[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 30 (Tuesday, February 14, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8234-8236]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-3416]



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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, 
etc.

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

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

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    Overview Information:
    National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project--Center on Knowledge 
Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-13.

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) administered by the National 
Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Specifically, 
this notice announces 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) 2012 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective March 15, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 5133, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by 
email: 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 final priority (NFP) 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 8166), 
can be accessed at the following Web site: 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) 
determine effective methods to improve community living, employment, 
and health outcomes for underserved populations; (3) identify research 
gaps; (4) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and 
(5) disseminate findings.
    This notice announces a priority that NIDRR intends to use for a 
DRRP competition in FY 2012 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.
    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 authorized under the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)

    The purpose of DRRPs, which are funded under NIDRR's Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to improve the 
effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended, by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation 
technologies that advance a wide range of independent living and 
employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially 
individuals with the most severe disabilities. DRRPs carry out one or 
more of the following types of activities, as specified and defined in 
34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: research, training, demonstration, 
development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. 
Additional information on DRRPs can be found at: www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.

    Program Authority:  29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priority for this program in the 
Federal Register on June 7, 2011 (76 FR 32971). That notice contained 
background information and our reasons for proposing this particular 
priority.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of 
proposed priority, four parties submitted comments on the proposed 
priority.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. In 
addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not 
directly related to the proposed priority.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priority since publication of the notice of 
proposed priority follows.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that the priority focus on 
activities to promote the use of research findings to shape service 
delivery systems and to improve outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities. One of these commenters suggested that the priority focus 
specifically on service delivery systems for individuals with 
developmental disabilities.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that service delivery systems for 
individuals with disabilities should be informed and shaped by 
disability and rehabilitation research in order to improve outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities. Nothing in the priority precludes 
applicants from specifically focusing on service delivery systems--
including service delivery systems for individuals with developmental 
disabilities--in their knowledge translation work. Given the wide range 
of intended audiences of disability and rehabilitation research listed 
in the priority, NIDRR does not have a sufficient basis for requiring 
all applicants to focus specifically on service delivery systems or 
service delivery systems for individuals with developmental 
disabilities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that the priority be restructured 
as a network of smaller grants with the goal of disseminating 
disability and rehabilitation research to meet the information needs of 
a wide range of audiences.
    Discussion: NIDRR does not agree that a network of smaller grants 
would better serve the wide range of intended audiences of disability 
and rehabilitation research. NIDRR intends the KTDRR Center to serve as 
the main knowledge translation (KT) resource for other NIDRR grantees, 
including NIDRR grantees that serve as KT Centers. NIDRR grantees 
conduct research on a broad range of disability and rehabilitation 
topics, and the results of NIDRR research are applicable to a wide 
range of audiences. Smaller grants would not be sufficient to ensure 
that

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grantees have the resources and levels of KT expertise that are 
necessary to increase the use of disability and rehabilitation research 
results by the wide range of intended audiences.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the KTDRR Center actively 
consider business-specific information needs in order to promote 
employment for people with disabilities.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that businesses and other types of 
employers are important audiences for a wide range of disability and 
rehabilitation research and that KT efforts should take their 
information needs into account. A significant percentage of NIDRR 
grants focus on employment of individuals with disabilities. The 
findings from these and other NIDRR grants are relevant to businesses 
and other types of employers and can potentially be used to promote 
employment among individuals with disabilities.
    Changes: In the relevant paragraphs, paragraphs (a) and (b)(3), 
NIDRR has added ``employers'' to the suggested list of intended 
audiences of disability and rehabilitation research.
    Comment: None
    Discussion: NIDRR has determined that the requirement for the 
provision of technical assistance under paragraph (b)(1) is redundant 
with the more broadly stated technical assistance requirement under 
paragraph (b)(6).
    Changes: NIDRR has deleted paragraph (b)(1), and re-numbered 
paragraph (b) accordingly.
    Final Priority:

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

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces 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, employers, 
administrators, policy-makers, and others. The KTDRR Center must 
contribute to this outcome by--
    (1) Identifying standards, guidelines, and methods that are 
appropriate for 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), and corrected on May 12, 
2011 (76 FR 27637);
    (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) 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;
    (2) 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, employers, 
administrators, policy-makers, and others;
    (3) Facilitating the exchange of KT information among other NIDRR 
grantees, including other NIDRR KT Centers;
    (4) Organizing and sponsoring events (e.g., conferences, workshops, 
Webinars, and other appropriate training events) to build KT capacity 
among NIDRR grantees; and
    (5) 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)).
    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

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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 final regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this final 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 final regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs.
    Summary of potential 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 final priority 
will generate new knowledge through research and development. Another 
benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of new DRRPs 
will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP 
will provide support and assistance for NIDRR grantees as they 
generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will 
improve the options for individuals with disabilities to perform 
activities of their choice in the community.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) 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.

    Dated: February 9, 2012.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2012-3416 Filed 2-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P