National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs)-Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability, 40545-40548 [E8-16125]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 136 / Tuesday, July 15, 2008 / Notices (GPRA) indicators, revisions, and methods appear on the NIDRR Program Review Web site: http:// www.neweditions.net/pr/commonfiles/ pmconcepts.htm. Grantees should consult this site on a regular basis to obtain details and explanations on how NIDRR programs contribute to the advancement of the Department’s long-term and annual performance goals. VII. Agency Contact FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, PCP, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 245–7462 or by e-mail: Donna.Nangle@ed.gov. If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800– 877–8339. 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) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2550. Telephone: (202) 245– 7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll-free, at 1–800–877–8339. 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: 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. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 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. Dated: July 10, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–16116 Filed 7–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:01 Jul 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs)—Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final priority for an RERC. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for an RERC for Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability under the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority 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 this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Effective Date: This priority is effective August 14, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza (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. DATES: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program The purpose of the RERC program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, by conducting advanced engineering research and development on innovative technologies that are designed to solve particular rehabilitation problems or remove environmental barriers. RERCs also demonstrate and evaluate such PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 40545 technologies, facilitate service delivery system changes, stimulate the production and distribution of new technologies and equipment in the private sector, and provide training opportunities. General Requirements of 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. E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1 40546 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 136 / Tuesday, July 15, 2008 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 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 priorities proposed in that notice. In this notice of final priority (NFP), we are announcing the final priority for the RERC—Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability, one of the priorities proposed in the NPP. We published a separate notice of final priorities for the other priorities proposed in the NPP on July 7, 2008 (73 FR 38436). There are differences between the proposed priority for the RERC for Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability and the final priority for the RERC for Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability as discussed in the following section. Analysis of Comments and Changes In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted comments on the proposed priority for the RERC. An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priority 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 priority. Comment: Two commenters asked for clarification of NIDRR’s intent with respect to the limits placed on the number of research and development projects that applicants can propose under this priority. Specifically, the commenters requested that we clarify what is intended by the language in paragraph (a) of the priority, which states that the RERC must conduct 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 commenters also asked whether applicants could propose projects that include only research activities, only development activities, or both research and development activities. Discussion: The language in paragraph (a) of the priority referenced by the commenter restricts the total number of research and development projects to be conducted by the RERC under this priority to four or fewer. We intend for this limitation to help focus the resources of the RERC and thereby increase the feasibility of the RERC’s VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:01 Jul 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 proposed activities and the likelihood of the RERC achieving its planned outcomes. We intended the language in paragraph (a) of the priority to allow applicants to propose four or fewer rigorous research and development projects, each of which could include a combination of research and development activities, or only research or only development activities. Changes: NIDRR has revised paragraph (a) of the priority by adding the words ‘‘a total of’’ to clarify that applicants must propose no more than a total of four research and development projects. In addition, NIDRR has revised paragraph (a) of the priority to clarify that each research and development project proposed by the RERC may include a combination of research and development activities, or only research or only development activities. Comment: Two commenters noted that this priority supports research and development activities that are designed to foster improvements in technologies, assistive technologies, technology-based products, environments, and built environments. These commenters requested clarification regarding the distinctions between these terms, and recommended that the terms be used consistently throughout the priority. Discussion: There is no single definition of the term ‘‘technology,’’ but, as used in this priority, we intend for the term to refer to the practical application of science and knowledge generally. This broad definition of ‘‘technology’’ is intended to provide applicants under this priority with the flexibility to propose a wide range of approaches to applying, developing, modifying, testing, and evaluating technologies that promote successful aging with a disability. We believe the terms ‘‘technology’’ and ‘‘technologies’’ encompass assistive technologies, technology-based products, and built environments. In section 3 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act the term assistive technology is defined as technology that is designed to be used in an assistive technology device or assistive technology service. The AT Act defines an assistive technology device as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. The AT Act defines an assistive technology service as any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The term ‘‘technology-based products’’ is intended to refer to products that utilize practical applications of science and knowledge. The distinction between technologies and technology-based products is illustrated with a specific example. A manual wheelchair is a technologybased product that utilizes specific technologies including hand-rim design and seating systems. The term ‘‘built environments’’ refers to man-made physical spaces such as residences, workspaces, public buildings, and facilities. ‘‘Environment’’ is a more general term and for that reason we removed that term from the priority. As recommended by the commenter, we revised the priority to use terms consistently throughout the priority. Changes: We have replaced the term ‘‘assistive technologies’’ with the term ‘‘technologies’’ and replaced the term ‘‘environments’’ with the term ‘‘built environments’’ for accuracy and consistency within the priority. Comment: One commenter requested that we clarify the meaning of the phrase ‘‘utility for intended users,’’ as used in paragraph (b) of the priority. Discussion: We believe that the meaning of this phrase is clear within the context of the priority. Intended users, for purposes of this priority, are middle-aged and older adults with disabilities. Technology, technologybased products, or built environments have utility for middle-aged and older adults with disabilities to the extent that they can be used to facilitate their participation in the community. Changes: None. Comment: Two commenters asked for clarification regarding the intent of the first and second sentences of paragraph (d) of the priority. These commenters noted that the phrase ‘‘transfer of RERCdeveloped technologies to the marketplace’’ in the first sentence has a different meaning than the reference in the second sentence to making these technologies ‘‘available to the public.’’ The commenters noted that transferring tangible products to the marketplace involves manufacturing, while technologies can conceptually be made available to the public via dissemination of written information. Discussion: The intended outcome of activities to be carried out under paragraph (d) of the priority is the increased transfer of RERC-developed technologies to the marketplace. We did not intend to de-emphasize this outcome by referring to making technologies available to the public in the second sentence of paragraph (d). However, the priority’s focus on E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 136 / Tuesday, July 15, 2008 / Notices transferring RERC-developed technologies to the marketplace does not preclude applicants from also actively disseminating their work through relevant publications. Changes: In paragraph (d) of the priority, we have replaced the words ‘‘made available to the public’’ with the words ‘‘transferred to the marketplace.’’ mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority, 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). 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 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:01 Jul 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings. Priority—Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the establishment of a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) for Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability. Under this priority, the RERC must research, evaluate, and develop new technologies and approaches, or modify and apply existing technologies and approaches that address the challenges to community participation experienced by middle-aged 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 a total of four rigorous research and development projects that address the needs of individuals with disabilities and that use state-of-the-art methodologies. For purposes of this priority, a rigorous research and development project may include a combination of research and development activities, or may include only research or only development activities. These rigorous research and development 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 built 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 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 40547 to this outcome by developing and implementing a technology transfer plan for ensuring that technologies developed by the RERC are transferred to the marketplace. 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 technology 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 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 priority justify the costs. E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1 40548 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 136 / Tuesday, July 15, 2008 / Notices Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 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. This final priority will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance projects. Another benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of a new RERC will support the President’s NFI and will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new 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. 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 84.133E Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program) mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g), 764(a), and 764(b)(3). Dated: July 10, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–16125 Filed 7–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:01 Jul 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Absolute Priority 1—The IDEA Partnership Project (84.326A) Background The IDEA and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and their implementing regulations contain a number of provisions related to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance instruction and assessment of, and (CFDA) Number: 84.326A and 84.326N. accountability for, students with Note: This notice invites applications for disabilities that require changes in two separate competitions. For key dates, policy and practice at many different contact person information, and funding levels of the educational service system information regarding each competition, see the chart in the Award Information section of and in both regular and special education: State and district policies this notice. must change, teachers must be trained, Dates: administrative supports must be provided, and parents must be Applications Available: See chart. informed. Coordinating change across Deadline for Transmittal of regular and special education is Applications: See chart. challenging because teachers, Deadline for Intergovernmental administrators, other professionals, and Review: See chart. parents typically differ in their training, experiences, priorities, and Full Text of Announcement perspectives. I. Funding Opportunity Description In order to support and facilitate the Purpose of Program: The purpose of effective implementation of IDEA and the Technical Assistance and NCLB, the Office of Special Education Dissemination to Improve Services and Programs (OSEP) has funded Results for Children with Disabilities partnership projects that bring together program is to promote academic representatives from national achievement and improve results for associations that have a vested interest children with disabilities by supporting in improving results for all students, technical assistance (TA), model including students with disabilities. demonstration projects, dissemination These associations represent a wide of useful information, and range of interests and viewpoints in implementation activities that are both regular and special education, supported by scientifically based including those of policymakers, local research. administrators, service providers, and Priorities: In accordance with 34 CFR family members. Each of these national 75.105(b)(2)(iv) and (v), these priorities associations has members working are from allowable activities specified in directly with administrators, teachers, the statute, or otherwise authorized in parents, and others at the State and local the statute (see sections 663 and 681(d) levels (State and local affiliates) who are of the Individuals with Disabilities responsible for implementing the Education Act (IDEA)). Each of the requirements of IDEA and NCLB. absolute priorities announced in this An example of how partnerships with notice corresponds to a separate national organizations worked together competition as follows: to support the implementation of an instructional practice that affects both Competition Absolute priority regular and special education is the CFDA No. work of the OSEP-funded IDEA The IDEA Partnership Project 84.326A Partnership Project’s National National Dissemination Center Community of Practice on NCLB/IDEA for Children with Disabilities 84.326N Collaboration. The project developed TA materials for their State and local Absolute Priorities: For FY 2008, these affiliates to use to facilitate and promote priorities are absolute priorities. Under schools’ and districts’ implementation 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), for each of Response to Intervention (RTI) competition, we consider only strategies. RTI was selected because applications that meet the absolute changes in policies and practices at priority for that competition. many different levels of the special education and regular education The priorities are: PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 136 (Tuesday, July 15, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40545-40548]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-16125]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs)--Technologies for 
Successful Aging With Disability

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

ACTION: Notice of final priority for an RERC.

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

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for an RERC for 
Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability under the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered 
by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority 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 this priority 
to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective August 14, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza 
(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:

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program

    The purpose of the RERC program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
by conducting advanced engineering research and development on 
innovative technologies that are designed to solve particular 
rehabilitation problems or remove environmental barriers. RERCs also 
demonstrate and evaluate such technologies, facilitate service delivery 
system changes, stimulate the production and distribution of new 
technologies and equipment in the private sector, and provide training 
opportunities.

General Requirements of 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.

[[Page 40546]]

    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 priorities 
proposed in that notice. In this notice of final priority (NFP), we are 
announcing the final priority for the RERC--Technologies for Successful 
Aging With Disability, one of the priorities proposed in the NPP. We 
published a separate notice of final priorities for the other 
priorities proposed in the NPP on July 7, 2008 (73 FR 38436).
    There are differences between the proposed priority for the RERC 
for Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability and the final 
priority for the RERC for Technologies for Successful Aging With 
Disability as discussed in the following section.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priority for the RERC. An analysis of the 
comments and of any changes in the priority 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 
priority.
    Comment: Two commenters asked for clarification of NIDRR's intent 
with respect to the limits placed on the number of research and 
development projects that applicants can propose under this priority. 
Specifically, the commenters requested that we clarify what is intended 
by the language in paragraph (a) of the priority, which states that the 
RERC must conduct 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 commenters also asked 
whether applicants could propose projects that include only research 
activities, only development activities, or both research and 
development activities.
    Discussion: The language in paragraph (a) of the priority 
referenced by the commenter restricts the total number of research and 
development projects to be conducted by the RERC under this priority to 
four or fewer. We intend for this limitation to help focus the 
resources of the RERC and thereby increase the feasibility of the 
RERC's proposed activities and the likelihood of the RERC achieving its 
planned outcomes. We intended the language in paragraph (a) of the 
priority to allow applicants to propose four or fewer rigorous research 
and development projects, each of which could include a combination of 
research and development activities, or only research or only 
development activities.
    Changes: NIDRR has revised paragraph (a) of the priority by adding 
the words ``a total of'' to clarify that applicants must propose no 
more than a total of four research and development projects. In 
addition, NIDRR has revised paragraph (a) of the priority to clarify 
that each research and development project proposed by the RERC may 
include a combination of research and development activities, or only 
research or only development activities.
    Comment: Two commenters noted that this priority supports research 
and development activities that are designed to foster improvements in 
technologies, assistive technologies, technology-based products, 
environments, and built environments. These commenters requested 
clarification regarding the distinctions between these terms, and 
recommended that the terms be used consistently throughout the 
priority.
    Discussion: There is no single definition of the term 
``technology,'' but, as used in this priority, we intend for the term 
to refer to the practical application of science and knowledge 
generally. This broad definition of ``technology'' is intended to 
provide applicants under this priority with the flexibility to propose 
a wide range of approaches to applying, developing, modifying, testing, 
and evaluating technologies that promote successful aging with a 
disability.
    We believe the terms ``technology'' and ``technologies'' encompass 
assistive technologies, technology-based products, and built 
environments. In section 3 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT 
Act the term assistive technology is defined as technology that is 
designed to be used in an assistive technology device or assistive 
technology service. The AT Act defines an assistive technology device 
as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired 
commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, 
maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with 
disabilities. The AT Act defines an assistive technology service as any 
service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the 
selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
    The term ``technology-based products'' is intended to refer to 
products that utilize practical applications of science and knowledge. 
The distinction between technologies and technology-based products is 
illustrated with a specific example. A manual wheelchair is a 
technology-based product that utilizes specific technologies including 
hand-rim design and seating systems.
    The term ``built environments'' refers to man-made physical spaces 
such as residences, workspaces, public buildings, and facilities. 
``Environment'' is a more general term and for that reason we removed 
that term from the priority. As recommended by the commenter, we 
revised the priority to use terms consistently throughout the priority.
    Changes: We have replaced the term ``assistive technologies'' with 
the term ``technologies'' and replaced the term ``environments'' with 
the term ``built environments'' for accuracy and consistency within the 
priority.
    Comment: One commenter requested that we clarify the meaning of the 
phrase ``utility for intended users,'' as used in paragraph (b) of the 
priority.
    Discussion: We believe that the meaning of this phrase is clear 
within the context of the priority. Intended users, for purposes of 
this priority, are middle-aged and older adults with disabilities. 
Technology, technology-based products, or built environments have 
utility for middle-aged and older adults with disabilities to the 
extent that they can be used to facilitate their participation in the 
community.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters asked for clarification regarding the 
intent of the first and second sentences of paragraph (d) of the 
priority. These commenters noted that the phrase ``transfer of RERC-
developed technologies to the marketplace'' in the first sentence has a 
different meaning than the reference in the second sentence to making 
these technologies ``available to the public.'' The commenters noted 
that transferring tangible products to the marketplace involves 
manufacturing, while technologies can conceptually be made available to 
the public via dissemination of written information.
    Discussion: The intended outcome of activities to be carried out 
under paragraph (d) of the priority is the increased transfer of RERC-
developed technologies to the marketplace. We did not intend to de-
emphasize this outcome by referring to making technologies available to 
the public in the second sentence of paragraph (d). However, the 
priority's focus on

[[Page 40547]]

transferring RERC-developed technologies to the marketplace does not 
preclude applicants from also actively disseminating their work through 
relevant publications.
    Changes: In paragraph (d) of the priority, we have replaced the 
words ``made available to the public'' with the words ``transferred to 
the marketplace.''

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, 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). 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.

Priority--Technologies for Successful Aging With Disability

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for the establishment of a Rehabilitation 
Engineering Research Center (RERC) for Technologies for Successful 
Aging with Disability. Under this priority, the RERC must research, 
evaluate, and develop new technologies and approaches, or modify and 
apply existing technologies and approaches that address the challenges 
to community participation experienced by middle-aged 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 a total of four 
rigorous research and development projects that address the needs of 
individuals with disabilities and that use state-of-the-art 
methodologies. For purposes of this priority, a rigorous research and 
development project may include a combination of research and 
development activities, or may include only research or only 
development activities. These rigorous research and development 
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 built 
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 technologies 
developed by the RERC are transferred to the marketplace. 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 technology 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 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 priority justify the costs.

[[Page 40548]]

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. This final priority 
will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, 
development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance 
projects.
    Another benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of 
a new RERC will support the President's NFI and will improve the lives 
of individuals with disabilities. The new 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.
    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 84.133E 
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program).

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

    Dated: July 10, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E8-16125 Filed 7-14-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P