National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs), Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs), 21607-21613 [E8-8714]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices application as part of your binding commitments under the grant. 3. Reporting: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/ appforms/appforms.html. 4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the MSEIP program: (1) The percentage change in the number of full-time, degree-seeking minority undergraduate students at grantee institutions enrolled in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences, compared to the average minority enrollment in the same fields in the three-year period immediately prior to the beginning of the current grant; (2) the percentage of full-time undergraduate minority students who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same institution in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences; and (3)(a) in fouryear grantee institutions, the percentage of minority students who enrolled in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences who graduate within six years of enrollment; or (b) in twoyear grantee institutions, the percentage of minority students enrolled in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences who graduate within three years of enrollment. VII. Agency Contact VIII. Other Information Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in Section VII in this notice. Electronic Access to This Document: 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) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/ fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1– 888–293–6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512–1530. Note: 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 on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. Dated: April 17, 2008. Diane Auer Jones, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. [FR Doc. E8–8711 Filed 4–21–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs), Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs) sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen W. Johnson, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20006–8517. Telephone: (202) 502–7642 or (202) 502–7777, by fax: (202) 502–7861, or by e-mail: Karen.Johnson@ed.gov or Dr. Bernadette M. Hence, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20006–8517. Telephone: (202) 219–7038 or (202) 502–7777, by fax (202) 502–7861, or by e-mail: Bernadette.Hence@ed.gov or OPE.MSEIP@ED.GOV. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1–800–877–8339. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes certain funding priorities for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice proposes one priority for a DRRP, one priority for an VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities for DRRPs, RRTCs, and RERCs. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21607 RRTC, and one priority for an RERC. The Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend these priorities to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. DATES: We must receive your comments on or before May 22, 2008. ADDRESSES: Address all comments about Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations to Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6026, Potomac Center Potomac (PCP), Washington, DC 20202–2700. If you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the following address: marlene.spencer@ed.gov. Address all comments about Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas and Priority 3— Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability to Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6029, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2700. If you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the following address: donna.nangle@ed.gov. If you send your comments through the Internet, you must include the priority title in the subject line of your electronic message. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations, contact Marlene Spencer. Telephone: (202) 245–7532. For further information regarding Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas and Priority 3— Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability, contact Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245–7462. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1– 800–877–8339. Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. This notice of proposed priorities is in concert with President George W. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 21608 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices Bush’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR’s Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005–2009 (Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ infocus/newfreedom. The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http:// www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/ nidrr/policy.html. Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Invitation To Comment We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed priorities. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify clearly the specific proposed priority or topic that each comment addresses. We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed priorities. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program. During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about these proposed priorities in room 6030, 550 12th Street, SW., PCP, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for these proposed priorities. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will announce the final priorities in one or more notices in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priorities after considering responses to this notice and other information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or using additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use these proposed priorities, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we designate the priorities as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. 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 either (1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the competitive preference 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 invitational priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). Priorities In this notice, we are proposing one priority for a DRRP, one priority for an RRTC, and one priority for an RERC. For the DRRP, the proposed priority is: • Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations. For the RRTC, the proposed priority is: • Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas. For the RERC, the proposed priority is: • Priority 3—Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability. Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of services PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. 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, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance 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). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP applicants to meet the requirements of the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472). Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/resprogram.html#DRRP. Proposed Priority Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building To Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities From Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations Background In the United States (U.S.), most racial and ethnic minority populations have higher rates of disability than the nonHispanic white and Asian populations. Non-Hispanic whites and Asians have the lowest rates of disability in the U.S.; specifically, 18 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 17 percent of Asians report having a disability. In contrast, approximately 24 percent of African Americans and approximately 24 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives report having a disability. Twenty-one percent of the Hispanic or Latino population and 19 percent of the Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander populations report having a disability (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2003). In addition to having higher disability rates, racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. are growing faster than the non-Hispanic white population and now comprise approximately one third of the U.S. E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices population (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2007). Individuals with disabilities from most racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. face unique ongoing barriers to full participation in society, and there is a general lack of research addressing the important question of which interventions can be employed to address those barriers effectively (National Council on Disability, 2003). These long-standing demographic trends provided the basis for section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended (Rehabilitation Act). Section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act requires NIDRR to reserve a portion of its funds each year to carry out certain outreach activities, including making awards to minority entities and Indian tribes to conduct research, training, and technical assistance or related activities to improve services for individuals with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act, especially individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations. The section 21 requirements are aligned with NIDRR’s commitment to advance theories, measures, interventions, and products that lead to improved employment, community participation, and health and function outcomes for all individuals with disabilities, including individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations. One critical aspect of NIDRR’s work in this area is building the capacity of the disability and rehabilitation research field to engage in rigorous and culturally-relevant research. This capacity building includes providing opportunities for advanced research and advanced research training at minority entities, as defined in section 21(b)(5)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act. These minority entities are defined to include historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education, Indian tribal colleges and universities, and other institutions of higher education with a minority student enrollment of at least 50 percent. Capacity building also includes sponsoring outreach activities to reach minority entities and Indian tribes in order to promote their participation in advanced disability and rehabilitation research. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES References National Council on Disability (2003). Outreach and People With Disabilities From Diverse Cultures. A Review of the Literature. http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/ advisory/cultural/cdi_litreview.htm. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2007). Minority Population Tops 100 Million. May 17, 2007 Press Release. http://www.census.gov/ VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 Press-Release/www/releases/archives/ population/010048.html. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2003). Disability Status: 2000. Census 2000 Brief. http:// www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr17.pdf. Proposed Priority The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority to establish, under the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) program, Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations (each a Center). This priority is intended to improve the quality and utility of research related to individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations in the United States and to enhance the capacity of minority entities (as defined in section 21(b)(5)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended) to conduct this research. Under this priority, each Center must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) New knowledge about rehabilitation and independent living services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations, and knowledge about how services for these populations can be improved. Each Center must contribute to this outcome by conducting research that examines service experiences and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations. (b) Improved capacity to conduct high quality research and develop new knowledge about rehabilitation and independent living services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations. Each Center must contribute to this outcome by developing strategic research and capacity-building collaborations with other entities that have demonstrated expertise in conducting high quality disability and rehabilitation research. Applicants must focus their research activities on topics that fall under at least one of the following major life domains, which are identified in NIDRR’s Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005–2009: (1) Employment. Topics of interest under this domain include but are not limited to the following: (a) The unique experiences and factors that influence outcomes for individuals with PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21609 disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations who are served by the State vocational rehabilitation (VR) services program; and (b) VR services and approaches that improve the employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority populations. (2) Participation and Community Living. Topics of interest under this domain include but are not limited to the following: (a) the unique experiences and factors that affect community participation and community living outcomes of individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority populations who are served by Department-funded centers for independent living (CILs); and (b) independent living services that improve the community participation outcomes of individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority populations who are served by CILs. (3) Health and Function. Topics of interest under this domain include but are not limited to the following: (a) The unique experiences and factors that affect health and function outcomes for individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority populations who receive clinical services in medical rehabilitation programs; and (b) medical rehabilitation services or approaches that improve the health, function, employment, or community participation outcomes for individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority populations. In carrying out the purposes of the priority, each Center must— • Involve individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations in planning and implementing the Center’s activities, and evaluating its work; • Develop, implement, and evaluate dissemination strategies for research and technical assistance products developed by the project; • Develop and regularly update an online information dissemination system that meets a government- or industry-recognized standard for accessibility; • Provide research-based expertise, consultation, and technical assistance to relevant service providers who are seeking to improve outcomes of individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved populations; and • Through consultation with the NIDRR project officer, coordinate and establish partnerships, as appropriate, with other academic institutions and E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 21610 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices percent) of these individuals with disabilities are living below the poverty level. In addition to being more likely to Rehabilitation Research and Training live in poverty than their non-disabled Centers (RRTCs) counterparts, individuals with The purpose of the RRTC program is disabilities living in rural areas are more to improve the effectiveness of services likely to be 65 years of age and older, authorized under the Rehabilitation Act less likely to be employed, and more of 1973, as amended, through advanced likely to be disabled veterans than are research, training, technical assistance, urban residents with disabilities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 American and dissemination activities in general Community Survey) (Census Briefs). problem areas, as specified by NIDRR. Low population density, lack of Such activities are designed to benefit accessible public transportation, and rehabilitation service providers, shortages of public health and other individuals with disabilities, and the providers may limit options for family members or other authorized employment, community participation, representatives of individuals with and access to programs and services for disabilities. In addition, NIDRR intends individuals with disabilities living in to require all RRTC applicants to meet rural America (National Council on the requirements of the General Disability, 2007; Phillips & McLerory, Rehabilitation Research and Training 2004; Gamm et al., 2003). These Centers (RRTC) Requirements priority characteristics of life in rural areas that it published in a notice of final significantly affect vulnerable members priorities in the Federal Register on of the population, including individuals February 1, 2008 (72 FR 6132). with disabilities. Additional information on the RRTC Previous NIDRR-funded research on program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res- vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities who live in program.html#RRTC. rural areas found that individuals with Statutory and Regulatory Requirements disabilities who live in rural areas have of RRTCs higher rates of self-employment than other populations (Arnold, 1995). These RRTCs must— findings led to changes within State VR • Carry out coordinated advanced programs to expand self-employment programs of rehabilitation research; opportunities for individuals with • Provide training, including disabilities in both rural and urban graduate, pre-service, and in-service areas. These changes included greater training, to help rehabilitation recognition of self-employment as an personnel more effectively provide acceptable employment outcome, and rehabilitation services to individuals an increased use of rehabilitation with disabilities; approaches that promote self• Provide technical assistance to employment among State VR program individuals with disabilities, their clients (Arnold & Ipsen, 2005). Despite representatives, providers, and other this and other research-based changes in interested parties; practice that have expanded rural • Demonstrate in their applications employment opportunities and how they will address, in whole or in improved outcomes over time, part, the needs of individuals with individuals with severe disabilities who disabilities from minority backgrounds; • Disseminate informational materials live in rural areas continue to have poor employment outcomes relative to to individuals with disabilities, their individuals with severe disabilities representatives, providers, and other living in urban areas (Lustig, Strauser, & interested parties; and Weems, 2004). There is a need for • Serve as centers of national additional research to identify programs excellence in rehabilitation research for or interventions that can increase individuals with disabilities, their employment outcomes and economic representatives, providers, and other well-being among individuals with interested parties. disabilities living in rural areas. Characteristics of life in rural areas Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities also make access to health care difficult Living in Rural Areas for individuals with disabilities. Lack of Background medical specialists in rural areas often Current population estimates indicate necessitates frequent long-distance travel to large medical centers, and that approximately 10 million (17 limited public transportation options in percent) of the 62 million individuals 5 years of age and older living in the rural rural areas make it difficult for individuals with disabilities to access United States have one or more routine health care services (Iezzoni, disabilities. More than two million (20 sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES organizations that are relevant to the project’s proposed activities. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Killeen, & O’Day, 2006). Additional research is necessary to identify programs or interventions that can reduce barriers to health care services for individuals with disabilities living in rural areas, and to improve the health and function of this population. References Arnold, N. (1995). Self-Employment as a Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Outcome in Rural and Urban Areas. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 39(2), 94–106. Arnold, N., & Ipsen, C. (2005). SelfEmployment Policies: Changes Through The Decade. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 16(2), 115–122. Gamm, L.D., Hutchison, L.L., Dabney, B.J., & Dorsey, A.M. (2003). Rural healthy people 2010: A companion document to healthy people 2010. College Station, Texas: The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health, Southwest Rural Health Research Center. http://centers.srph.tamhsc.edu/ centers/rhp2010/introvol1.htm. Iezzoni, L., Killeen, M., & O’Day, B. (2006). Rural Residents With Disabilities Confront Substantial Barriers to Obtaining Primary Care. Health Services Research, 41(4), 1258–1275. Lustig, D., Strauser, D., & Weems, G. (2004). Rehabilitation Service Patterns: A Rural/ Urban Comparison of Success Factors. Journal of Rehabilitation, 70(3), 13–19. National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Publications. (2006). The 2006 Report to the Secretary: Rural Health and Human Service Issues. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http:// ruralcommittee.hrsa.gov/ NAC06AReport.htm#Family. National Council on Disability. (2007). The impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the progress toward achieving the goals of the ADA. Washington, DC: National Council on Disability. http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/ publications/2007/ada_impact_07–26– 07.htm. Phillips, C., & McLeroy, K. (2004). Health in Rural America: Remembering the Importance of Place. American Journal of Public Health, 94(10), 1661–1663. Richardson, C., & Waldrop, J. (2003). Veterans: 2000. Census 2000 Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). 2006 American Community Survey. Table S1801 Disability Characteristics. http:// factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ STTable?_bm=y&-geo&_id=01000US&qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S1801&ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_. Proposed Priority: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas. This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices assistance, and dissemination activities to improve the employment, economic, and health outcomes for individuals with disabilities in rural areas of the United States (U.S.). The RRTC must identify programs, service delivery approaches, or interventions that support and lead to improved outcomes in these areas. Where possible, the RRTC must use a rigorous (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) design to evaluate these programs, service delivery approaches, or interventions. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Policies, programs, or interventions that improve employment and economic outcomes for individuals with disabilities living in rural areas. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying evidence-based interventions, including exemplary vocational rehabilitation strategies, or developing and testing new interventions to improve employment and economic outcomes for these individuals. (b) Rehabilitation or communitybased programs or interventions that enhance access to health services and improve the health and function of individuals with disabilities living in rural areas of the U.S. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying, developing or modifying, and evaluating new programs or interventions to determine their effectiveness in enhancing access to health services and improving the health and function of individuals with disabilities living in rural areas of the U.S. (c) Enhancement of the knowledge base of rehabilitation and health providers who deliver services to individuals with disabilities living in rural areas of the U.S. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by developing, evaluating, and implementing research-based training and technical assistance programs and initiatives that are based upon findings from research activities described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this priority. social knowledge to: (a) Solve rehabilitation problems and remove environmental barriers; and (b) study and evaluate new or emerging technologies, products, or environments and their effectiveness and benefits; or • Demonstrating and disseminating: (a) Innovative models for the delivery of cost-effective rehabilitation technology services to rural and urban areas; and (b) other scientific research to assist in meeting the employment and independent living needs of individuals with severe disabilities; and • Facilitating service delivery systems change through: (a) The development, evaluation, and dissemination of consumer-responsive and individual and family-centered innovative models for the delivery to both rural and urban areas of innovative cost-effective rehabilitation technology services; and (b) other scientific research to assist in meeting the employment and independence needs of individuals with severe disabilities. Each RERC must be operated by, or in collaboration with, one or more institutions of higher education or one or more nonprofit organizations. Each RERC must provide training opportunities, in conjunction with institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, to assist individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to become rehabilitation technology researchers and practitioners. Each RERC must emphasize the principles of universal design in its product research and development. Universal design is ‘‘the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design’’ (North Carolina State University, 1997. http:// www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/ udprinciplestext.htm). Additional information on the RERC program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/ index.html. Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program Background sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES General Requirements of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs) RERCs carry out research or demonstration activities in support of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, by— • Developing and disseminating innovative methods of applying advanced technology, scientific achievement, and psychological and VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 Priority 3—Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability Results from the American Community Survey (ACS) indicate that, in 2006, the overall prevalence rate of disability among working-age individuals ages 21 to 64 was 12.9 percent (22.4 million), compared to 30.2 percent for individuals ages 65 to 74 (5.6 million), and 52.6 percent for individuals 75 years of age and older (8.9 million). In addition, the number of Americans who are 55 years of age and PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21611 older will nearly double between now and 2030—from 60 million to 107.6 million—as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age (Experience Corps, 2007). Given the strong relationship between age and disability, the total number of working-age and older adults living with a disability is expected to grow significantly as the United States (U.S.) population ages rapidly in the coming decades. Thirty-seven percent of adults aged 65 and older reported having a severe disability in 2002. About 16 percent of adults in this age cohort require assistance to carry out daily activities and meet important personal needs (Steinmetz, 2006). Also, a large segment of the working-age population with disabilities is aging into midlife with disabilities that were acquired at birth through young-adulthood (McNeil, 1997). Evidence from empirical studies funded by NIDRR over the past few years indicates that many members of this working-age cohort are at risk of experiencing new health conditions and impairments that will undermine their community participation and community living, and result in ‘‘premature aging’’ (Kemp, 2005; Rimmer, 2005). Taken together, these studies point to two important segments of the U.S. population who will experience the dual effects of aging and disability—individuals with life-long and long-term disabilities, and individuals who age into disability for the first time in later life. Despite the increased risks of disability associated with aging, older Americans strongly prefer to remain in their homes, use public services, and function independently as they age. A nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 individuals, conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), found that ‘‘more than 8 in 10 respondents age 45 and over (including many Baby Boomers)—and more than 9 in 10 of those 65 and over—say they would like to stay where they are for as long as possible. Even if they should need help caring for themselves, 82 percent would prefer not to move from their current homes and many say they are modifying their residences to make this possible’’ (Bayer & Harper, 2000). Currently, more than 12 million individuals in the U.S., about 80 percent of whom are 50 years of age or older and about half of whom are 65 years of age or older, need some type of long-term care services and supports, including assistive technologies, to perform daily activities and remain in their homes (International Longevity Center, 2006). Assistive technology use has increased for all ages, but especially for E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 21612 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices those 65 years of age and over (Russell et al., 1997). A 1992 study estimated that 2.5 million individuals, or about 1 percent of the U.S. population, have an unmet need for assistive technology devices (LaPlante et al., 1992). Designing appropriate and costeffective assistive technologies for aging adults with disabilities will require a better understanding of the unique needs of technology users among this population, and the circumstances under which technology can most effectively be used to meet such needs (Agree & Freedman, 2003). Accordingly, NIDRR seeks to fund an RERC that will evaluate new or existing technologies to address the challenges of community participation, employment, and community living experienced by middle-age and older adults with disabilities. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES References Agree, E.M., & Freedman, V.A. (2003). A Comparison of Assistive Technology and Personal Care in Alleviating Disability and Unmet Need. Gerontologist, 43(3), 335– 344. Bayer, A., & Harper, L. (2000). Fixing to Stay: A National Survey on Housing and Home Modification Issues—Research Report. Washington, DC: AARP. Experience Corps. (2007). Fact Sheet on Aging in America. Retrieved March 3, 2008 from: http://www.experiencecorps.org/ images/pdf/Fact%20Sheet.pdf. International Longevity Center, and the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education of Northwest Arkansas. (2006). Caregiving In America. Retrieved March 3, 2008 from: http://www.ilcusa.org/media/ pdfs/Caregiving%20in%20America%20Final.pdf. Kemp, B.J. (2005). What the rehabilitation professional and the consumer need to know. In Adrian Cristian (Ed.), Aging with a Disability. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16, 1–18. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Inc. LaPlante, M.P., Hendershot, G.E., & Moss, A.J. (1992). Assistive technology devices and home accessibility features: prevalence, payment, need, and trends. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, No. 217. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. McNeil, J.M. (1997). Americans with Disabilities; 1994–95. Current Population Reports, Report No. P70–61. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. http://www.census.gov/prod/3/97pubs/ p70–61.pdf. Rimmer, J.L. (2005). Exercise and physical activity in persons aging with a physical disability. In Adrian Cristian (Ed.), Aging with a Disability. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16, 41–56. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Inc. Russell, J.N., Hendershot, G.E., LeClere, F., Howie, J., & Adler, M. (1997). Trends and differential use of assistive technology devices: United States, 1994. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics; No. 292. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Steinmetz, E. (2006). Americans With Disabilities: 2002, Current Population Reports. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Proposed Priority The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the establishment of an RERC for Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability. Under this priority, the RERC must research, evaluate, and develop new assistive technologies and approaches, or modify and apply existing technologies and approaches that address the challenges to community participation experienced by middle-age and older adults with disabilities in home, work, or community settings. Under this priority, the RERC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Increased technical and scientific knowledge regarding the use of technologies for successful aging with disability. The RERC must contribute to this outcome by conducting no more than four rigorous research and development projects that address the needs of individuals with disabilities and that use state-of-the-art methodologies. These projects must generate measurable results and improve policy, practice, or system capacity to use technology to meet the community participation needs of individuals who are aging with disabilities, or who are aging into disability. (b) Improved technologies, technology-based products, and environments for successful aging with disability. The RERC must contribute to this outcome by developing new, or modifying and applying existing technologies, technology-based products, and built environments, and testing and evaluating their utility for intended users. (c) Increased impact of research in the area of technologies for successful aging with disability. The RERC must contribute to this outcome by providing technical assistance to public and private organizations, individuals with disabilities, and employers on policies, guidelines, and standards related to the use of technologies to facilitate successful aging with disability. (d) Increased transfer of RERCdeveloped technologies to the marketplace. The RERC must contribute to this outcome by developing and implementing a technology transfer plan for ensuring that all technologies developed by the RERC are made PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 available to the public. The RERC must develop its technology transfer plan in the first year of the project period in consultation with the NIDRR-funded Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project, Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer. In addition, the RERC must— • Have the capability to design, build, and test prototype devices and assist in the transfer of successful solutions to relevant production and service delivery settings; • Evaluate the efficacy and safety of its new products, instrumentation, or assistive devices; • Provide as part of its proposal, and then implement, a plan that describes how it will include, as appropriate, individuals with disabilities or their representatives in all phases of its activities, including research, development, training, dissemination, and evaluation; • Provide as part of its proposal, and then implement, in consultation with the NIDRR-funded National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), a plan to disseminate its research results to individuals with disabilities, their representatives, disability organizations, service providers, professional journals, manufacturers, and other interested parties; • Conduct a state-of-the-science conference on its designated priority research area in the fourth year of the project period, and publish a comprehensive report on the final outcomes of the conference in the fifth year of the project period; and • Coordinate research projects of mutual interest with relevant NIDRRfunded projects, as identified through consultation with the NIDRR project officer. Executive Order 12866 This notice of proposed priorities has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this notice of proposed priorities are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and efficiently. In assessing the potential costs and benefits—both quantitative and qualitative—of this notice of proposed priorities, we have determined that the benefits of the proposed priorities justify the costs. E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 78 / Tuesday, April 22, 2008 / Notices 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 proposed priorities will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance projects. Another benefit of these proposed priorities is that the establishment of a new DRRP, a new RRTC, and a new RERC will support the President’s NFI and will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP, RRTC, and RERC will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve the options for individuals with disabilities to perform regular activities in the community. Intergovernmental Review This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 part 79. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350. Electronic Access to This Document You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/ news/fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1– 888–293–6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512–1530. Note: 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 on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects, 84.133B Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, and 84.133E Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program) sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g), 764(a), 764(b)(2), and 764(b)(3). Dated: April 17, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–8714 Filed 4–21–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:25 Apr 21, 2008 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Education. ACTION: Request for written input. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services requests written input regarding NIDRR’s long-range plan for fiscal years 2010–2014 (the 2010–2014 Plan). The purpose of this solicitation is to obtain ideas from the public on the content and direction of the new NIDRR 2010–2014 Plan. DATES: We must receive your comments on or before May 22, 2008. ADDRESSES: Address all written input to Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2700. If you prefer to send your input through the Internet, please submit it at the following Web site http:// www.neweditions.net/NIDRRLRP, or use the following e-mail address: NIDRRlMailbox@ed.gov. If you submit your written input through the Internet, identify the specific topic of your input in the subject line of your electronic message from among the following: employment outcomes; participation and community living; health and function; technology; and demographics. If you are submitting general input, please use the term ‘‘General’’ in the subject line of your electronic message. Please limit your input to no more than two single-spaced pages. Please submit your input only once to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. Individuals with disabilities may obtain this notice in an alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245– 7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1– 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background As authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (29 U.S.C. 760–762), NIDRR’s mission is— PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21613 • To generate new knowledge and to promote its effective use to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, including the pursuit of employment; and • To expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodation for individuals with disabilities. Pursuant to section 202(h) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 762(h)), the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services periodically publishes a five-year plan that outlines NIDRR’s upcoming priorities for rehabilitation research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, and explains the basis for these priorities. NIDRR’s long-range plan for fiscal years 2005–2009 (2005–2009 Plan) was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165) and can be accessed on the Internet at the following Web site: http://www.ed.gov/ about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/ policy.html. Note: Individuals with disabilities may also obtain a copy of the 2005–2009 Plan in an alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. NIDRR held a public meeting on March 19, 2008 that was accessible by Webcast via the Internet or by participating in a toll-free teleconference. A transcript and an archive of this Webcast are available at: http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/ doed/080319. Development of the 2010–2014 Plan NIDRR has begun the process of preparing the 2010–2014 Plan, and is interested in receiving, among other things, suggestions for research topics that are consistent with its mission for fiscal years 2010 through 2014. As NIDRR works to develop the 2010– 2014 Plan, the Assistant Secretary would like feedback from the public that includes, but is not limited to, suggestions for research: • That would address the current needs of, or emerging issues facing, individuals with disabilities. • that could help improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. • that could improve the programs of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, including its vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs. NIDRR is also seeking input on: • What strategies might be effective in building capacity in the area of disability and rehabilitation research. E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 78 (Tuesday, April 22, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21607-21613]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-8714]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs), Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), and Rehabilitation Engineering 
Research Centers (RERCs)

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities for DRRPs, RRTCs, and RERCs.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes certain funding priorities for the 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program 
administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice proposes one priority for a 
DRRP, one priority for an RRTC, and one priority for an RERC. The 
Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal 
year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. We intend these priorities to 
improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before May 22, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about Priority 1--Centers on Research 
and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With 
Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic 
Populations to Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Education, 400 
Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6026, Potomac Center Potomac (PCP), 
Washington, DC 20202-2700. If you prefer to send your comments through 
the Internet, use the following address: marlene.spencer@ed.gov.
    Address all comments about Priority 2--Individuals With 
Disabilities Living in Rural Areas and Priority 3--Technologies for 
Successful Aging With Disability to Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6029, PCP, Washington, DC 
20202-2700. If you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, 
use the following address: donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you send your comments through the Internet, you must include 
the priority title in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding 
Priority 1--Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve 
Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally 
Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations, contact Marlene Spencer. 
Telephone: (202) 245-7532.
    For further information regarding Priority 2--Individuals With 
Disabilities Living in Rural Areas and Priority 3--Technologies for 
Successful Aging With Disability, contact Donna Nangle. Telephone: 
(202) 245-7462.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priorities is in 
concert with President George W.

[[Page 21608]]

Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan 
for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the 
following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom.
    The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 
15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following 
site: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: 
(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation 
research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and 
training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding 
of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) 
determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation 
outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) 
identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) 
disseminate findings.

Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed 
priorities. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific proposed priority or topic that each comment 
addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
priorities. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should 
take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while 
preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about these proposed priorities in room 6030, 550 12th Street, 
SW., PCP, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., 
Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 
Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for these proposed priorities. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    We will announce the final priorities in one or more notices in the 
Federal Register. We will determine the final priorities after 
considering responses to this notice and other information available to 
the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or 
using additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these proposed priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate the priorities as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. 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 either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive preference 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 invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Priorities

    In this notice, we are proposing one priority for a DRRP, one 
priority for an RRTC, and one priority for an RERC.
    For the DRRP, the proposed priority is:
     Priority 1--Centers on Research and Capacity Building to 
Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally 
Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations.
    For the RRTC, the proposed priority is:
     Priority 2--Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural 
Areas.
    For the RERC, the proposed priority is:
     Priority 3--Technologies for Successful Aging With 
Disability.

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that 
advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most 
severe disabilities. 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, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance.
    An applicant for assistance 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). In addition, NIDRR intends 
to require all DRRP applicants to meet the requirements of the General 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements 
priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the 
Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http://
www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.

Proposed Priority

Priority 1--Centers on Research and Capacity Building To Improve 
Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities From Traditionally 
Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations

Background
    In the United States (U.S.), most racial and ethnic minority 
populations have higher rates of disability than the non-Hispanic white 
and Asian populations. Non-Hispanic whites and Asians have the lowest 
rates of disability in the U.S.; specifically, 18 percent of non-
Hispanic whites and 17 percent of Asians report having a disability. In 
contrast, approximately 24 percent of African Americans and 
approximately 24 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives report 
having a disability. Twenty-one percent of the Hispanic or Latino 
population and 19 percent of the Native Hawaiian or other Pacific 
Islander populations report having a disability (U.S. Bureau of the 
Census, 2003). In addition to having higher disability rates, racial 
and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. are growing faster than the 
non-Hispanic white population and now comprise approximately one third 
of the U.S.

[[Page 21609]]

population (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2007).
    Individuals with disabilities from most racial and ethnic minority 
populations in the U.S. face unique on-going barriers to full 
participation in society, and there is a general lack of research 
addressing the important question of which interventions can be 
employed to address those barriers effectively (National Council on 
Disability, 2003).
    These long-standing demographic trends provided the basis for 
section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended (Rehabilitation Act). 
Section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act requires NIDRR to reserve a 
portion of its funds each year to carry out certain outreach 
activities, including making awards to minority entities and Indian 
tribes to conduct research, training, and technical assistance or 
related activities to improve services for individuals with 
disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act, especially individuals from 
racial and ethnic minority populations. The section 21 requirements are 
aligned with NIDRR's commitment to advance theories, measures, 
interventions, and products that lead to improved employment, community 
participation, and health and function outcomes for all individuals 
with disabilities, including individuals from racial and ethnic 
minority populations.
    One critical aspect of NIDRR's work in this area is building the 
capacity of the disability and rehabilitation research field to engage 
in rigorous and culturally-relevant research. This capacity building 
includes providing opportunities for advanced research and advanced 
research training at minority entities, as defined in section 
21(b)(5)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act. These minority entities are 
defined to include historically black colleges and universities, 
Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education, Indian tribal 
colleges and universities, and other institutions of higher education 
with a minority student enrollment of at least 50 percent. Capacity 
building also includes sponsoring outreach activities to reach minority 
entities and Indian tribes in order to promote their participation in 
advanced disability and rehabilitation research.

References

National Council on Disability (2003). Outreach and People With 
Disabilities From Diverse Cultures. A Review of the Literature. 
http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/advisory/cultural/cdi_litreview.htm.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2007). Minority Population Tops 100 
Million. May 17, 2007 Press Release. http://www.census.gov/Press-
Release/www/releases/archives/population/010048.html.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2003). Disability Status: 2000. Census 
2000 Brief. http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-17.pdf.

Proposed Priority

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority to establish, under the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) program, Centers on Research and 
Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities 
from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations (each a 
Center).
    This priority is intended to improve the quality and utility of 
research related to individuals with disabilities from traditionally 
underserved racial and ethnic populations in the United States and to 
enhance the capacity of minority entities (as defined in section 
21(b)(5)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended) to conduct this 
research. Under this priority, each Center must be designed to 
contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) New knowledge about rehabilitation and independent living 
services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from 
traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations, and knowledge 
about how services for these populations can be improved. Each Center 
must contribute to this outcome by conducting research that examines 
service experiences and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from 
traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations.
    (b) Improved capacity to conduct high quality research and develop 
new knowledge about rehabilitation and independent living services and 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities from traditionally 
underserved racial and ethnic populations. Each Center must contribute 
to this outcome by developing strategic research and capacity-building 
collaborations with other entities that have demonstrated expertise in 
conducting high quality disability and rehabilitation research.
    Applicants must focus their research activities on topics that fall 
under at least one of the following major life domains, which are 
identified in NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009:
    (1) Employment. Topics of interest under this domain include but 
are not limited to the following: (a) The unique experiences and 
factors that influence outcomes for individuals with disabilities from 
traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations who are served 
by the State vocational rehabilitation (VR) services program; and (b) 
VR services and approaches that improve the employment outcomes of 
individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority 
populations.
    (2) Participation and Community Living. Topics of interest under 
this domain include but are not limited to the following: (a) the 
unique experiences and factors that affect community participation and 
community living outcomes of individuals with disabilities from racial 
and ethnic minority populations who are served by Department-funded 
centers for independent living (CILs); and (b) independent living 
services that improve the community participation outcomes of 
individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority 
populations who are served by CILs.
    (3) Health and Function. Topics of interest under this domain 
include but are not limited to the following: (a) The unique 
experiences and factors that affect health and function outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority 
populations who receive clinical services in medical rehabilitation 
programs; and (b) medical rehabilitation services or approaches that 
improve the health, function, employment, or community participation 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic 
minority populations.
    In carrying out the purposes of the priority, each Center must--
     Involve individuals with disabilities from traditionally 
underserved racial and ethnic populations in planning and implementing 
the Center's activities, and evaluating its work;
     Develop, implement, and evaluate dissemination strategies 
for research and technical assistance products developed by the 
project;
     Develop and regularly update an online information 
dissemination system that meets a government- or industry-recognized 
standard for accessibility;
     Provide research-based expertise, consultation, and 
technical assistance to relevant service providers who are seeking to 
improve outcomes of individuals with disabilities from traditionally 
underserved populations; and
     Through consultation with the NIDRR project officer, 
coordinate and establish partnerships, as appropriate, with other 
academic institutions and

[[Page 21610]]

organizations that are relevant to the project's proposed activities.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs)

    The purpose of the RRTC program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
through advanced research, training, technical assistance, and 
dissemination activities in general problem areas, as specified by 
NIDRR. Such activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service 
providers, individuals with disabilities, and the family members or 
other authorized representatives of individuals with disabilities. In 
addition, NIDRR intends to require all RRTC applicants to meet the 
requirements of the General Rehabilitation Research and Training 
Centers (RRTC) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of 
final priorities in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (72 FR 
6132). Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#RRTC.

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements of RRTCs

    RRTCs must--
     Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation 
research;
     Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively 
provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
     Provide technical assistance to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties;
     Demonstrate in their applications how they will address, 
in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from 
minority backgrounds;
     Disseminate informational materials to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties; and
     Serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation 
research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives, 
providers, and other interested parties.

Priority 2--Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas

Background
    Current population estimates indicate that approximately 10 million 
(17 percent) of the 62 million individuals 5 years of age and older 
living in the rural United States have one or more disabilities. More 
than two million (20 percent) of these individuals with disabilities 
are living below the poverty level. In addition to being more likely to 
live in poverty than their non-disabled counterparts, individuals with 
disabilities living in rural areas are more likely to be 65 years of 
age and older, less likely to be employed, and more likely to be 
disabled veterans than are urban residents with disabilities (U.S. 
Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey) (Census Briefs).
    Low population density, lack of accessible public transportation, 
and shortages of public health and other providers may limit options 
for employment, community participation, and access to programs and 
services for individuals with disabilities living in rural America 
(National Council on Disability, 2007; Phillips & McLerory, 2004; Gamm 
et al., 2003). These characteristics of life in rural areas 
significantly affect vulnerable members of the population, including 
individuals with disabilities.
    Previous NIDRR-funded research on vocational rehabilitation 
services for individuals with disabilities who live in rural areas 
found that individuals with disabilities who live in rural areas have 
higher rates of self-employment than other populations (Arnold, 1995). 
These findings led to changes within State VR programs to expand self-
employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in both 
rural and urban areas. These changes included greater recognition of 
self-employment as an acceptable employment outcome, and an increased 
use of rehabilitation approaches that promote self-employment among 
State VR program clients (Arnold & Ipsen, 2005). Despite this and other 
research-based changes in practice that have expanded rural employment 
opportunities and improved outcomes over time, individuals with severe 
disabilities who live in rural areas continue to have poor employment 
outcomes relative to individuals with severe disabilities living in 
urban areas (Lustig, Strauser, & Weems, 2004). There is a need for 
additional research to identify programs or interventions that can 
increase employment outcomes and economic well-being among individuals 
with disabilities living in rural areas.
    Characteristics of life in rural areas also make access to health 
care difficult for individuals with disabilities. Lack of medical 
specialists in rural areas often necessitates frequent long-distance 
travel to large medical centers, and limited public transportation 
options in rural areas make it difficult for individuals with 
disabilities to access routine health care services (Iezzoni, Killeen, 
& O'Day, 2006). Additional research is necessary to identify programs 
or interventions that can reduce barriers to health care services for 
individuals with disabilities living in rural areas, and to improve the 
health and function of this population.

References

Arnold, N. (1995). Self-Employment as a Vocational Rehabilitation 
Employment Outcome in Rural and Urban Areas. Rehabilitation 
Counseling Bulletin, 39(2), 94-106.
Arnold, N., & Ipsen, C. (2005). Self-Employment Policies: Changes 
Through The Decade. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 16(2), 
115-122.
Gamm, L.D., Hutchison, L.L., Dabney, B.J., & Dorsey, A.M. (2003). 
Rural healthy people 2010: A companion document to healthy people 
2010. College Station, Texas: The Texas A&M University System Health 
Science Center, School of Rural Public Health, Southwest Rural 
Health Research Center. http://centers.srph.tamhsc.edu/centers/
rhp2010/introvol1.htm.
Iezzoni, L., Killeen, M., & O'Day, B. (2006). Rural Residents With 
Disabilities Confront Substantial Barriers to Obtaining Primary 
Care. Health Services Research, 41(4), 1258-1275.
Lustig, D., Strauser, D., & Weems, G. (2004). Rehabilitation Service 
Patterns: A Rural/Urban Comparison of Success Factors. Journal of 
Rehabilitation, 70(3), 13-19.
National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services 
Publications. (2006). The 2006 Report to the Secretary: Rural Health 
and Human Service Issues. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health 
and Human Services. http://ruralcommittee.hrsa.gov/
NAC06AReport.htm#Family.
National Council on Disability. (2007). The impact of the Americans 
with Disabilities Act: Assessing the progress toward achieving the 
goals of the ADA. Washington, DC: National Council on Disability. 
http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2007/ada_impact_07-26-
07.htm.
Phillips, C., & McLeroy, K. (2004). Health in Rural America: 
Remembering the Importance of Place. American Journal of Public 
Health, 94(10), 1661-1663.
Richardson, C., & Waldrop, J. (2003). Veterans: 2000. Census 2000 
Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). 2006 American Community Survey. Table 
S1801 Disability Characteristics. http://factfinder.census.gov/
servlet/STTable?_bm=y&-geo&--id=01000US&-qr--name=ACS--2006--EST--
G00--S1801&-ds--name=ACS--2006--EST--G00--.
    Proposed Priority:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training 
Center (RRTC) on Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas. 
This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical

[[Page 21611]]

assistance, and dissemination activities to improve the employment, 
economic, and health outcomes for individuals with disabilities in 
rural areas of the United States (U.S.). The RRTC must identify 
programs, service delivery approaches, or interventions that support 
and lead to improved outcomes in these areas. Where possible, the RRTC 
must use a rigorous (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) design 
to evaluate these programs, service delivery approaches, or 
interventions. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to 
contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Policies, programs, or interventions that improve employment 
and economic outcomes for individuals with disabilities living in rural 
areas. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying 
evidence-based interventions, including exemplary vocational 
rehabilitation strategies, or developing and testing new interventions 
to improve employment and economic outcomes for these individuals.
    (b) Rehabilitation or community-based programs or interventions 
that enhance access to health services and improve the health and 
function of individuals with disabilities living in rural areas of the 
U.S. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying, 
developing or modifying, and evaluating new programs or interventions 
to determine their effectiveness in enhancing access to health services 
and improving the health and function of individuals with disabilities 
living in rural areas of the U.S.
    (c) Enhancement of the knowledge base of rehabilitation and health 
providers who deliver services to individuals with disabilities living 
in rural areas of the U.S. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by 
developing, evaluating, and implementing research-based training and 
technical assistance programs and initiatives that are based upon 
findings from research activities described in paragraphs (a) and (b) 
of this priority.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program

General Requirements of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers 
(RERCs)

    RERCs carry out research or demonstration activities in support of 
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, by--
     Developing and disseminating innovative methods of 
applying advanced technology, scientific achievement, and psychological 
and social knowledge to: (a) Solve rehabilitation problems and remove 
environmental barriers; and (b) study and evaluate new or emerging 
technologies, products, or environments and their effectiveness and 
benefits; or
     Demonstrating and disseminating: (a) Innovative models for 
the delivery of cost-effective rehabilitation technology services to 
rural and urban areas; and (b) other scientific research to assist in 
meeting the employment and independent living needs of individuals with 
severe disabilities; and
     Facilitating service delivery systems change through: (a) 
The development, evaluation, and dissemination of consumer-responsive 
and individual and family-centered innovative models for the delivery 
to both rural and urban areas of innovative cost-effective 
rehabilitation technology services; and (b) other scientific research 
to assist in meeting the employment and independence needs of 
individuals with severe disabilities.
    Each RERC must be operated by, or in collaboration with, one or 
more institutions of higher education or one or more nonprofit 
organizations.
    Each RERC must provide training opportunities, in conjunction with 
institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, to assist 
individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to become 
rehabilitation technology researchers and practitioners.
    Each RERC must emphasize the principles of universal design in its 
product research and development. Universal design is ``the design of 
products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest 
extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized 
design'' (North Carolina State University, 1997. http://
www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm).
    Additional information on the RERC program can be found at: http://
www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/index.html.

Priority 3--Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability

Background
    Results from the American Community Survey (ACS) indicate that, in 
2006, the overall prevalence rate of disability among working-age 
individuals ages 21 to 64 was 12.9 percent (22.4 million), compared to 
30.2 percent for individuals ages 65 to 74 (5.6 million), and 52.6 
percent for individuals 75 years of age and older (8.9 million). In 
addition, the number of Americans who are 55 years of age and older 
will nearly double between now and 2030--from 60 million to 107.6 
million--as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age (Experience Corps, 
2007). Given the strong relationship between age and disability, the 
total number of working-age and older adults living with a disability 
is expected to grow significantly as the United States (U.S.) 
population ages rapidly in the coming decades.
    Thirty-seven percent of adults aged 65 and older reported having a 
severe disability in 2002. About 16 percent of adults in this age 
cohort require assistance to carry out daily activities and meet 
important personal needs (Steinmetz, 2006). Also, a large segment of 
the working-age population with disabilities is aging into midlife with 
disabilities that were acquired at birth through young-adulthood 
(McNeil, 1997). Evidence from empirical studies funded by NIDRR over 
the past few years indicates that many members of this working-age 
cohort are at risk of experiencing new health conditions and 
impairments that will undermine their community participation and 
community living, and result in ``premature aging'' (Kemp, 2005; 
Rimmer, 2005). Taken together, these studies point to two important 
segments of the U.S. population who will experience the dual effects of 
aging and disability--individuals with life-long and long-term 
disabilities, and individuals who age into disability for the first 
time in later life.
    Despite the increased risks of disability associated with aging, 
older Americans strongly prefer to remain in their homes, use public 
services, and function independently as they age. A nationwide 
telephone survey of 2,000 individuals, conducted by the American 
Association of Retired Persons (AARP), found that ``more than 8 in 10 
respondents age 45 and over (including many Baby Boomers)--and more 
than 9 in 10 of those 65 and over--say they would like to stay where 
they are for as long as possible. Even if they should need help caring 
for themselves, 82 percent would prefer not to move from their current 
homes and many say they are modifying their residences to make this 
possible'' (Bayer & Harper, 2000).
    Currently, more than 12 million individuals in the U.S., about 80 
percent of whom are 50 years of age or older and about half of whom are 
65 years of age or older, need some type of long-term care services and 
supports, including assistive technologies, to perform daily activities 
and remain in their homes (International Longevity Center, 2006).
    Assistive technology use has increased for all ages, but especially 
for

[[Page 21612]]

those 65 years of age and over (Russell et al., 1997). A 1992 study 
estimated that 2.5 million individuals, or about 1 percent of the U.S. 
population, have an unmet need for assistive technology devices 
(LaPlante et al., 1992).
    Designing appropriate and cost-effective assistive technologies for 
aging adults with disabilities will require a better understanding of 
the unique needs of technology users among this population, and the 
circumstances under which technology can most effectively be used to 
meet such needs (Agree & Freedman, 2003). Accordingly, NIDRR seeks to 
fund an RERC that will evaluate new or existing technologies to address 
the challenges of community participation, employment, and community 
living experienced by middle-age and older adults with disabilities.

References

Agree, E.M., & Freedman, V.A. (2003). A Comparison of Assistive 
Technology and Personal Care in Alleviating Disability and Unmet 
Need. Gerontologist, 43(3), 335-344.
Bayer, A., & Harper, L. (2000). Fixing to Stay: A National Survey on 
Housing and Home Modification Issues--Research Report. Washington, 
DC: AARP.
Experience Corps. (2007). Fact Sheet on Aging in America. Retrieved 
March 3, 2008 from: http://www.experiencecorps.org/images/pdf/
Fact%20Sheet.pdf.
International Longevity Center, and the Schmieding Center for Senior 
Health and Education of Northwest Arkansas. (2006). Caregiving In 
America. Retrieved March 3, 2008 from: http://www.ilcusa.org/media/
pdfs/Caregiving%20in%20America-%20Final.pdf.
Kemp, B.J. (2005). What the rehabilitation professional and the 
consumer need to know. In Adrian Cristian (Ed.), Aging with a 
Disability. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North 
America, 16, 1-18. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Inc.
LaPlante, M.P., Hendershot, G.E., & Moss, A.J. (1992). Assistive 
technology devices and home accessibility features: prevalence, 
payment, need, and trends. Advance Data from Vital and Health 
Statistics, No. 217. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health 
Statistics.
McNeil, J.M. (1997). Americans with Disabilities; 1994-95. Current 
Population Reports, Report No. P70-61. Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office. http://www.census.gov/prod/3/97pubs/p70-
61.pdf.
Rimmer, J.L. (2005). Exercise and physical activity in persons aging 
with a physical disability. In Adrian Cristian (Ed.), Aging with a 
Disability. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North 
America, 16, 41-56. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Inc.
Russell, J.N., Hendershot, G.E., LeClere, F., Howie, J., & Adler, M. 
(1997). Trends and differential use of assistive technology devices: 
United States, 1994. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics; 
No. 292. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
Steinmetz, E. (2006). Americans With Disabilities: 2002, Current 
Population Reports. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for the establishment of an RERC for 
Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability. Under this priority, 
the RERC must research, evaluate, and develop new assistive 
technologies and approaches, or modify and apply existing technologies 
and approaches that address the challenges to community participation 
experienced by middle-age and older adults with disabilities in home, 
work, or community settings.
    Under this priority, the RERC must be designed to contribute to the 
following outcomes:
    (a) Increased technical and scientific knowledge regarding the use 
of technologies for successful aging with disability. The RERC must 
contribute to this outcome by conducting no more than four rigorous 
research and development projects that address the needs of individuals 
with disabilities and that use state-of-the-art methodologies. These 
projects must generate measurable results and improve policy, practice, 
or system capacity to use technology to meet the community 
participation needs of individuals who are aging with disabilities, or 
who are aging into disability.
    (b) Improved technologies, technology-based products, and 
environments for successful aging with disability. The RERC must 
contribute to this outcome by developing new, or modifying and applying 
existing technologies, technology-based products, and built 
environments, and testing and evaluating their utility for intended 
users.
    (c) Increased impact of research in the area of technologies for 
successful aging with disability. The RERC must contribute to this 
outcome by providing technical assistance to public and private 
organizations, individuals with disabilities, and employers on 
policies, guidelines, and standards related to the use of technologies 
to facilitate successful aging with disability.
    (d) Increased transfer of RERC-developed technologies to the 
marketplace. The RERC must contribute to this outcome by developing and 
implementing a technology transfer plan for ensuring that all 
technologies developed by the RERC are made available to the public. 
The RERC must develop its technology transfer plan in the first year of 
the project period in consultation with the NIDRR-funded Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Project, Center on Knowledge Translation for 
Technology Transfer.
    In addition, the RERC must--
     Have the capability to design, build, and test prototype 
devices and assist in the transfer of successful solutions to relevant 
production and service delivery settings;
     Evaluate the efficacy and safety of its new products, 
instrumentation, or assistive devices;
     Provide as part of its proposal, and then implement, a 
plan that describes how it will include, as appropriate, individuals 
with disabilities or their representatives in all phases of its 
activities, including research, development, training, dissemination, 
and evaluation;
     Provide as part of its proposal, and then implement, in 
consultation with the NIDRR-funded National Center for the 
Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), a plan to disseminate its 
research results to individuals with disabilities, their 
representatives, disability organizations, service providers, 
professional journals, manufacturers, and other interested parties;
     Conduct a state-of-the-science conference on its 
designated priority research area in the fourth year of the project 
period, and publish a comprehensive report on the final outcomes of the 
conference in the fifth year of the project period; and
     Coordinate research projects of mutual interest with 
relevant NIDRR-funded projects, as identified through consultation with 
the NIDRR project officer.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priorities has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this notice of proposed 
priorities are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we 
have determined as necessary for administering this program effectively 
and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of proposed priorities, we have 
determined that the benefits of the proposed priorities justify the 
costs.

[[Page 21613]]

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 proposed 
priorities will generate new knowledge and technologies through 
research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance projects.
    Another benefit of these proposed priorities is that the 
establishment of a new DRRP, a new RRTC, and a new RERC will support 
the President's NFI and will improve the lives of individuals with 
disabilities. The new DRRP, RRTC, and RERC will generate, disseminate, 
and promote the use of new information that will improve the options 
for individuals with disabilities to perform regular activities in the 
community.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 part 79.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: 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 on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/
nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Projects, 84.133B Rehabilitation Research 
and Training Centers, and 84.133E Rehabilitation Engineering 
Research Centers Program)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g), 764(a), 764(b)(2), and 
764(b)(3).

    Dated: April 17, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E8-8714 Filed 4-21-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P