisory council to advise on the priority-setting process and provide input for priority setting.


Strategic Planning:

Recommendation 3-2: NIDRR should use a structured, consistent, and inclusive strategic planning process to develop its Long-Range Plans and priorities.


Establishment of a Standard Calendar:

Recommendation 3-3: NIDRR should utilize a standard calendar for the setting of priorities, publication of notices inviting applications, submission of applications, and peer review meetings to improve the efficiency of the process.


Soliciting Applications:

Recommendation 3-4: NIDRR should expand its efforts to disseminate notices inviting applications to new potential applicants, including developing a communication strategy to ensure that the notices reach new audiences.


Enhancements to the Peer Review Process:

Recommendation 4-1: NIDRR should further strengthen the peer review infrastructure by expanding the pool of high-quality reviewers; establishing standing panels, or formal cohorts of peer reviewers with specialized knowledge and expertise as appropriate for the program mechanisms; enhancing reviewer training; and improving the consistency of NIDRR staff facilitation of panel meetings and the quality of feedback provided to grantees.


Reducing Reviewer Burden:

Recommendation 4-2: NIDRR should streamline the review process in order to reduce the burden on peer reviewers.


Use of Consumer Peer Reviewers:

Recommendation 4-3: NIDRR should continue to have consumer representation in the peer review process and establish procedures to guide the participation of those without scientific expertise.


Grant Management:

Recommendation 5-1: NIDRR should continue to focus efforts on improving its grant monitoring procedures and specific elements of its overall grant management system that impact grantee-level planning, budgets, and the quality of outputs.


Grant Management:

Recommendation 5-2: NIDRR should review the requirements placed upon technical innovation grants and large multisite studies to ensure that planning, reporting, supervisory, and technical assistance requirements fit their particular circumstances.


Quality of Outputs:

Recommendation 6-1: Although close to 75 percent of outputs were rated as “good to excellent” (i.e., 4 or higher on the seven-point quality scale), NIDRR should make it clear that it expects all grantees to produce the highest-quality outputs.


Quality of Outputs:

Recommendation 6-2: NIDRR should consider undertaking bibliometric analyses of its grantees’ publications as a routine component of performance measurement.


Defining Future Evaluation Objectives:

Recommendation 6-3: NIDRR should determine whether assessment of the quality of outputs should be the sole evaluation objective.


Reviewer Expertise:

Recommendation 6-4: If future evaluations of output quality are conducted, the process developed by the committee should be implemented with refinements to strengthen the design related to the diversity of outputs, timing of evaluations, sources of information, and reviewer expertise.


Improving Use of the Annual Performance Report:

Recommendation 6-5: NIDRR should consider revising its APR to better capture information needed to routinely evaluate the quality and impacts of outputs, grants, or program mechanisms. They might consider efforts such as consolidating existing data elements or adding new elements to capture the quality criteria and dimensions used in the present summative evaluation.


Improving Use of the Annual Performance Report:

Recommendation 6-6: NIDRR should investigate ways to work with grantees to ensure the completeness and consistency of information provided in the APR.


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Last Modified: 11/20/2013