[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 88 (Tuesday, May 7, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 26513-26518]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10829]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[CFDA Numbers: 84.133A-3 and 84.133A-9; 84.133A-4 and 84.133A-10; and 
84.133A-5 and 84.133A-11]


Final Priorities and Definitions--NIDRR DRRP--Community Living 
and Participation, Health and Function, and Employment of Individuals 
With Disabilities

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

ACTION: Final priorities and definitions.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces priorities and definitions for the 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program 
administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research (NIDRR). Specifically, we announce priorities and definitions 
for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on Community 
Living and Participation of Individuals with Disabilities (Priority 1), 
Health and Function of Individuals with Disabilities (Priority 2), and 
Employment of Individuals with Disabilities (Priority 3).
    If an applicant proposes to conduct research under these 
priorities, the research must be focused on one of the four stages of 
research defined in this notice of final priorities and definitions.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services may use these priorities and definitions 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 these 
priorities to improve community living and participation, health and 
function, and employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities and definitions are effective 
June 6, 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: [email protected].
    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).

DRRPs

    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. An applicant under this program must demonstrate 
in its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs 
of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities and definitions for 
this program in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013 (78 FR 5330). 
That notice contained background information and our reasons for 
proposing these particular priorities and definitions.
    There are differences between the notice of proposed priorities and 
definitions and this notice of final priorities and definitions as 
discussed in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section elsewhere in 
this notice.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of 
proposed priorities and definitions, seven parties submitted comments 
on the proposed priorities.
    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 or definitions.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in these priorities since publication of the notice of 
proposed priorities and definitions follows.

DRRP on Community Living and Participation of Individuals With 
Disabilities (Priority 1)

    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR revise the priority 
to require applicants to include Family-to-Family Health Information 
Centers, Parent Training and Information Centers, and Centers for 
Independent Living among the stakeholders under paragraph (1)(d).
    Discussion: Applicants can propose collaboration with Family-to-
Family Health Information Centers, Parent Training and Information 
Centers, and Centers for Independent Living. However, NIDRR does not 
believe that it should specify the stakeholders that applicants must 
involve in their research and development activities. The stakeholders 
recommended by the commenter may not be relevant to many of the 
research or development topics that could be proposed under this 
priority, and we do not want to limit the number and breadth of 
applications that could be submitted. The peer review process will 
determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters noted that socioeconomic barriers often 
magnify disability-related barriers to community living and 
participation. These commenters recommended that NIDRR focus this 
priority on the development of, or research on, interventions for 
improving community living and participation outcomes for low income 
and ethnic minority individuals with disabilities.
    Discussion: Applicants are free to specify their target population 
as individuals with disabilities who are ethnic minorities or who have 
low income. The priority areas under paragraph (a) allow applicants to 
specify target populations of individuals with disabilities generally 
or within specific disability or demographic groups. NIDRR does not 
want to limit the

[[Page 26514]]

number and breadth of applications submitted under this priority by 
further specifying the target population. The peer review process will 
determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that NIDRR focus this 
priority on the use of social-networking tools to enhance community 
living and participation outcomes among people with disabilities.
    Discussion: Applicants are free to propose research or development 
projects that focus on the use of social-networking tools to enhance 
community living and participation among individuals with disabilities. 
A focus on social-networking tools could be proposed under many of the 
priority areas that are listed under paragraph (1)(a). However, we do 
not want to limit the number and breadth of applications submitted 
under this priority by requiring all applicants to focus their proposed 
research or development activities on social-networking tools. The peer 
review process will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters recommended that NIDRR should focus the 
priority on building the evidence base for peer mentoring and related 
community supports that are designed to enhance community living and 
participation outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
    Discussion: Applicants are free to propose research or development 
projects that focus on peer mentoring and related community supports. A 
focus on peer mentoring and related community supports could be 
proposed under many of the priority areas that are listed under 
paragraph (1)(a). However, we do not want to limit the number and 
breadth of applications submitted under this priority area by requiring 
all applicants to focus their proposed research or development 
activities on peer mentoring or related supports. The peer review 
process will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.

Health and Function of Individuals With Disabilities (Priority 2)

    Comment: One commenter suggested that NIDRR revise paragraph 
(1)(a)(iv) to require applicants to focus on the Affordable Care Act 
(ACA) as a policy contributing to improved health and function of 
individuals with disabilities. Further, the commenter suggested that 
the priority require applicants to conduct research on programs that 
highlight State-level implications of the ACA.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that research related to ACA 
implementation at the State level is timely and potentially relevant to 
the health and function outcomes of individuals with disabilities. 
Applicants are free to propose research related to the ACA. However, 
NIDRR does not believe it should require applicants to focus on 
specific policies under paragraph (1)(a)(iv) or specify whether the 
research should be at the local, State, or national level. We also do 
not want to limit the number and breadth of applications submitted 
under this priority by precluding research or development related to 
other policies that are relevant to the health and function of 
individuals with disabilities. The peer review process will determine 
the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: In relation to paragraph (1)(a)(vi) of the proposed 
priority, one commenter noted that transitions from pediatric to adult 
health care services and providers can be complex for youth with 
disabilities. To address this complexity, the commenter recommended 
that NIDRR revise the priority to require applicants to include Family-
to-Family Health Information Centers and Centers for Independent Living 
among the stakeholders under paragraph (1)(d).
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that health care transitions may be a good 
topic for research or development activities under paragraph 
(1)(a)(vi). Applicants choosing to address this priority area are free 
to propose collaboration with Family-to-Family Health Information 
Centers and Centers for Independent Living. However, NIDRR does not 
want to further specify the stakeholders that applicants must involve 
in their research and development activities. The stakeholders 
recommended by the commenter may not be relevant to many of the 
research or development topics that could be proposed under this 
priority, and we do not want to limit the number and breadth of 
applications that could be submitted. The peer review process will 
determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.

DRRP on Employment of Individuals With Disabilities (Priority 3)

    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR revise the priority 
to require applicants to include Parent Training and Information 
Centers and Centers for Independent Living among the stakeholders under 
paragraph (1)(d).
    Discussion: Applicants are free to propose collaboration with 
Parent Training and Information Centers and Centers for Independent 
Living. However, NIDRR does not believe it should further specify the 
stakeholders that applicants must involve in their research and 
development activities. The stakeholders recommended by the commenter 
may not be relevant to many of the research or development topics that 
could be proposed under this priority. We do not want to limit the 
number and breadth of applications that could be submitted under this 
priority. The peer review process will determine the merits of each 
proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comments on all three priorities:
    Comment: One commenter noted that the best way to improve outcomes 
of individuals with disabilities is through local-level collaboration 
and planning. This commenter suggested that all three priorities 
require applicants to collaborate with stakeholders at the local level, 
including church groups, volunteer organizations, and individuals with 
disabilities and their families.
    Discussion: Generally, this suggestion is consistent with each 
priority's requirement that the DRRPs involve key stakeholder groups in 
their research or development activities. However, NIDRR does not 
believe it should specify that stakeholder involvement must occur at 
the local level since the involvement of local stakeholders might not 
be relevant to the proposed research. We expect applicants to involve 
stakeholders whose contributions will enhance the outcomes of the 
research investment. The peer review process will determine the merits 
of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested NIDRR include a priority area for 
transition-aged youth in each of the three proposed priorities. The 
commenter recommended that NIDRR revise this priority area in each 
priority to specify that transition age begins at 14.
    Discussion: NIDRR has purposefully written this and other priority 
areas broadly so that applicants may specify the details of their 
proposed research or development projects according to their knowledge 
and expertise and the specific needs for knowledge that they see in 
their respective fields. We do not want to limit the number and breadth 
of applications submitted by defining transition-age too specifically. 
Applicants who respond under this priority area are free to specify the 
age range that defines transition-aged youth. The peer review process 
will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.

[[Page 26515]]

    Comment: None.
    Discussion: NIDRR has determined that the priority area, 
``research, knowledge translation, and capacity building,'' described 
in paragraph (1)(a)(v) of each of the three priorities does not belong 
in the list of possible priority areas in which an applicant may 
propose to conduct research or development activities in our field-
initiated competitions. The other priority areas listed in paragraph 
(1)(a) are examples of substantive topics on which the project may 
focus its research or development activities. Further, paragraph (1)(c) 
already requires grantees to conduct knowledge translation activities 
in order to facilitate use of interventions, programs, technologies or 
products resulting from research or development activities supported by 
the project.
    Changes: NIDRR has removed paragraph (1)(a)(v) from each of the 
three priorities and renumbered the paragraph or paragraphs that follow 
accordingly.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: NIDRR is making minor wording adjustments to the 
introductory text of paragraph (1)(a) of each priority, and to the 
priority areas that follow the introductory text of paragraph (1)(a). 
As originally written, each broad topic area repeated the same language 
about the target audience, namely, ``individuals with disabilities as a 
group or on individuals in specific disability or demographic 
subpopulations of individuals with disabilities.'' This language was 
repeated subsequently in each of the priority areas. NIDRR is 
simplifying the priority by identifying the target population in the 
overall introduction and eliminating it from each specific priority 
area.
    Changes: NIDRR has amended paragraph (1)(a) and its subordinate 
paragraph in each of the three priorities, so that it is clear to 
applicants that they may focus on individuals with disabilities as a 
group or on individuals in specific disability or demographic 
subpopulations of individuals with disabilities.
    Comments on the proposed definitions.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR modify the 
definitions of ``intervention development'' and ``intervention 
efficacy'' to emphasize that interventions may be more or less 
efficacious depending on the socio-demographic characteristics of the 
target population.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees with the commenter's rational but believes 
that the proposed definitions of ``intervention development'' and 
``intervention efficacy'' already include these points and thus do not 
need to be changed. For example, the definitions include the point that 
``intervention development'' involves specifying target populations. 
The definitions also state that ``intervention efficacy'' research may 
``identify factors or individual characteristics that affect the 
relationship between the intervention and outcomes.'' Because these 
definitions already allow for the type of sub-population analysis and 
findings that the commenter suggests, we are not making changes to 
these definitions.
    Changes: None.
    FINAL PRIORITIES:
    DRRPs on Community Living and Participation of Individuals with 
Disabilities; Health and Function of Individuals with Disabilities; and 
Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.

    Note:  Each of these priorities is associated with two CFDA 
numbers--one for use by applicants who are proposing research 
activities, and one for use by applicants who are proposing 
development activities. We describe the appropriate use of these 
CFDA numbers in the Notice Inviting Applications that is published 
elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Priority 1--DRRP on Community Living and Participation of Individuals 
With Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a Disability Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) on Community Living and Participation of 
Individuals with Disabilities. The DRRPs must contribute to the outcome 
of maximizing the community living and participation outcomes of 
individuals with disabilities.
    (1) To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP must--
    (a) Conduct either research activities or development activities, 
in one or more of the following priority areas, focusing on individuals 
with disabilities as a group or on individuals in specific disability 
or demographic subpopulations of individuals with disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve community living and participation 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved community living 
and participation outcomes for individuals with disabilities. 
Interventions include any strategy, practice, program, policy, or tool 
that, when implemented as intended, contributes to improvements in 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government policies and programs on community 
living and participation outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved community 
living and participation outcomes for transition-aged youth with 
disabilities;
    (b) If conducting research under paragraph (1)(a) of this priority, 
focus its research on a specific stage of research. If the DRRP is to 
conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage, 
including research that progresses from one stage to another, those 
stages must be clearly specified. These stages, exploration and 
discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-
up evaluation, are defined in this notice;
    (c) Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., training, 
technical assistance, utilization, dissemination) in order to 
facilitate stakeholder (e.g., individuals with disabilities, employers, 
policymakers, practitioners) use of the interventions, programs, 
technologies, or products that resulted from the research or 
development activities conducted under paragraph (1)(a) of this 
priority; and
    (d) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (1)(a) of this priority in order to maximize the 
relevance and usability of the research or development products to be 
developed under this priority.

Priority 2--Health and Function of Individuals With Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) on Health and Function of Individuals with 
Disabilities. The DRRPs must contribute to the outcome of maximizing 
health and function outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
    (1) To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP must--
    (a) Conduct either research activities or development activities in 
one or more of the following priority areas, focusing on individuals 
with disabilities as a group or on individuals in specific disability 
or demographic subpopulations of individuals with disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve health and function outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities.

[[Page 26516]]

    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
access to rehabilitation and healthcare and improved health and 
function outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved health and function 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Interventions include any 
strategy, practice, program, policy, or tool that, when implemented as 
intended, contributes to improvements in outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government policies and programs on health care 
access and on health and function outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved health and 
function outcomes for transition-aged youth with disabilities;
    (b) If conducting research under paragraph (1)(a) of this priority, 
focus its research on a specific stage of research. If the DRRP is to 
conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage, 
including research that progresses from one stage to another, those 
stages must be clearly specified. These stages, exploration and 
discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-
up evaluation, are defined in this notice;
    (c) Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., training, 
technical assistance, utilization, dissemination) in order to 
facilitate stakeholder (e.g., individuals with disabilities, employers, 
policymakers, practitioners) use of the interventions, programs, 
technologies, or products that resulted from the research or 
development activities conducted under paragraph (1)(a) of this 
priority; and
    (d) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (1)(a) of this priority in order to maximize the 
relevance and usability of the research or development products to be 
developed under this priority.

Priority 3--DRRP on Employment of Individuals With Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) on Employment of Individuals with Disabilities. 
The DRRPs must contribute to the outcome of maximizing employment 
outcomes of individuals with disabilities.
    (1) To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP must--
    (a) Conduct either research activities or development activities, 
in one or more of the following priority areas, focusing on individuals 
with disabilities as a group or on individuals in specific disability 
or demographic subpopulations of individuals with disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved employment outcomes 
for individuals with disabilities. Interventions include any strategy, 
practice, program, policy, or tool that, when implemented as intended, 
contributes to improvements in outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government policies and programs on employment 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved employment 
outcomes for transition-aged youth with disabilities.
    (vi) Vocational rehabilitation (VR) practices that contribute to 
improved employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities;
    (b) If conducting research under paragraph(1)(a) of this priority, 
focus its research on a specific stage of research. If the DRRP is to 
conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage, 
including research that progresses from one stage to another, those 
stages must be clearly specified. These stages, exploration and 
discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-
up evaluation, are defined in this notice;
    (c) Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., training, 
technical assistance, utilization, dissemination) in order to 
facilitate stakeholder (e.g., individuals with disabilities, employers, 
policymakers, practitioners) use of the interventions, programs, 
technologies, or products that resulted from the research activities, 
development activities, or both, conducted under paragraph (1)(a) of 
this priority; and
    (d) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraphs (1)(a) of this priority in order to maximize the 
relevance and usability of the research or development products to be 
developed under this priority.
    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 DEFINITIONS:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes the following definitions for this program. We may 
apply one or more of these definition in any year in which this program 
is in effect.
    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.
    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 interventions 
study. Results from this stage of research may be used to inform the 
design of a study to test the efficacy of an intervention.
    Intervention efficacy means the stage of research during which a 
project

[[Page 26517]]

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.
    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. 
It 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.
    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 one or more of these priorities and definitions, 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 these final priorities and definitions only on a 
reasoned determination that their benefits justify their 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.
    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. These final 
priorities and definitions will generate new knowledge through research 
and development.
    Another benefit of these final priorities is that establishing new 
DRRPs will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new 
DRRPs 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 
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

[[Page 26518]]

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 2, 2013.
Michael K. Yudin,
Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of 
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-10829 Filed 5-6-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P