[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 55 (Friday, March 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15766-15768]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06243]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-5775-N-01]


Authority To Accept Unsolicited Proposals for Research 
Partnerships

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and 
Research, HUD.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces that HUD's Office of Policy Development 
and Research (PD&R) has the authority to accept unsolicited research 
proposals that address current research priorities. In accord with 
statutory requirements, the research projects must be funded at least 
50 percent by philanthropic entities or federal, state or local 
government agencies.

DATES: Proposals may be submitted at any time and will be evaluated as 
they are received.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions should be directed by email 
to ResearchPartnerships@hud.gov; by telephone to Madlyn Wohlman-
Rodriguez at 202-402-5939 or Kinnard Wright at 202-402-7495; or by mail 
to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of 
University Partnerships, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 8226, Washington, 
DC 20410, ATTENTION: Research Partnerships. Persons with speech or 
hearing impairments may call the Federal Relay Service TTY at 800-877-
8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, 
(Pub. L. 113-76, approved January 18, 2014) (FY 2014 appropriation) 
authorizes PD&R to enter into non-competitive cooperative agreements 
for research projects that are aligned with PD&R's research priorities 
and where HUD can gain value by having substantial involvement in the 
research activity. Research projects must be funded at least 50 percent 
by philanthropic entities or other federal, state or local government 
agencies.

Research Priorities

    The two primary documents that provide a framework for HUD's 
research priorities are:
    (1) The FY 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, which specifies the 
Department's mission and strategic goals for program activities.
    (2) The HUD Research Roadmap FY 2014-2018 (available at 
www.HUDUSER.org), which takes the strategic plan as a starting point 
and integrates extensive input from diverse stakeholder groups to 
define a five-year research agenda. PD&R has developed and published 
this research agenda to focus research resources on timely, policy-
relevant research questions that lie within the Department's area of 
comparative advantage. This focus on comparative advantage has a 
corollary, which is the accompanying need for PD&R to collaborate with 
other research organizations to support their comparative advantage in 
areas that are mutually important.
    The authority that Congress provided HUD to enter into 
noncompetitive cooperative agreements for research is a central tool 
for fulfilling the Roadmap's vision for research collaboration. HUD may 
enter into noncompetitive cooperative agreements for research proposals 
that inform important policy and program objectives of HUD that are not 
otherwise being addressed and that focus on one of HUD's research 
priorities. The following summarizes these categories, but submitting 
institutions are encouraged to review the full list of priority 
research questions in appendix D of the Roadmap, and the priorities of 
HUD's updated Strategic Plan when it is

[[Page 15767]]

released, in interim or final form, in 2014.
    (1) Homeownership and housing finance. Rapid changes in the housing 
finance sector led to the inflation of the house price bubble and its 
sudden deflation in the 2000s. The U.S. and much of the rest of the 
world continue to deal with the aftermath of the financial crisis 
rooted in the U.S. housing finance sector. HUD is interested in 
research in many areas of homeownership and housing finance, which 
include, but are not limited to: Better predicting a finance-driven 
house price bubble; improving outcomes for struggling homeowners and 
communities in the areas of foreclosures, foreclosure alternatives, 
mortgage modification protocols, and real-estate owned properties; 
finding ways that are safer for both borrowers and lenders to extend 
mortgage credit to first-time homebuyers and homeowners with less-than-
stellar credit; and updating federal support structures for single-
family and multifamily housing finance in a reformed housing finance 
system.
    (2) Affordable rental housing. Providing housing assistance for 
low- and moderate-income families in the rental market is central to 
HUD's mission. HUD is interested in research that improves the 
efficiency and effectiveness of housing programs, which include public 
housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, assisted multifamily programs, and 
FHA insurance. Priority research questions address (among other 
topics):
    (a) Improving program operations and responses to changing market 
conditions;
    (b) identifying rent subsidy approaches that could more efficiently 
and beneficially meet the full range of housing needs; and
    (c) better understanding how HUD's programs are affected by tenant 
and landlord behavior.
    (3) Housing as a platform for improving quality of life. 
Specifically, the Department is interested in how HUD-provided housing 
assistance can be used to accomplish such things as:
    (a) Improve educational outcomes and early learning and 
development;
    (b) improve health outcomes;
    (c) increase economic security and self-sufficiency;
    (d) improve housing stability through supportive services for 
vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with 
disabilities, homeless families and individuals, and those individuals 
and families at risk of becoming homeless; and
    (e) improve public safety.

To evaluate the ability of housing assistance to positively affect 
these various outcomes requires reaching beyond the sphere of housing 
to health, education, and other areas, which may involve targeted 
provision of cost-effective services in association with housing.
    (4) Sustainable and inclusive communities. HUD's goal of advancing 
sustainable and inclusive communities seeks innovative and 
transformational evidence-based approaches to deal with long-standing 
and emerging community development challenges. HUD is interested in 
research questions such as, but not limited to:
    (a) Implementing proven and cost-effective housing technology in 
HUD-funded housing or other housing, including green or sustainable 
construction methods, operations, and products that reduce energy 
consumption and other negative environmental impacts, while improving 
affordability, occupant health or other outcomes;
    (b) understanding and addressing persistent segregation along 
racial, ethnic and economic lines, and the role of mixed-income housing 
and inclusionary zoning in strengthening communities;
    (c) strengthening urban resilience in the face of climate change, 
disasters, pestilence and energy shocks;
    (d) improving integrated and regional planning for land use and 
transportation;
    (e) understanding the role and effect of anchor institutions (for 
example, universities, hospitals and churches) on the revitalization of 
distressed communities, particularly when the anchor institution 
engages the community and forms partnerships with local stakeholders 
for community change.
    (5) HUD Assets: HUD has made, and continues to make, significant 
investments in ``Research Assets'' as described below, including 
program demonstrations and in the production of datasets, that PD&R is 
interested in seeing leveraged in ways that may, or may not, be 
specifically referenced in the Research Roadmap or HUD's Strategic 
Plan. Such studies demonstrate a broader usefulness of HUD's Research 
Assets that further increases the return on these investments for the 
taxpayer.

HUD's Research Assets

    In considering potential research partnerships, PD&R urges 
organizations to consider ways to take advantage of key research assets 
that the Research Roadmap identifies as part of HUD's comparative 
advantage.
    (1) HUD demonstrations. HUD values demonstrations as a method for 
evaluating new policy and program initiatives and significantly 
advancing evidence-based policy, especially when rigorous random-
assignment methods are feasible. HUD also is interested in research 
opportunities that take advantage of completed and ongoing 
demonstrations. For example, the Moving to Opportunity demonstration 
was completed in 2011, but additional policy questions remain that 
could be answered using the existing data. Other demonstrations that 
are underway include Choice Neighborhoods, the Rental Assistance 
Demonstration, and the Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration. The 
Department's ability to modify or influence program policy to 
demonstrate and evaluate the effect of innovations is a key 
Departmental research asset. HUD also is interested in research 
opportunities that take advantage of completed and ongoing 
demonstrations.
    (2) HUD data infrastructure. HUD makes significant investments to 
improve and support the nation's housing data, so submitting 
institutions are encouraged to consider opportunities to use HUD-
sponsored survey data and administrative data. The American Housing 
Survey (AHS) is one of HUD's largest research investments, and the AHS 
provides a wealth of data on size and composition of the nation's 
housing inventory that researchers could use more effectively to 
address questions about housing market dynamics. The AHS, the 2012 
Rental Housing Finance Survey, and other datasets sponsored by PD&R, 
along with HUD administrative data made available by PD&R, represent 
HUD research assets that PD&R seeks to exploit through Research 
Partnerships. Data assets are described at http://www.huduser.org/portal/pdrdatas_landing.html.

Cost Sharing

    Cost sharing is required for research projects to be eligible for 
funding through HUD's non-competitive cooperative agreement authority. 
In accordance with the 2012 Appropriations Act, at least 50 percent of 
the total estimated cost of the project must come from a philanthropic 
entity, other federal, state or local government agency, or any 
combination of these partners. For the purposes of the cost-sharing 
requirement, HUD defines a philanthropic entity as the subset of 
501(c)(3) organizations that directly fund research activities. These 
include

[[Page 15768]]

private foundations; educational institutions that may have a separate 
foundation, public charities, and operating foundations. Philanthropic 
entities may include foreign entities. HUD will not count waiver of 
overhead or similar costs as cost-sharing contributions.

Proposals

    Proposals should contain sufficient information for PD&R to 
identify whether the research would meet statutory requirements for 
cost sharing and alignment with the research priorities identified 
above. Additionally, proposals should include the name, title and 
telephone number of an individual that PD&R may contact in the event of 
any questions about the proposal. Proposals for research partnerships 
that have already been submitted to HUD as part of a grant competition 
are ineligible as the subject of a non-competitive cooperative 
agreement.

Protection of Human Research Subjects

    HUD will require successful applicants to comply with requirements 
of the federal Common Rule (45 CFR part 46) for protecting human 
research subjects when applicable. Compliance may require grantees to 
seek review and approval of research plans by an Institutional Review 
Board (IRB). For research requiring an IRB review, work plans shall 
identify the IRB that the awardee will use and factor in the necessary 
cost and time involved in that review. HUD will require awardees to 
provide appropriate assurances and certifications of compliance before 
human subjects research begins.

Proposal Review

    Proposals will be reviewed by individuals who are knowledgeable in 
the field covered by the research proposal. An Advisory Committee that 
includes the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for the Office of 
Research, Evaluation and Monitoring, the DAS for the Office of Policy 
Development, the DAS for the Office of Economic Affairs, the DAS for 
the Office of University Partnerships, and the DAS for the Office of 
International and Philanthropic Innovation, or any delegate asked to 
act on his or her behalf, will review proposals and make 
recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for PD&R. As required by the 
statutory authority within the appropriations bill, HUD will report 
each award provided through a cooperative agreement in the Federal 
Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Sub-award Reporting System 
created under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act 
of 2006.

Data Only Requests

    For those who are interested in requesting only HUD data (no 
funds), a HUD data license agreement will be required. To obtain a copy 
of the data license application go to the following Web site: http://www.huduser.org/portal/research/pdr_data-license.html. Please be 
advised that a data license will only be considered for research that 
is in alignment with one of the research priorities listed in this 
notice. Applications may be submitted to HUD at DataLicense@hud.gov. 
Upon receipt, the application will be forwarded to the appropriate PD&R 
office for review and approval.

    Dated: March 14, 2014.
Jean Lin Pao,
General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.
[FR Doc. 2014-06243 Filed 3-20-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P