Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers
CFDA Number: 84.133B
Program Type:Discretionary/Competitive Grants, Cooperative Agreements
NIDRR's Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) conduct coordinated and integrated advanced programs of research targeted toward the production of new knowledge, which may improve rehabilitation methodology and service delivery systems, alleviate or stabilize disabling conditions, or promote maximum social and economic independence for persons with disabilities.
Operated in collaboration with institutions of higher education or providers of rehabilitation or other appropriate services, RRTCs serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation research. The centers serve as national or regional resources for research information, and also disseminate and promote the utilization of their own research findings. In addition, these centers conduct graduate, pre-service and in-service training.
Types of Projects
RRTCs conduct programs of research, made of numerous research projects within grants, that improve rehabilitation service delivery, increase our understanding of disabling conditions, and facilitate the social and economic independence of individuals with disabilities. In addition, these projects provide graduate, pre-service, and in-service training, laying the groundwork for increasing the infrastructure of rehabilitation personnel as both service providers and researchers.
In addition, RRTCs recognize research results that remain "on the shelf" do not produce benefits for a wide range of Americans in need. Therefore, RRTCs serve as active information and technical assistance resources to service providers, as well as to the full network of those who advocate for individuals with disabilities. The RRTC concept is unique among federal agencies that fund health services research as they thematically integrate research, training, dissemination, technical assistance, and utilization. The size of the grants, the scope of work, and the five-year time frame allow centers to accomplish three significant aims.
- First Building Capacity.
The RRTC approach allows us to recruit and retain researchers at various stages in their careers, ranging from newly-minted graduates to established health care researchers making a change in research interests. With the assurance of comparatively long-term funding, people are more likely to be willing to relocate and commit to rehabilitation/disability research.
- Second, developing and exploring new research topics in the disability arena.
Seeking the answers to research questions invariably leads to new research questions that could not have been foreseen at the start of a project. The five-year period gives RRTCs the opportunity to explore and answer some of these second-generation questions right away, instead of waiting two or three years for additional funding. In addition, this allows RRTCs to do the preliminary studies that are critical to the development of sophisticated research that will increase the evidence-based foundation of rehabilitation services and our knowledge of disability
- Third, training and technical assistance.
By directly integrating training into research, RRTCs are far in advance of other programs, which fund "translating research into practice" separately. NIDRR's RRTC approach does not build in a lag time of years between research findings and application. The RRTCs include consumer and provider training from the very start of projects and research is immediately translated from "the bench" to practice.
Note: This is one of several NIDRR grant programs. Congress provides an appropriation for NIDRR as a whole; see the main entry for NIDRR (# 84.133), under the topical heading "Disability and Rehabilitation Research." The amounts listed here are a portion of the total NIDRR appropriation. Some awards are cofunded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Amounts above represent NIDRR funding only.