[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 90 (Thursday, May 9, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27038-27044]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-11086]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[CFDA Numbers: 84.133B-3, 84.133B-4, 84.133B-5, and 84.133B-6]


Final Priorities; 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 priorities.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces priorities 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 for Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) on Community Living and 
Participation for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (Priority 1), 
Employment of Individuals with Physical Disabilities (Priority 2), 
Health and Function of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental 
Disabilities (Priority 3), and Community Living and Participation for 
Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Priority 
4). 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. The Assistant Secretary may use these 
priorities 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 outcomes among individuals 
with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities are effective June 10, 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

[[Page 27039]]

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, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized 
under 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)(A).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities in the Federal 
Register on February 12, 2013 (78 FR 9869). That notice contained 
background information and our reasons for proposing these particular 
priorities.
    There are differences between the notice of proposed priorities and 
this notice of final priorities as discussed in the Analysis of 
Comments and Changes of this notice. Public Comment: In response to our 
invitation in the notice of proposed priorities, eight 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 
priorities.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priorities since publication of the notice of 
proposed priorities follows.

RRTC on Community Living and Participation for Individuals With 
Physical Disabilities (Priority 1)

    We received no comments on this priority.

RRTC on Employment of Individuals With Physical Disabilities (Priority 
2)

    Comment: One commenter suggested that NIDRR modify the priority to 
focus research on initiatives for the employment of people with 
physical disabilities by private industry and entrepreneurs.
    Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes an applicant from 
proposing research on the efforts of private industry and entrepreneurs 
to hire people with disabilities. However, NIDRR does not wish to 
further specify the research requirements in the way suggested by the 
commenter and thereby limit the number and breadth of applications 
submitted under this priority. The peer review process will determine 
the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters noted that this employment-focused RRTC 
priority is aimed only at improving outcomes for individuals with 
physical disabilities. These commenters discussed the importance of 
employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental 
disabilities (ID/DD) and requested that individuals with ID/DD be 
included in the target population for this employment priority.
    Discussion: By focusing the priority on employment outcomes for 
individuals with physical disabilities, NIDRR did not intend to convey 
that employment is not important to individuals in other target 
populations. Rather, we are following the framework described in 
NIDRR's Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2013-2017 (78 FR 20299) 
(Plan), in which we discuss our commitment to funding RRTCs that are 
balanced across NIDRR's three domains (employment, health and function, 
and community living and participation), and across broad target 
populations. In future years, NIDRR plans to fund employment centers 
that are focused on each of the specific target populations described 
in the Plan, including individuals with ID/DD.
    Changes: None.

RRTC on Health and Function of Individuals With Intellectual and 
Developmental Disabilities (Priority 3)

    We received no comments on this priority.

RRTC on Community Living and Participation for Individuals With 
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Priority 4)

    Comment: Four commenters discussed the importance of employment 
outcomes for individuals with ID/DD. These commenters requested that 
NIDRR include employment as a specific area of community living 
research, either by expanding the scope of paragraph (a) or by 
expanding the list of priority areas under (a) to include employment.
    Discussion: In our Plan, NIDRR distinguishes between ``employment 
outcomes'' and ``community living and participation outcomes.'' These 
outcome domains define specific fields of research and different 
service delivery systems and programs. In future years, NIDRR plans to 
fund RRTCs focused on the employment of the target populations 
identified in the Plan, including individuals with ID/DD. Under this 
priority, NIDRR seeks to fund research, training, technical assistance, 
and related activities that are focused specifically on improving 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with ID/DD. 
While some applicants may choose to include employment as an outcome 
that is integral to community living and participation, we do not want 
to limit the number and breadth of applications submitted under this 
priority by requiring all applicants to do so. The peer review process 
will determine the merits of each application.
    Changes: None.

Comments on All Four Priorities

    Comment: Two commenters noted that each of the four RRTC priorities 
includes a requirement (paragraph (c)(ii)) to provide training to 
rehabilitation providers and other disability service providers, in 
order to facilitate more effective delivery of services. These 
commenters suggested that by limiting the recipients of the required 
training to service providers, NIDRR may be limiting the knowledge that 
is available to consumers, and reinforcing the knowledge barrier 
between service providers and consumers. These commenters suggested 
that NIDRR modify paragraph (c)(ii) in each priority to require the 
RRTCs to provide training to consumers and service providers.
    Discussion: The requirements in paragraph (c)(ii) are based 
directly on the Federal regulations that govern our administration of 
the RRTC program. The regulations in 34 CFR 350.22(b)(1) require that 
training be provided to

[[Page 27040]]

rehabilitation personnel or rehabilitation research personnel. We also 
note that recipients of training under the RRTC program may include 
rehabilitation or rehabilitation research personnel who have 
disabilities. At the same time, nothing in these regulations or in the 
priorities precludes applicants from proposing to provide training to 
individuals with disabilities, whether or not they are rehabilitation 
or rehabilitation research personnel.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters raised questions about the broad target 
populations that are identified in each of the four priorities. The 
commenters noted that people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or 
stroke have acquired cognitive or intellectual disabilities but often 
receive clinical services from rehabilitation professionals with 
expertise in physical disabilities. The commenters asked whether it 
would be more appropriate to submit an application under the priority 
for an RRTC on community living and participation for people with 
physical disabilities (Priority 1) or the priority for an RRTC on 
community living and participation for people with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities (Priority 4). The commenters suggested that 
NIDRR clarify the language related to these target populations so that 
applicants apply under the correct priority.
    Discussion: Individuals with disabling conditions, including TBI 
and stroke, could be considered in multiple target populations, 
including individuals with physical disabilities. An individual 
experiencing TBI as a child or youth might also be considered an 
individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities, assuming 
the individual meets the diagnostic standards. NIDRR purposefully 
outlines broad categories of target populations in its Plan to allow 
applicants the flexibility to choose the category that is most relevant 
to their research questions and purposes. The peer review process will 
determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Four commenters noted their support for the focus on 
transition in each of the four priorities. These commenters noted that 
transition is a process that is relevant to youth and young adults with 
disabilities who are moving from childhood roles into adult roles. The 
commenters suggested that NIDRR modify the language in paragraph (a)(v) 
of each priority to include transition-aged youth and young adults.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the process of transitioning from 
youth to adult roles involves both youth and young adults and will 
modify paragraph (a)(v) accordingly.
    Changes: NIDRR has modified paragraph (a)(v) in each priority to 
include transition-aged youth and young adults.

Comments on the Definitions

    Comment: One commenter noted that the definitions of research 
stages are similar to those used by the Department of Education's 
Institute of Education Sciences (IES). This commenter asked NIDRR to 
provide information that will allow applicants and reviewers to 
differentiate between the research stages that are defined by IES and 
NIDRR.
    Discussion: NIDRR consulted with IES about its stages of research 
as we developed the stages described in this notice. Although there are 
differences in terminology, the two categorizations of research stages 
are similar in that they describe a progression of research that 
purposefully builds knowledge toward the development, evaluation, and 
widespread implementation of interventions to improve outcomes for 
defined target populations. IES developed its stages for application to 
research related to education, which generally takes place within 
educational system and school settings. NIDRR developed its stages, on 
the other hand, for application in a much wider variety of service 
delivery settings, including the community, rehabilitation service-
delivery institutions, vocational rehabilitation settings, and many 
other settings in which individuals with disabilities live and 
participate.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters noted that the research stages, as defined, 
are appropriate only for different stages of research on interventions. 
They noted that the focus on interventions does not allow applicants to 
describe the maturity of, or the stages involved in, other kinds of 
research, such as observational research or research toward the 
development of diagnostic or outcome assessment tools. The commenters 
suggested that NIDRR should acknowledge that non-intervention research 
can be conducted in stages and develop and publish ``stages of 
research'' that are not focused on interventions. The commenters stated 
that if NIDRR does not develop these additional stages of research, 
applicants who propose research that does not fit in the current stages 
should be exempt from identifying a research stage. The commenters 
expressed concern that research that is not focused on interventions 
may not be assessed properly by peer reviewers or may be seen by peer 
reviewers as less worthy of funding.
    Discussion: NIDRR's statutory mandate and mission compels us to 
support research that produces interventions (e.g., practices, 
programs, policies) with positive effects (improved outcomes in 
community living and participation, employment, health and function) on 
the lives of individuals with disabilities. In this context, we have 
provided these research stages as basic guidelines to help researchers 
think about, plan, and describe how their research is aligned with our 
broad goal of improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    NIDRR does not plan to develop and publish ``stages of research'' 
that are not focused on interventions. We recognize that research 
toward the development of a new disability outcomes measure, for 
example, may be in an advanced or mature stage of measure development. 
Applicants are free to describe the maturity, or staging of, their 
proposed research using any framework that they think is appropriate. 
However, NIDRR believes that all disability and rehabilitation research 
can and should be categorized under the stages described in this notice 
so that it is clear how the research that we sponsor is aligned with 
the practical intent of our authorizing legislation and our mission.
    NIDRR views no single research stage as more important than 
another. By providing a framework for applicants to describe how their 
research is currently needed at a particular stage and to describe the 
foundation laid for it at earlier stages of research, we aim to help 
propel research from exploratory stages to scale-up stages in which 
benefits can be experienced by large numbers of individuals with 
disabilities. NIDRR is actively developing peer reviewer orientation 
strategies to ensure that peer reviewers understand that NIDRR values 
high-quality research at each of the stages described in this notice.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Three commenters asked NIDRR to provide additional details 
in the definitions of the four research stages, noting that many 
research projects could be placed in more than one stage. Similarly, 
one commenter noted that the terms used to describe the ``scale-up 
evaluation'' stage of research could be interpreted broadly and that 
this category could overlap substantially with the ``intervention 
efficacy'' stage. All three commenters asked for further clarification 
of the definitions of the stages or for illustrations and examples of 
each.
    Discussion: NIDRR has developed these research stages as broad 
guidelines

[[Page 27041]]

to help researchers think about, plan, and describe how their research 
furthers the aim of improving outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities. Within the definition of each stage, we have purposefully 
used language that allows applicants to categorize their proposed 
research in more than one stage depending on the specifics of their 
planned work. For example, throughout each definition, we use the word 
``may'' instead of ``must.'' In paragraph (b) of each priority, NIDRR 
allows applicants the flexibility to propose ``research that can be 
categorized under more than one of the research stages, or research 
that progresses from one stage to another.'' With this flexibility, 
applicants may describe and justify the stage or stages of research 
that they are proposing. The peer review process will determine the 
merits of each application.
    Changes: None.

Final Priorities

Background

    This notice contains four priorities. Each priority reflects a 
major area or domain of NIDRR's research agenda (community living and 
participation, health and function, and employment), combined with a 
specific broad disability population (physical disability or 
intellectual and developmental disability).

Definitions

    The research that is proposed under these priorities 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 purposes of these priorities, the 
stages of research, which we published for comment on January 25, 2013, 
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 1--RRTC on Community Living and Participation for Individuals 
With Physical Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Community Living and 
Participation for Individuals with Physical Disabilities.
    The RRTC must contribute to maximizing the community living and 
participation outcomes of individuals with physical disabilities by:
    (a) Conducting research activities in one or more of the following 
priority areas, focusing on individuals with physical disabilities as a 
group or on individuals in specific disability or demographic 
subpopulations of individuals with physical disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve community living and participation 
outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
physical disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved community living 
and participation outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities. 
Interventions include any strategy, practice, program, policy, or tool 
that, when implemented as intended, contributes to improvements in 
outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government practices, policies, and programs on 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
physical disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved community 
living and participation outcomes for transition-aged youth and young 
adults with physical disabilities.
    (b) Focusing its research on one or more specific stages of 
research. If the RRTC is 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 Priorities section in this notice.
    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to community 
living and participation for individuals with physical disabilities, 
their families, 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 physical disabilities and their 
representatives, and other key stakeholders;
    (ii) Providing training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to rehabilitation providers and other disability 
service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of services to 
individuals with physical disabilities. This training may be provided 
through conferences,

[[Page 27042]]

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 
physical disabilities; and
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of 
the new knowledge generated by the RRTC.

Priority 2--RRTC on Employment of Individuals With Physical 
Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Employment of 
Individuals with Physical Disabilities.
    The RRTC must contribute to maximizing the employment outcomes of 
individuals with physical disabilities by:
    (a) Conducting research activities in one or more of the following 
priority areas, focusing on individuals with physical disabilities as a 
group or on individuals in specific disability or demographic 
subpopulations of individuals with physical disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve employment outcomes for individuals with 
physical disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
employment outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved employment outcomes 
for individuals with physical disabilities. Interventions include any 
strategy, practice, program, policy, or tool that, when implemented as 
intended, contributes to improvements in outcomes for individuals with 
physical disabilities.
    (iv) Effects of government practices, policies, and programs on 
employment outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved employment 
outcomes for transition-aged youth and young adults with physical 
disabilities.
    (vi) Vocational rehabilitation (VR) practices that contribute to 
improved employment outcomes for individuals with physical 
disabilities.
    (b) Focusing its research on one or more specific stages of 
research. If the RRTC is 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 Priorities section in this notice.
    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to employment for 
individuals with physical disabilities, their families, 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 physical disabilities and their 
representatives, and other key stakeholders.
    (ii) Providing training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to rehabilitation providers and other disability 
service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of employment 
services and supports to individuals with physical 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 employment for individuals with physical disabilities.
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of 
the new knowledge generated by the RRTC.

Priority 3--RRTC on Health and Function of Individuals With 
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on the Health and Function 
of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
    The RRTC must contribute to maximizing the health and function 
outcomes of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental 
disabilities by:
    (a) Conducting research activities in one or more of the following 
priority areas, focusing on individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities as a group or on individuals in specific 
disability or demographic subpopulations of individuals with 
intellectual and developmental disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve health and function outcomes for 
individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
access to rehabilitation and health care and improved health and 
function outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental 
disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved health and function 
outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental 
disabilities. Interventions include any strategy, practice, program, 
policy, or tool that, when implemented as intended, contributes to 
improvements in outcomes for the specified population.
    (iv) Effects of government practices, policies, and programs on 
health care access and on health and function outcomes for individuals 
with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved health and 
function outcomes for transition-aged youth and young adults with 
intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (b) Focusing its research on one or more specific stages of 
research. If the RRTC is 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 Priorities section in this notice.
    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to health and 
function for individuals with intellectual and developmental 
disabilities, their families, 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 intellectual and developmental disabilities 
and their representatives, and other key stakeholders.
    (ii) Providing training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to rehabilitation providers and other disability 
service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of services to 
individuals with intellectual and developmental 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 health and function for individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities.
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of 
the new knowledge generated by the RRTC.

[[Page 27043]]

Priority 4--RRTC on Community Living and Participation for Individuals 
With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Community Living and 
Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental 
Disabilities.
    The RRTC must contribute to improving the community living and 
participation outcomes of individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities by:
    (a) Conducting research activities in one or more of the following 
priority areas, focusing on individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities as a group or on individuals in specific 
disability or demographic subpopulations of individuals with 
intellectual and developmental disabilities:
    (i) Technology to improve community living and participation 
outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental 
disabilities.
    (ii) Individual and environmental factors associated with improved 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (iii) Interventions that contribute to improved community living 
and participation outcomes for individuals with intellectual and 
developmental 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 practices, policies, and programs on 
community living and participation outcomes for individuals with 
intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (v) Practices and policies that contribute to improved community 
living and participation outcomes for transition-aged youth and young 
adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (b) Focusing its research on one or more specific stages of 
research. If the RRTC is 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 Priorities section in this notice.
    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to community 
living and participation for individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities, their families, 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 intellectual and developmental disabilities 
and their representatives, and other key stakeholders.
    (ii) Providing training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to rehabilitation providers and other disability 
service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of services to 
individuals with intellectual and developmental 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 
intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups 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 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 one or more of these priorities, 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);

[[Page 27044]]

    (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 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.
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Program have been well established over the years, as 
projects similar to the ones envisioned by the final priorities have 
been completed successfully. Establishing new RRTCs based on the final 
priorities will generate new knowledge through research and improve the 
lives of individuals with disabilities. The new RRTCs 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 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 6, 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. 2013-11086 Filed 5-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P