National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs) and Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), 38440-38443 [E8-15364]

Download as PDF 38440 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 130 / Monday, July 7, 2008 / Notices 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: July 1, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–15359 Filed 7–3–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs) and Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final priorities for DRRP and RRTC. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces 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 announces one priority for a DRRP and one priority for an RRTC. 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. EFFECTIVE DATE: These priorities are effective August 6, 2008. 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 17:39 Jul 03, 2008 Jkt 214001 We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR’s Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in the Federal Register on April 22, 2008 (73 FR 21607). The NPP included background statements that described our rationale for the three priorities proposed in that notice. There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final priorities (NFP) as discussed in the following section. In this notice, we are announcing one priority for a DRRP and one priority for an RRTC. For the DRRP, the final 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 final priority is: • Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION VerDate Aug<31>2005 Ethnic Populations, contact: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6026, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202–2700. Telephone: (202) 245–7532 or by e-mail: marlene.spencer@ed.gov. For further information regarding Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas, contact: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2700. Telephone: (202) 245–7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800– 877–8339. Individuals with disabilities can 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. Note: NIDRR intends to publish a separate notice of final priority for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability that was proposed in the NPP. Analysis of Comments and Changes In response to our invitation in the NPP, 2 parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities for the DRRP and RRTC. An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priorities since publication of the NPP follows. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priorities. DRRP Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building To Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities From Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations Comment: One commenter asked for a definition of the term ‘‘traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations.’’ Discussion: As stated in the priority, the term ‘‘traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations’’ refers to the racial and ethnic minority populations that have not traditionally received equal access to and benefits of rehabilitation services as discussed in section 21(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. However, because section 21(a) does not identify or provide examples of specific populations that meet this definition, we expect each applicant to identify the particular population(s) it proposes to study and to provide support that the selected population(s) are traditionally underserved. Changes: We have revised the priority to include the requirement that an applicant identify the particular population(s) it proposes to study, and to provide support that the selected population(s) are, in fact, racial or ethnic minority populations that have not traditionally received equal access to and benefits of rehabilitation services. RRTC Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas Comment: One commenter noted that this priority emphasizes research that promotes outcomes in two of NIDRR’s three areas of focus: Employment, and health and function. The commenter noted, however, that the priority does not include an emphasis on outcomes in NIDRR’s third area of focus: participation and community living. Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the priority does not emphasize participation and community living. However, as we describe in our Final Long Range Plan for FY 2005–2009, 71 FR 8165 (Plan), the domains of employment, health and function, and participation and community living are highly interrelated. For example, employment can be a critical part of E:\FR\FM\07JYN1.SGM 07JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 130 / Monday, July 7, 2008 / Notices participation and community living. Many elements of participation and community living, such as housing, transportation, and access to services and programs in the community, may influence employment and health and function outcomes (Long Range Plan, 71 FR 8165, 8173). While this priority emphasizes employment and health and function outcomes, it does not preclude research that involves potential predictors of those outcomes that are typically investigated within the participation and community living domain. Changes: None. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use these 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)). This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR’s Final LongRange Plan for FY 2005–2009 (Plan). Background information on 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, VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:39 Jul 03, 2008 Jkt 214001 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. 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/resprogram.html#DRRP. Priority 1—Centers on Research and Capacity Building to Improve Outcomes for Individuals With Disabilities from Traditionally Underserved Racial and Ethnic Populations The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces 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 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38441 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 of 1973, 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 identify the specific population or populations they propose to study, and provide support that the selected population or populations are, in fact, racial or ethnic minority populations that have not traditionally received equal access to and benefits of rehabilitation services. 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 E:\FR\FM\07JYN1.SGM 07JYN1 38442 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 130 / Monday, July 7, 2008 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 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 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 VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:39 Jul 03, 2008 Jkt 214001 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 Statutory and Regulatory Requirements improve the health and function of of RRTCs individuals with disabilities living in RRTCs must— rural areas of the U.S. The RRTC must • Carry out coordinated advanced contribute to this outcome by programs of rehabilitation research; identifying, developing or modifying, • Provide training, including and evaluating new programs or graduate, pre-service, and in-service interventions to determine their training, to help rehabilitation effectiveness in enhancing access to personnel more effectively provide health services and improving the rehabilitation services to individuals health and function of individuals with with disabilities; disabilities living in rural areas of the • Provide technical assistance to U.S. individuals with disabilities, their (c) Enhancement of the knowledge representatives, providers, and other base of rehabilitation and health interested parties; providers who deliver services to • Demonstrate in their applications individuals with disabilities living in how they will address, in whole or in rural areas of the U.S. The RRTC must part, the needs of individuals with contribute to this outcome by disabilities from minority backgrounds; developing, evaluating, and • Disseminate informational materials implementing research-based training to individuals with disabilities, their and technical assistance programs and representatives, providers, and other initiatives that are based upon findings interested parties; and from research activities described in • Serve as centers of national paragraphs (a) and (b) of this priority. excellence in rehabilitation research for Executive Order 12866 individuals with disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other This NFP has been reviewed in interested parties. accordance with Executive Order 12866. Priority 2—Individuals With Disabilities Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits Living in Rural Areas of this regulatory action. The Assistant Secretary for Special The potential costs associated with Education and Rehabilitative Services this NFP are those resulting from announces a priority for a Rehabilitation statutory requirements and those we Research and Training Center (RRTC) on have determined as necessary for Individuals With Disabilities Living in administering this program effectively Rural Areas. This RRTC must conduct and efficiently. rigorous research, training, technical In assessing the potential costs and assistance, and dissemination activities benefits—both quantitative and to improve the employment, economic, qualitative—of this NFP, we have and health outcomes for individuals determined that the benefits of the final with disabilities in rural areas of the priorities justify the costs. United States (U.S.). The RRTC must Summary of Potential Costs and identify programs, service delivery Benefits approaches, or interventions that The benefits of the Disability and support and lead to improved outcomes Rehabilitation Research Projects and in these areas. Where possible, the Centers Program have been well RRTC must use a rigorous (i.e., established over the years in that similar experimental or quasi-experimental) projects have been completed design to evaluate these programs, successfully. These final priorities will service delivery approaches, or generate new knowledge and interventions. Under this priority, the 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/resprogram.html#RRTC. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\07JYN1.SGM 07JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 130 / Monday, July 7, 2008 / Notices technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance projects. Another benefit of these final priorities is that the establishment of a new DRRP and a new RRTC will support the President’s NFI and will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP and RRTC 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. 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: 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: www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects and 84.133B Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers) Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g), 764(a), and 764(b)(2). Dated: July 1, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–15364 Filed 7–3–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P Notice to Extend Public Scoping Comment Period and Announcement of Additional Public Scoping Meetings. ACTION: SUMMARY: DOE and BLM (the Agencies) are extending the comment period for public scoping for the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Evaluate Solar Energy Development and have added three meetings to the previously announced public scoping meeting schedule. DATES: The public scoping comment period is extended to July 15, 2008. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight, and the Agencies will consider all comments received or postmarked by July 15, 2008, in defining the scope of this PEIS. Comments received or postmarked after that date will be considered to the extent practicable. Three public scoping meetings have been added in the locations and on the dates specified below: Tucson, Arizona: Tuesday, July 8, 2008. San Luis Obispo, California: Wednesday, July 9, 2008. El Centro, California: Thursday, July 10, 2008. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by the following methods: • Electronically, using the online comment form available on the project Web site: http://solareis.anl.gov. This is the preferred method of commenting. • In writing, addressed to: Solar Energy PEIS Scoping, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue—EVS/ 900, Argonne, IL 60439. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, including information on how to comment, you may contact Lisa Jorgensen, Department of Energy, Golden Field Office, lisa.jorgensen@go.doe.gov, 303–275– 4906, or Linda Resseguie, BLM Washington Office, linda_resseguie@blm.gov, 202–452– 7774, or visit the Solar Energy Development PEIS Web site at http:// solareis.anl.gov. The Notice of Intent to Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Evaluate Solar Energy Development was published in the Federal Register on May 29, 2008 (73 FR 30908). Information concerning the extension of the public scoping comment period can be found on the project Web site at http:// solareis.anl.gov. An additional public scoping meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. in Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at Pima Community College. The Agencies will announce SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Notice To Extend Public Scoping Comment Period for Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement To Evaluate Solar Energy Development and Announcement of Additional Public Scoping Meetings Department of Energy (DOE) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior (DOI). AGENCIES: VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:39 Jul 03, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38443 the time and location of the San Luis Obispo and El Centro meetings through the local media and the project Web site (http://solareis.anl.gov). The scoping meetings will include an introductory presentation on solar energy technologies and market prospects, and on the public participation process. Oral comments from the public will begin immediately after the presentation. Issued in Washington, DC. Alexander A. Karsner, Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy. Ray Brady, Manager, Energy Policy Act Team, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. [FR Doc. E8–15288 Filed 7–3–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP05–119–004 and CP05–121– 003] Cameron Interstate Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Application To Amend Certificate June 27, 2008. Take notice that on June 20, 2008, Cameron Interstate Pipeline, LLC (Cameron Pipeline) filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission an application under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act to amend its existing certificate of public convenience and necessity. The application seeks authority for Cameron Pipeline to increase the maximum authorized certificated capacity of its facilities and to revise its transportation rates, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to the public for inspection. This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link and is available for review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an ‘‘eSubscription’’ link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive e-mail notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please e-mail FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. The authorized contact person for Cameron Pipeline is William Rapp, 101 Ash Street, San Diego, CA 92101. The telephone number is (619) 699–5050. E:\FR\FM\07JYN1.SGM 07JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 130 (Monday, July 7, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38440-38443]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-15364]


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

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


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

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

ACTION: Notice of final priorities for DRRP and RRTC.

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

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces 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 announces one priority for 
a DRRP and one priority for an RRTC. 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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These priorities are effective August 6, 2008.

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, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6026, 
Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 
245-7532 or by e-mail: marlene.spencer@ed.gov.
    For further information regarding Priority 2--Individuals With 
Disabilities Living in Rural Areas, contact: Donna Nangle, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, PCP, 
Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7462 or by e-mail: 
donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can 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: We published a notice of proposed priorities 
(NPP) for NIDRR's Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and 
Centers Program in the Federal Register on April 22, 2008 (73 FR 
21607). The NPP included background statements that described our 
rationale for the three priorities proposed in that notice.
    There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final 
priorities (NFP) as discussed in the following section.
    In this notice, we are announcing one priority for a DRRP and one 
priority for an RRTC.
    For the DRRP, the final 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 final priority is:
     Priority 2--Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural 
Areas.

    Note: NIDRR intends to publish a separate notice of final 
priority for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) 
on Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability that was 
proposed in the NPP.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, 2 parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priorities for the DRRP and RRTC. An analysis 
of the comments and of any changes in the priorities since publication 
of the NPP follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general 
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed 
priorities.

DRRP

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

    Comment: One commenter asked for a definition of the term 
``traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations.''
    Discussion: As stated in the priority, the term ``traditionally 
underserved racial and ethnic populations'' refers to the racial and 
ethnic minority populations that have not traditionally received equal 
access to and benefits of rehabilitation services as discussed in 
section 21(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. However, 
because section 21(a) does not identify or provide examples of specific 
populations that meet this definition, we expect each applicant to 
identify the particular population(s) it proposes to study and to 
provide support that the selected population(s) are traditionally 
underserved.
    Changes: We have revised the priority to include the requirement 
that an applicant identify the particular population(s) it proposes to 
study, and to provide support that the selected population(s) are, in 
fact, racial or ethnic minority populations that have not traditionally 
received equal access to and benefits of rehabilitation services.

RRTC

Priority 2--Individuals With Disabilities Living in Rural Areas

    Comment: One commenter noted that this priority emphasizes research 
that promotes outcomes in two of NIDRR's three areas of focus: 
Employment, and health and function. The commenter noted, however, that 
the priority does not include an emphasis on outcomes in NIDRR's third 
area of focus: participation and community living.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the priority does not emphasize 
participation and community living. However, as we describe in our 
Final Long Range Plan for FY 2005-2009, 71 FR 8165 (Plan), the domains 
of employment, health and function, and participation and community 
living are highly interrelated. For example, employment can be a 
critical part of

[[Page 38441]]

participation and community living. Many elements of participation and 
community living, such as housing, transportation, and access to 
services and programs in the community, may influence employment and 
health and function outcomes (Long Range Plan, 71 FR 8165, 8173). While 
this priority emphasizes employment and health and function outcomes, 
it does not preclude research that involves potential predictors of 
those outcomes that are typically investigated within the participation 
and community living domain.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these 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)).
    This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 
(Plan). Background information on 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.

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.

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

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces 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 of 1973, 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 identify the specific population or populations 
they propose to study, and provide support that the selected population 
or populations are, in fact, racial or ethnic minority populations that 
have not traditionally received equal access to and benefits of 
rehabilitation services.
    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

[[Page 38442]]

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 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

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces 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 
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.

Executive Order 12866

    This NFP 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 NFP 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 NFP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the final priorities justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Program have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. These final 
priorities will generate new knowledge and

[[Page 38443]]

technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, 
and technical assistance projects.
    Another benefit of these final priorities is that the establishment 
of a new DRRP and a new RRTC will support the President's NFI and will 
improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP and 
RRTC 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.
    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: 
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: www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/
index.html.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and 84.133B Rehabilitation Research 
and Training Centers)

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

    Dated: July 1, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
 [FR Doc. E8-15364 Filed 7-3-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P