[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 97 (Monday, May 20, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29237-29239]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-11978]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[CFDA Number: 84.133B-9]


Final Priority; National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

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

ACTION: Final priority.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR). Specifically, we announce a priority for a Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Community Living and 
Participation for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities. The 
Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal 
year (FY) 2013 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority to improve 
outcomes among individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective June 19, 2013.

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) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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).

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    The purpose of the RRTCs, which are funded through the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve 
the goals of the Rehabilitation Act through advanced research, 
training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in general 
problem areas, as specified by NIDRR. These activities are designed to 
benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with 
disabilities, and the family members or other authorized 
representatives of individuals with disabilities. Additional 
information on the RRTC program can be found at: www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#RRTC.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priority in the Federal Register 
on February 28, 2013 (78 FR 13597). That notice contained background 
information and our reasons for proposing the particular priority.
    There are differences between the notice of proposed priority and 
this notice of final priority as discussed under Analysis of Comments 
and Changes.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of 
proposed priority, two parties submitted comments on the proposed 
priority. One of these commenters wrote in support of the priority, and 
one had a specific comment and recommendation.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. 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 proposed 
priority follows.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR require the RRTC to 
include individuals with disabilities in its target audience as it 
disseminates educational materials and research findings under 
paragraph (c)(iii) of the priority.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the RRTC must provide information to 
individuals with disabilities as part of its mission to serve as a 
national resource center on community living and participation for 
individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Paragraph (c)(i) of the 
priority requires the RRTC to provide information and technical 
assistance to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and their 
representatives. Paragraph (c)(iv) requires the RRTC to involve key 
stakeholders in the conduct of its research activities in order to 
maximize the relevance and usability of the findings.
    Changes: To emphasize the importance of including individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities in the activities of this RRTC, we added ``key 
stakeholders, including individuals with disabilities'' as a 
requirement of dissemination specified in paragraph (c)(iii) and we 
clarified that the term ``key stakeholders'' in paragraph (c)(iv) 
includes individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

Final Priority

Background

    This final priority is in concert with NIDRR's Long-Range Plan for 
Fiscal Years 2013-2017 (Plan). The Plan, which was published in the 
Federal Register on April 4, 2013 (78 FR 20299), can be accessed on the 
Internet at the following site: www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to improve the 
health and functioning, employment, and community living and 
participation of individuals with disabilities through comprehensive 
programs of research, engineering, training, technical assistance, and 
knowledge translation and dissemination. The Plan reflects NIDRR's 
commitment to quality, relevance, and balance of its programs to ensure 
appropriate attention to all aspects of well-being of individuals with 
disabilities and to all types and degrees of disability.
    This priority reflects a major area or domain of NIDRR's research 
agenda (community living and participation), combined with a specific 
broad

[[Page 29238]]

disability population (psychiatric disability).

Definitions

    The research that is proposed under this priority must be focused 
on one or more stages of research. If the RRTC is to conduct research 
that can be categorized under more than one research stage, or research 
that progresses from one stage to another, those research stages must 
be clearly specified. For the purposes of this priority, the stages of 
research, which we published for comment on January 25, 2013 (78 FR 
5330), are:
    (i) Exploration and Discovery means the stage of research that 
generates hypotheses or theories by conducting new and refined analyses 
of data, producing observational findings, and creating other sources 
of research-based information. This research stage may include 
identifying or describing the barriers to and facilitators of improved 
outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as well as identifying or 
describing existing practices, programs, or policies that are 
associated with important aspects of the lives of individuals with 
disabilities. Results achieved under this stage of research may inform 
the development of interventions or lead to evaluations of 
interventions or policies. The results of the exploration and discovery 
stage of research may also be used to inform decisions or priorities.
    (ii) Intervention Development means the stage of research that 
focuses on generating and testing interventions that have the potential 
to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Intervention 
development involves determining the active components of possible 
interventions, developing measures that would be required to illustrate 
outcomes, specifying target populations, conducting field tests, and 
assessing the feasibility of conducting a well-designed intervention 
study. Results from this stage of research may be used to inform the 
design of a study to test the efficacy of an intervention.
    (iii) Intervention Efficacy means the stage of research during 
which a project evaluates and tests whether an intervention is 
feasible, practical, and has the potential to yield positive outcomes 
for individuals with disabilities. Efficacy research may assess the 
strength of the relationships between an intervention and outcomes, and 
may identify factors or individual characteristics that affect the 
relationship between the intervention and outcomes. Efficacy research 
can inform decisions about whether there is sufficient evidence to 
support ``scaling-up'' an intervention to other sites and contexts. 
This stage of research can include assessing the training needed for 
wide-scale implementation of the intervention, and approaches to 
evaluation of the intervention in real world applications.
    (iv) Scale-Up Evaluation means the stage of research during which a 
project analyzes whether an intervention is effective in producing 
improved outcomes for individuals with disabilities when implemented in 
a real-world setting. During this stage of research, a project tests 
the outcomes of an evidence-based intervention in different settings. 
The project examines the challenges to successful replication of the 
intervention, and the circumstances and activities that contribute to 
successful adoption of the intervention in real-world settings. This 
stage of research may also include well-designed studies of an 
intervention that has been widely adopted in practice, but that lacks a 
sufficient evidence-base to demonstrate its effectiveness.
    Priority--RRTC on Community Living and Participation for 
Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Community Living and 
Participation for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities.
    The RRTC must contribute to improving the community living and 
participation outcomes of individuals with psychiatric disabilities by:
    (a) Conducting research activities in one or more of the following 
priority areas, focusing on individuals with psychiatric disabilities 
as a group or on individuals in specific disability or demographic 
subpopulations of individuals with psychiatric disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve community living and participation 
outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved community living 
and participation outcomes for individuals with psychiatric 
disabilities. Interventions include any strategy, practice, program, 
policy, or tool that, when implemented as intended, contributes to 
improvements in outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government practices, policies, and programs on 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved community 
living and participation outcomes for transition-aged youth with 
psychiatric disabilities;
    (b) Focusing research on one or more specific stages of research. 
If the RRTC plans to conduct research that can be categorized under 
more than one of the research stages, or research that progresses from 
one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These 
stages and their definitions are provided at the beginning of the Final 
Priority section in this notice; and
    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to community 
living and participation for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, 
their families, service and support providers, and other stakeholders 
by conducting knowledge translation activities that include, but are 
not limited to:
    (i) Providing information and technical assistance to service 
providers, individuals with psychiatric disabilities and their 
representatives, and other key stakeholders;
    (ii) Providing training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to rehabilitation service providers and other 
disability service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of 
services to individuals with psychiatric disabilities. This training 
may be provided through conferences, workshops, public education 
programs, in-service training programs, and similar activities;
    (iii) Disseminating research-based information and materials 
related to community living and participation for individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities to key stakeholders, including individuals 
with psychiatric disabilities; and
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups, including individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities, in the activities conducted under paragraph 
(a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of the new 
knowledge generated by the RRTC.

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

[[Page 29239]]

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 to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.
    We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive 
Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing this final priority only on a reasoned determination 
that its benefits justify its costs. In choosing among alternative 
regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net 
benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes 
that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in 
Executive Order 13563.
    We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has 
assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and 
qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those 
resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as 
necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Program have been well established over the years, as 
projects similar to the one envisioned by the final priority have been 
completed successfully. The new RRTC will generate, and promote the use 
of, new knowledge that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities to perform regular 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) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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: 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: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: May 15, 2013.
Michael K. Yudin,
Delegated the authority to perform the functions and the duties of the 
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-11978 Filed 5-17-13; 8:45 am]
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