[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 109 (Tuesday, June 7, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32971-32974]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14024]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Proposed Priority for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
Projects and Centers Program

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Overview Information

[CFDA: 84.133A-13]

    Notice of Proposed Priority; National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
Projects and Centers Program--Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
Project (DRRP)--Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR Center).
SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR). Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for a center on 
knowledge translation for disability and rehabilitation research (KTDRR 
Center). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for a 
competition in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before July 7, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Marlene Spencer, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5133, 
Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: Marlene.Spencer@ed.gov. You must include ``Proposed Priority 
for KTDRR Center'' in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer. Telephone: (202) 245-
7532 or by e-mail: Marlene.Spencer@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priority is in 
concert with NIDRR's currently approved Long-Range Plan (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    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 
findings.
    This notice proposes a priority that NIDRR intends to use for a 
DRRP competition in FY 2011 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award for this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priority, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific topic that each comment addresses.
    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 this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further ways we could 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 this proposed priority in room 5133, 550 12th Street, 
SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 
a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each 
week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services

[[Page 32972]]

authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(Rehabilitation Act).

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

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Proposed Priority

    This notice contains one proposed priority.

Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research (KTDRR Center)

Background

    NIDRR's mission is to generate new knowledge and promote its 
effective use to improve the abilities of people with disabilities to 
perform activities of their choice in the community, and to expand 
society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for 
its citizens with disabilities (NIDRR Long Range Plan, 2006). Ensuring 
that research results can be used to inform decisions made by 
individuals with disabilities and their family members, disability 
advocates, service providers, researchers, educators, administrators, 
policymakers, and others is a critical goal in this mission.
    Research is often not used by decisionmakers either because they 
are not aware of the research findings, or because they lack access to 
research findings in usable forms. In addition, to reap the full 
benefits of the research being disseminated, potential users must have 
information that enables them to judge the quality of the research and 
the strength of the evidence (particularly where there are competing 
research claims) as well as the relevance of the findings or products 
to their particular needs. The information being disseminated must be 
of high quality and be based on scientifically rigorous research.
    In order to increase the impact of NIDRR-funded research, a 
strategic, comprehensive, and ongoing effort is needed to facilitate 
the effective use of research findings. NIDRR has adopted the 
conceptual framework of knowledge translation (KT) to help guide its 
efforts to promote the effective use of research findings. Knowledge 
translation in the NIDRR context refers to a multidimensional, active 
process of ensuring that new knowledge and products gained via research 
and development reach intended audiences; are understood by these 
audiences; and are used to improve participation of individuals with 
disabilities in society. KT encompasses all steps from the creation of 
new knowledge to the synthesis, dissemination, and implementation of 
such knowledge (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2010), and is 
built upon continuing interactions and partnerships within and between 
different groups of knowledge creators and users.
    Systematic review, an important step within the KT process, employs 
an objective and transparent method to identify, evaluate, and 
synthesize the research on a particular topic. A systematic review 
involves a comprehensive and systematic search of the research 
literature on a topic for relevant studies, which are then evaluated 
using pre-determined, objective criteria for relevance and 
methodological rigor. In a systematic review, the evidence from 
relevant studies that meet the pre-determined criteria is then analyzed 
and synthesized, with the standard of evidence applicable to particular 
findings clearly identified. In order to ensure that the information is 
current, systematic reviews should be updated and improved at regular 
intervals. We encourage potential applicants to examine procedures used 
by such organizations as the Campbell Collaboration (http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/), the Cochrane Collaboration (http://www.cochrane.org/), the Department of Education What Works 
Clearinghouse (http://www.w-w-c.org/), and the Evidence for Policy and 
Practice Information and Coordinating Center (http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/) for more information on systematic reviews.
    NIDRR previously funded the National Center for the Dissemination 
of Disability Research (NCDDR) to support and implement its KT efforts. 
The NCDDR made progress in many areas, including identification of 
standards, guidelines, and methods that are appropriate for systematic 
reviews of disability and rehabilitation research; development of 
partnerships with existing collaborations and registries to facilitate 
systematic reviews of disability and rehabilitation research topics; 
development of informational materials on KT; and provision of 
technical assistance on KT methods to NIDRR grantees. With this 
priority, NIDRR proposes to fund a center on knowledge translation for 
disability and rehabilitation research (KTDRR Center). The KTDRR Center 
will continue and expand upon the previous work of the NCDDR by leading 
NIDRR's KT efforts. These KT efforts will allow NIDRR grantees to stay 
current with new advances in KT practices. These practices include, for 
example, methods for systematic reviews of social science and public 
policy research topics for which little experimental evidence exists, 
and emerging strategies and approaches for meaningful inclusion of 
intended audiences in the research process. In addition, the KTDRR 
Center will serve the important role of providing ongoing capacity 
building and technical assistance to support NIDRR's grantees in their 
KT efforts.

References

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2010). More About 
Knowledge Translation at CIHR. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/39033.html.
    NIDRR (2006). Notice of Final Long Range Plan. (71 FR 8165), 
see: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a center on knowledge translation for 
disability and rehabilitation research (KTDRR Center). The purpose of 
the KTDRR Center is to promote the use of high-quality disability and 
rehabilitation research that is relevant to the needs of intended 
audiences by serving as the main knowledge translation (KT) resource 
for other NIDRR grantees, including NIDRR grantees that serve as KT 
centers (NIDRR KT Centers). The KTDRR Center's work will also be 
available to researchers who are not NIDRR grantees, as well as to the 
public.
    For purposes of this priority, KT refers to a multidimensional, 
active process of ensuring that new knowledge and products gained via 
research and development reach intended audiences; are understood by 
these audiences; and are used to improve participation of individuals 
with disabilities in society. KT encompasses all steps from the 
creation of new knowledge to the synthesis, dissemination, and 
implementation of such knowledge, and is built upon continuing 
interactions and partnerships within and between different groups of 
knowledge creators and users.
    Under this priority, the KTDRR Center must contribute to the 
following outcomes:
    (a) Increased use of valid and relevant disability and 
rehabilitation research findings to inform decision-making by 
individuals with disabilities and their family members, disability 
advocates, service providers, researchers, educators, administrators, 
policy-makers, and others. The KTDRR Center must contribute to this 
outcome by--
    (1) Identifying standards, guidelines, and methods that are 
appropriate for

[[Page 32973]]

conducting systematic reviews and developing research syntheses on 
disability and rehabilitation research. NIDRR grantees must be able to 
use these standards, guidelines, and methods to systematically assess 
and describe the rigor of the research, and the quality and relevance 
of the evidence being considered. The standards used to assess and 
describe the rigor of the research and the quality of the evidence must 
be consistent with the definitions of strong and moderate evidence in 
the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for 
discretionary grant programs published in the Federal Register on 
December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486);
    (2) Providing NIDRR grantees with technical assistance on 
conducting systematic reviews and developing research syntheses in the 
grantee's area of expertise, using standards, guidelines, and methods 
that the KTDRR Center identifies pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this 
priority. In so doing, the KTDRR Center must choose appropriate 
standards, guidelines, or methods, taking into account the types of 
research and stages of knowledge development in the substantive area(s) 
being reviewed; and
    (3) Providing NIDRR grantees with technical assistance on how to 
use KT practices that are appropriate for their intended audiences, to 
promote the use of systematic reviews and research syntheses in the 
grantee's area of expertise.
    (b) Increased knowledge of KT principles and use of current KT 
practices among NIDRR grantees, including NIDRR KT Centers. The KTDRR 
Center must contribute to this outcome by--
    (1) Providing NIDRR grantees with technical assistance on how to 
disseminate their research findings using formats and dissemination 
channels that are appropriate for the intended audiences;
    (2) Synthesizing and disseminating information from the KT 
literature that can be used to improve KT practices used by NIDRR 
grantees, including other NIDRR KT Centers;
    (3) Identifying and showcasing promising KT practices employed by 
NIDRR KT Centers, other NIDRR grantees, and other entities to increase 
the use of disability and rehabilitation research findings by 
individuals with disabilities and their family members, disability 
advocates, service providers, researchers, educators, administrators, 
policy-makers, and others;
    (4) Facilitating the exchange of KT information among other NIDRR 
grantees, including other NIDRR KT Centers;
    (5) Organizing and sponsoring events (e.g., conferences, workshops, 
webinars, and other appropriate training events) to build KT capacity 
among NIDRR grantees; and
    (6) Providing technical assistance on KT to other NIDRR KT Centers 
and other NIDRR grantees, upon request of those centers and grantees.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. 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 (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the 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 priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Final Priority

    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice 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 proposed regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
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 proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the costs.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This proposed 
priority will generate new knowledge through research and development. 
Another benefit of this proposed priority is that the establishment of 
new DRRPs will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The 
new DRRP will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new 
information that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities to perform regular activities in the community.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. 
If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System 
at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, 
as well as all other documents of this Department published in the 
Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.


[[Page 32974]]


    Dated: June 2, 2011.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-14024 Filed 6-6-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P