[Federal Register: April 22, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 77)]
[Page 19925-19927]
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[CFDA No.: 84.133E]

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--Rehabilitation 
Engineering Research Centers (RERCs) Program; Notice Inviting 
Applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

    Note to Applicants: The notice of final funding priorities is 
published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

    Purpose of the Program: RERCs conduct research, develop-ment, and 
training activities regarding rehabilitation technology--including 
rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology devices, and assistive 
technology services, in order to enhance opportunities for meeting the 
needs of,

[[Page 19926]]

and addressing the barriers confronted by, individuals with 
disabilities in all aspects of their lives.
    Eligible Applicants: Parties eligible to apply for grants under 
this program are States, public or private agencies, including for-
profit agencies, public or private organizations, including for-profit 
organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes and 
tribal organizations.
    Applications Available: April 22, 2003.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 27, 2003.
    Maximum Award Amount: $1,000,000 per year for the Universal 
Interface and Information Technologies topic area; $950,000 per year 
for all other topic areas.

    Note: We will reject without consideration or evaluation any 
application that proposes a budget exceeding the stated maximum 
award amount in any year (See 34 CFR 75.104(b)).

    Estimated Number of Awards: 9.
    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

    Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 

    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 
82, 85, 86 and 97, and the program regulations 34 CFR part 350.


    This competition focuses on projects designed to meet the 
priorities in the notice of final priorities for this program, 
published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The 
priorities are: (a) Hearing enhancement; (b) prosthetics and orthotics; 
(c) communication enhancement; (d) measurement and monitoring of 
functional performance; (e) technology access for land mine survivors; 
f) universal interface and information technologies; (g) 
telerehabilitation; (h) accessible public transportation; (i) wheeled 
mobility; (j) cognitive technologies; and (k) technology transfer. 
Applicants are allowed to submit more than one proposal as long as each 
proposal addresses only one priority topic area. The topic area should 
be the descriptive title of the applicant's project. NIDRR requests 
that you include the topic in the title block of the ED 424 form, the 
abstract, and introduction paragraph.
    For FY 2003, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet these priorities
    Selection Criteria: The selection criteria to evaluate applications 
under this program are found in the application package.
    Pre-Application Meeting: Interested parties are invited to 
participate in a pre-application meeting to discuss the funding 
priorities and to receive technical assistance through individual 
consultation and information about the funding priorities. The pre-
application meeting will be held on May 12, 2003 either in person or by 
conference call at the Department of Education, Office of Special 
Education and Rehabilitative Services, Switzer Building, room 3065, 330 
C Street, SW., Washington, DC between 10 AM and 12 noon. NIDRR staff 
will also be available from 1:30 PM to 4 PM on that same day to provide 
technical assistance through individual consultation and information 
about the funding priority. For further information or to make 
arrangements to attend contact Donna Nangle, Switzer Building, room 
3412, 330 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20202. Telephone (202) 205-5880 
or via Internet: donna.nangle@ed.gov. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call (202) 205-4475.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities at the Public Meetings

    The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities, 
and a sign language interpreter will be available. If you will need an 
auxiliary aid or service other than a sign language interpreter in 
order to participate in the meeting (e.g., other interpreting service 
such as oral, cued speech, or tactile interpreter; assistive listening 
device; or materials in alternate format), notify the contact person 
listed in this notice at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting 
date. Although we will attempt to meet a request we receive after this 
date, we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid 
or service because of insufficient time to arrange it.

Application Procedures

    Note: Some of the procedures in these instructions for 
transmitting applications differ from those in the Education 
Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) (34 CFR 
75.102). Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the 
Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to 
comment on proposed regulations. However, these amendments make 
procedural changes only and do not establish new substantive policy. 
Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), the Secretary has determined 
that proposed rulemaking is not required.

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications

    In FY 2003, the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to 
expand its pilot project for electronic submission of applications to 
include additional formula grant programs and additional discretionary 
grant competitions. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers 
(RERCs) Program--CFDA No. 84.133E--is one of the programs included in 
the pilot project. If you are an applicant under the RERCs Program, you 
may submit your application to us in either electronic or paper format.
    The pilot project involves the use of the Electronic Grant 
Application System (e-Application) portion of the Grant Administration 
and Payment System (GAPS). Users of e-Application will be entering data 
on-line while completing their applications. You may not e-mail a soft 
copy of a grant application to us. If you participate in this voluntary 
pilot project by submitting an application electronically, the data you 
enter on-line will be saved into a database. We request your 
participation in e-Application. We shall continue to evaluate its 
success and solicit suggestions for improvement.
    If you participate in e-Application, please note the following:
    [sbull] Your participation is voluntary.
    [sbull] You will not receive any additional point value because you 
submit a grant application in electronic format, nor will we penalize 
you if you submit an application in paper format. When you enter the e-
Application system, you will find information about its hours of 
    [sbull] You may submit all documents electronically, including the 
Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information--Non-
Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and 
    [sbull] After you electronically submit your application, you will 
receive an automatic acknowledgement, which will include a PR/Award 
number (an identifying number unique to your application).
    [sbull] Within three working days after submitting your electronic 
application, fax a signed copy of the Application for Federal 
Assistance (ED 424) to the Application Control Center after following 
these steps:
    (1) Print ED 424 from the e-Application system.
    (2) The institution's Authorizing Representative must sign this 
    (3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right-hand corner of the 
hard copy signature page of the ED 424.

[[Page 19927]]

    (4) Fax the signed ED 424 to the Application Control Center at 
(202) 260-1349.
    [sbull] We may request that you give us original signatures on all 
other forms at a later date.
    [sbull] Closing Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If 
you elect to participate in the e-Application pilot for the RERCs 
Program and you are prevented from submitting your application on the 
closing date because the e-Application system is unavailable, we will 
grant you an extension of one business day in order to transmit your 
application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. For us to 
grant this extension--
    (1) You must be a registered user of e-Application, and have 
initiated an e-Application for this competition; and
    (2)(a) The e-Application system must be unavailable for 60 minutes 
or more between the hours of 8:30 and 3:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, 
on the deadline date; or
    (b) The e-Application system must be unavailable for any period of 
time during the last hour of operation (that is, for any period of time 
between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time) on the deadline date.
    The Department must acknowledge and confirm these periods of 
unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this 
extension you must contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in 
this notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or (2) the e-GRANTS 
help desk at 1-888-336-8930.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the RERCs 
Program at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.
    We have included additional information about the e-Application 
pilot project and instructions for how to submit paper applications in 
the application package (see Parity Guidelines between Paper and 
Electronic Applications).
    For Applications Contact: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), 
P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone (toll free): 1-877-433-
7827. Fax: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD), you may call (toll free): 1-877-576-7734.
    You may also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.edpubs.org/webstore/Content/search.asp.
 Or you may contact ED Pubs at its e-mail address: 
edpubs@inet.ed.gov.    If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify 
this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.133E.
    For Further Information Contact: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3414, Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC 20202-2645. Telephone: (202) 205-5880. Individuals who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the TDD 
number at (202) 205-4475. Internet: Donna.Nangle@ed.gov.    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 

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: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html.

    Program Authority:  29 U.S.C. 764(b)(3).

    Dated: April 16, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-9940 Filed 4-21-03; 8:45 am]