[Federal Register: July 30, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 146)]
[Page 44752-44753]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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RIN 1820-ZA24

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 

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

ACTION: Notice of final priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority for Collaborative 
Research Projects in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) under the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program under the National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for fiscal 
year (FY) 2003 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority to improve 
the rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with 

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority is effective August 29, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 205-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the TDD number at (202) 205-4475 or via the Internet: 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP Program is to plan and conduct research, 
demonstration projects, training, and related activities that help to 
maximize the full inclusion and integration of individuals with 
disabilities into society and to improve the effectiveness of services 
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). 
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).

General DRRP Requirements

    [sbull] Involve, as appropriate, individuals with disabilities or 
their family members, or both, and persons who are members of groups 
that have traditionally been underrepresented in all aspects of the 
research as well as in design of clinical services and dissemination 
    [sbull] Demonstrate knowledge of culturally appropriate methods of 
data collection, including understanding of culturally sensitive 
measurement approaches.
    [sbull] Collaborate with other related projects, including the 
other funded Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) projects.
    This priority supports the goals of President Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI) and is in concert with NIDRR's Long-Range Plan (the 
Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/freedominitiative/freedominiative.html
    The Plan can be accessed on the Internet at: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/NIDRR/Products/.
    We published a notice of proposed priority for the Collaborative 
Research Projects in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the Federal 
Register on April 16, 2003 (68 FR 18601). No comments were received. 
There are no significant differences between the notice of proposed 
priority and this notice of final priority.

    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. A notice inviting applications for 
FY 2003 awards was published in the Federal Register on May 14, 2003 
(68 FR 26171). When inviting applications we designate the priority 
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 priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or 
(2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an 
application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    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 
priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).


    The background statement for the following priority was published 
in the notice of proposed priority on April 16, 2003 (68 FR 18601).


    The Assistant Secretary intends to fund Traumatic Brain Injury 
collaborative research projects for the purpose of generating new 
knowledge through research to improve treatment and services delivery 
outcomes for persons with TBI. A collaborative research project must:
    (1) Collaborate with three or more of the 16 NIDRR TBI Model 
Systems projects. The three can include the lead project plus 
additional projects;
    (2) Conduct research on questions of significance to TBI 
rehabilitation, using clearly identified research designs such as 
randomized control trials, observational research methodologies, or 
longitudinal studies. The research must focus on areas identified in 
the NFI and the Plan, ensuring that each project has sufficient sample 
size and methodological rigor to generate robust findings. Areas of 
interest include health and function, technology for function, 
community integration and independent living, employment, and long-term 
    (3) Disseminate research findings to clinical and consumer 
audiences, using accessible formats.
    (4) Evaluate impact of research findings on improved outcomes for 
persons with TBI.

Selection Criterion

    The emphasis on research rigor plus the importance of the 
collaborative research program require a modification to the selection 
criteria for this program. The Secretary will add a criterion to 
reflect increased emphasis on research management. This criterion reads 
as follows: There must be a clearly delineated plan for research 
management, with focus on quality controls for data collection, 
management of research protocols, and provisions for oversight at 
collaborating sites.

[[Page 44753]]

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of final priority 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 the notice of final priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of final priority, we have determined 
that the benefits of the priority justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Posts and Benefits

    The potential cost associated with this priority is minimal while 
the benefits are significant. Grantees may anticipate costs associated 
with completing the application process in terms of staff time, 
copying, and mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application technology 
reduces mailing and copying costs significantly.
    The benefits of the TBIMS and collaborative projects have been well 
established over the years that similar projects have been completed. 
This priority will generate new knowledge through research to improve 
treatment and services delivery outcomes for persons with TBI through 
collaborative research projects.
    The benefit of this priority and application project requirements 
will be the establishment of new collaborative projects that generate, 
disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve 
the options for disabled individuals 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: 
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    Note: The official version of this document is 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.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Project.)

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

    Dated: July 25, 2003.
Loretta Petty Chittum,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
[FR Doc. 03-19336 Filed 7-29-03; 8:45 am]