84.133: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Popular Name:

Objectives: To support and coordinate research and its utilization to improve the lives of people of all ages with physical and mental disabilities, especially persons with severe disabilities through: (1) Identifying and eliminating causes and consequences of disability; (2) maximizing the health, physical, and emotional status of persons with disabilities and their functional ability, self-sufficiency, self-development and personal autonomy; (3) preventing or minimizing personal and family, physical, mental, social, educational, vocational, and economic effects of disability; and (4) reducing and eliminating physical, social, educational, vocational, and environmental barriers to permit access to services and assistance and to use their abilities in daily life.



Applicant Eligibility: Grants and cooperative agreements may be made to and contracts with States, public, private, or nonprofit agencies and organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations for research projects and specialized research activities related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities; fellowships may be awarded to individuals.

Beneficiary Eligibility: Individuals with disabilities of all ages may benefit directly or indirectly from demonstrated research and other project activities conducted by grantees benefit.

Credentials/Documentation: Applicants should present written evidence of other agencies' willingness to cooperate when the project involves their acceptance or the utilization of their facilities or services. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. Nonprofit organizations must show proof of such status.


Preapplication Coordination: The NIDRR long-range research plan as required by Congress is the basis for program announcements that are published in the Federal Register and Requests for Proposals that are published in the Commerce Business Daily. The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency or published in the Federal Register and required by OMB Circular No. A-102 must be used for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure: Application forms are submitted to: Application Control Center, Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20202. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedure: Official notice of approved applications is made through issuance of a Notice of Grant Award or an official letter of fellowship award. Grants and fellowships are awarded by the Secretary, Department of Education.

Deadlines: Established when grants and contracts are solicited by Program Announcements and Requests for Proposals are solicited. Announcements may be published throughout the year.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: Ranges from 30 to 365 days. Generally, solicited grants, fellowships, and contracts will be acted upon within 120 days.

Appeals: No formal appeal procedures. If an application is disapproved, the reasons for disapproval will be fully stated. Applicants will be sent copies of the reviewers' comments appraising their applications.

Renewals: Grant and contract extensions may be available, if formally applied for and approved. The Secretary may elect to extend the period of a fellowship. Applications for renewals are treated as new applications and must compete with other new applications on the basis of program relevance as well as standard requirements for excellence in design. If a grant application is for a project for funding in two or more years, applicants must include detailed budgets and proposed work for each year in the initial application. Grantees must submit annual progress reports in order to receive continuation funding. Renewals are subject to the availability of funds.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals: Objectives of projects and programs must be in consonance with and should contribute to achievement of the goals and objectives of the Institute. Adequate facilities must be available or planned to carry out the specific project or program. Personnel must be trained and qualified to carry out the proposed programs, and staffing patterns must be appropriate. Demonstrations of adequate plans and procedures for ensuring the relevance to current needs in rehabilitation and the potential for project results must be effectively utilized. Commitment of available resources on the part of the applicant and evidence that the applicant has knowledge of rehabilitation issues as well as knowledge of past and present related research activities. A statement showing that the estimated cost to the government is reasonable in relation to anticipated project results. Demonstrate the ability and capacity to achieve stated goals. Demonstrate, coordinate and cooperate with regional programs, State agency programs, and private rehabilitation facilities. Specific weighted selection criteria are contained in program regulations. For fellowships, criteria are specified in program regulations, 34 CFR 356. These criteria include the education and experience of the individual and the quality of the fellowship proposal.

Examples of Funded Projects: (1) Research and Training Centers with emphasis on vocational rehabilitation, medical rehabilitation, rehabilitation of persons with mental retardation, deafness rehabilitation, rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, and rehabilitation of those with severe visual disabilities; (2) Rehabilitation Engineering Centers with the application of engineering advances as applied to rehabilitation of persons with physical disabilities; special activities in prosthetics, orthotics, and rehabilitation aids and devices for various handicapping conditions; (3) specific research and demonstration projects concerned with medical, psychosocial, sensory, psychiatric, and vocational rehabilitation; (4) research utilization and dissemination of research findings; (5) field initiated projects in rehabilitation research; (6) innovation grants for conferences, testing of devices and curriculum development; (7) grants for advanced training in research related to disability; and (8) grants for projects to facilitate implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Range & Average of Financial Assistance: Grants and contracts range from $10,000 to $750,000. Individual project grants average about $150,000 a year. However, these figures vary with type of program. Research and training centers average about $525,000 and engineering research centers average about $680,000.


84.133 PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS: In fiscal year 1995, 15 fellowships were awarded; 36 continuations and 16 new field-initiated grants were supported; 43 rehabilitation research and training centers were maintained and 3 new ones were funded; 13 rehabilitation engineering centers were maintained and 3 new grants were funded; 18 new spinal cord model systems projects were funded; 15 research and demonstration projects were continued and 2 new projects were funded; 19 dissemination and utilization projects were continued and 4 new projects were funded; 12 research training grants were continued and 3 new grants were funded.



Type of Assistance: Project Grants; Project Grants (Contracts); Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements); Project Grants (Fellowships).

Obligations: (Grants and contracts) FY 95 $70,000,000; FY 96 est $69,984,000; and FY 97 est $70,000,000.

Budget Account Number: 91-0301-0-1-506.

Authorization: Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 760-762

Regulations, Guidelines, & Literature: Grant administrative policies for programs and fellowships may be obtained from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20202. NIDRR program regulations are contained in 34 CFR 350-359.


Regional or Local Office: Contact headquarters office.

Headquarters Office: Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Office of Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20202-2572. For grants and contracts contact: Dianne Villines. Phone: (202) 205-5450; for fellowships contact: Ellen Blasiotti. Phone: (202) 205-9800 Use the same number for FTS. For TDD, use (202) 205-5479.


Formula & Matching Requirements: Grantees funded under Sections 204(a) and 202(k) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, are required to share in the cost of projects. The amount of cost-sharing is negotiable. Cost-sharing for other grantees is at the Secretary's option.

Length & Time Phasing of Assistance: Funds are granted on a 12 month basis with support beyond the first year contingent upon acceptable evidence of satisfactory progress, continuing program relevance, and availability of funds. Awards may be made for a maximum of five years.

Uses & Use Restrictions: Grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts are awarded for research, demonstrations, dissemination/utilization projects of national significance, and career training projects. All applications must meet standards of excellence in research and evaluation design. Fellowships support individual investigators in pursuing research in rehabilitation.


Reports: Annual reports of progress and annual expenditures are required on all projects. Comprehensive final reports are due 90 days after the end of the project.

Audits: All fiscal transactions identifiable to Federal financial assistance are subject to audit by ED Audit Agency.

Records: Proper accounting records, identifiable by grant or contract number including all receipts and expenditures, must be maintained for three years. Subsequent to audit, they must be maintained until all questions are resolved.

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