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Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Notice Inviting Applications for New Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects for Fiscal Year 2001-2002

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Note to Applicants

This notice is a complete application package. Together with the statute Start Printed Page 81496authorizing the programs and applicable regulations governing the programs including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), this notice contains information, application forms, and instructions needed to apply for a grant under these competitions.

These programs support the National Education Goal that calls for all Americans to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

The estimates of funding levels in this notice do not bind the Department of Education to make awards in any of these categories, or to any specific number of awards or funding levels, unless otherwise specified in statute.

Reasonable Accommodations: We will consider, and may fund, requests for additional funding as an addendum to an application to reflect the costs of reasonable accommodations necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to be employed on the project as personnel on project activities.

Applications Available: December 26, 2000.

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 CFR Parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 85, and 86; Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—34 CFR Part 350, and the Notice of Final Priority published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Application Notice for Fiscal Year 2001.—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects, CFDA No. 84-133A

Funding priorityDeadline for transmittal of applicationsEstimated number of awardsMaximum award amount (per year)*Project period (months)
84.133A-11 Spinal Cord Injury collaborative ProjectsFebruary 26, 20014-8$350,00060
84.133A-12: Spinal Cord Injury Data CenterFebruary 26, 20011350,00060
84.133A-15: Spinal Cord Injury Dissemination CenterFebruary 26, 20011150,00060
* Note: Consistent with EDGAR 34 CFR 75.104(b), we will reject any application that proposes a project funding level for any year that exceeds the stated maximum award amount for that year.

Program Title: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program.

CFDA Number: 84.133A

Purpose of the Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Assistant Secretary takes this action to focus research attention on an area of national need. The priorities are intended to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Eligible Applicants: Parties eligible to apply for grants under this program are States, public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies, public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

Estimated Average Range of Awards: $150,000-$350,000.

Selection Criteria

Collaborative Spinal Cord Injury Research Selection Criteria

The Secretary uses the following selection criteria to evaluate applications for Collaborative Spinal Cord Injury Research.

(a) Importance of the problem (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the importance of the problem.

(2) In determining the importance of the problem, the Secretary considers one or more of the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the applicant clearly describes the need and target population (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the proposed project will have beneficial impact on the target population (5 points).

(b) Design of research activities (30 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of research activities is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project.

(2) In determining the extent to which the design is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the research activities constitute a coherent, sustained approach to research in the field, including a substantial addition to the state-of-the-art (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the methodology of each proposed research activity is meritorious, including consideration of the extent to which—

(A) The proposed design includes a comprehensive and informed review of the current literature, demonstrating knowledge of the state-of-the-art (5 points);

(B) Each research hypothesis is theoretically sound and based on current knowledge (5 points);

(C) Each sample population is appropriate and of sufficient size (5 points);

(D) The data collection and measurement techniques are appropriate and likely to be effective (5 points); and

(E) The data analysis methods are appropriate (5 points).

(c) Design of dissemination activities (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of dissemination activities is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project.

(2) In determining the extent to which the design is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the materials to be disseminated are likely to be effective and usable, including consideration of their quality, clarity, variety, and format (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the materials and information to be disseminated and the methods for dissemination are appropriate to the target population, including consideration of the familiarity of the target population with the subject matter, format of the information, and subject matter (5 points).

(d) Plan of operation (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the plan of operation.

(2) In determining the quality of the plan of operation, the Secretary considers the adequacy of the plan of operation to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, and timelines for accomplishing project tasks (10 points). Start Printed Page 81497

(e) Collaboration (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of collaboration.

(2) In determining the quality of collaboration, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the applicant's proposed collaboration with one or more agencies, organizations, or institutions is likely to be effective in achieving the relevant proposed activities of the project (4 points).

(ii) The extent to which agencies, organizations, or institutions demonstrate a commitment to collaborate with the applicant (3 points).

(iii) The extent to which agencies, organizations, or institutions that commit to collaborate with the applicant have the capacity to carry out collaborative activities (3 points).

(f) Adequacy and reasonableness of the budget (5 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy and the reasonableness of the proposed budget.

(2) In determining the adequacy and the reasonableness of the proposed budget, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed project activities (3 points).

(ii) The extent to which the budget for the project, including any subcontracts, is adequately justified to support the proposed project activities (2 points).

(g) Plan of evaluation (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the plan of evaluation.

(2) In determining the quality of the plan of evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the plan of evaluation provides for periodic assessment of progress toward—

(A) Implementing the plan of operation (3 points); and

(B) Achieving the project's intended outcomes and expected impacts (2 points).

(iii) The extent to which the plan of evaluation provides for periodic assessment of a project's progress that is based on identified performance measures that—

(A) Are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and expected impacts on the target population (3 points); and

(B) Are objective, and quantifiable or qualitative, as appropriate (2 points).

(h) Project staff (15 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the project staff.

(2) In determining the quality of the project staff, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability (2 points).

(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the key personnel and other key staff have appropriate training and experience in disciplines required to conduct all proposed activities (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the commitment of staff time is adequate to accomplish all the proposed activities of the project (3 points).

(iii) The extent to which the key personnel are knowledgeable about the methodology and literature of pertinent subject areas (5 points).

Spinal Cord Injury Data Center and Spinal Cord Injury and Dissemination Center Selection Criteria

The Secretary uses the following selection criteria to evaluate applications for a Spinal Cord Injury Data Center and a Spinal Cord Injury and Dissemination Center.

(a) Responsiveness to an absolute or competitive priority (20 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the responsiveness of the application to the absolute or competitive priority published in the Federal Register.

(2) In determining the responsiveness of the application to the absolute or competitive priority, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the applicant addresses all requirements of the absolute or competitive priority (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the applicant's proposed activities are likely to achieve the purposes of the absolute or competitive priority (15 points).

(b) Quality of the project design (40 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers one or more of the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable (10 points).

(ii) The quality of the methodology to be employed in the proposed project (10 points).

(iii) The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs (5 points).

(iv) The extent to which the proposed development efforts include adequate quality controls and, as appropriate, repeated testing of products (10 points).

(v) The extent to which the proposed project will be coordinated with similar or related efforts, and with other appropriate community, State, and Federal resources (5 points).

(c) Technical Assistance (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of technical assistance activities is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project.

(2) In determining the extent to which the design is likely to be effective in accomplishing the objectives of the project, the Secretary considers one or more of the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the methods for providing technical assistance are of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the technical assistance is appropriate to the target population, including consideration of the knowledge level of the target population, needs of the target population, and format for providing information (5 points).

(d) Plan of evaluation (10 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the plan of evaluation.

(2) In determining the quality of the plan of evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the plan of evaluation provides for periodic assessment of progress toward—

(A) Implementing the plan of operation (3 points); and

(B) Achieving the project's intended outcomes and expected impacts (2 points).

(ii) The extent to which the plan of evaluation provides for periodic assessment of a project's progress that is based on identified performance measures that—

(A) Are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and expected impacts on the target population (3 points); and

(B) Are objective, and quantifiable or qualitative, as appropriate (2 points).

(e) Project staff (15 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the project staff.

(2) In determining the quality of the project staff, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability (2 points).

(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors: Start Printed Page 81498

(i) The extent to which the key personnel and other key staff have appropriate training and experience in disciplines required to conduct all proposed activities (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the commitment of staff time is adequate to accomplish all the proposed activities of the project (3 points).

(iii) The extent to which the key personnel are knowledgeable about the methodology and literature of pertinent subject areas (5 points).

(f) Adequacy and reasonableness of the budget (5 points total). (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy and the reasonableness of the proposed budget.

(2) In determining the adequacy and the reasonableness of the proposed budget, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed project activities (2 points).

(ii) The extent to which the budget for the project, including any subcontracts, is adequately justified to support the proposed project activities (3 points).

Additional Selection Criterion

We will use the selection criteria in 34 CFR 350.54 to evaluate applications under these programs. The maximum score for all the criteria is 100 points; however, we will also use the following criterion so that up to an additional 10 points may be earned by an applicant for a total possible score of 110 points.

Up to 10 points based on the extent to which an application includes effective strategies for employing and advancing in employment qualified individuals with disabilities in projects awarded under these absolute priorities. In determining the effectiveness of those strategies, we will consider the applicant's prior success, as described in the application, in employing and advancing in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. Thus, for purposes of this competitive preference, applicants can be awarded up to a total of 10 points in addition to those awarded under the published selection criteria for these priorities. That is, an applicant meeting this competitive preference could earn a maximum total of 110 points.

Instructions for Application Narrative

We will reject without consideration or evaluation any application that proposes a project funding level that exceeds the stated maximum award amount per year (See 34 CFR 75.104(b)).

We strongly recommend the following:

(1) a one-page abstract;

(2) an application narrative (i.e., Part III that addresses the selection criteria that will be used by reviewers in evaluating individual proposals) of no more 75 pages for Project applications, double-spaced (no more than 3 lines per vertical inch) 8″ x 11″ pages (on one side only) with one inch margins (top, bottom, and sides). The application narrative page limit recommendation does not apply to: Part I—the electronically scannable form; Part II—the budget section (including the narrative budget justification); and Part IV—the assurances and certifications; and

(3) a font no smaller than a 12-point font and an average character density no greater than 14 characters per inch.

Instructions for Transmittal of Applications

(a) If an applicant wants to apply for a grant, the applicant must—

(1) Mail the original and two copies of the application on or before the deadline date to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA #84.133A [Applicant should add name of program], Washington, DC 20202-4725; or

(2) Hand deliver the original and two copies of the application by 4:30 p.m. [Washington, DC time] on or before the deadline date to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA #84.133A [Applicant should add name of program]), Room 3633, Regional Office Building #3, 7th and D Streets, SW., Washington, DC.

(b) An applicant must show one of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary.

(c) If an application is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, the Secretary does not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark.

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

Notes:

(1) The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, an applicant should check with its local post office.

(2) An applicant wishing to know that its application has been received by the Department must include with the application a stamped self-addressed postcard containing the CFDA number and title of this program.

(3) The applicant must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 10 of the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424) the CFDA number—and letter, if any—of the competition under which the application is being submitted.

Application Forms and Instructions

The appendix to this application is divided into four parts. These parts are organized in the same manner that the submitted application should be organized. These parts are as follows:

Part I: Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424 (Rev. 11/12/99)) and instructions.

Part II: Budget Form—Non-Construction Programs (ED Form 524) and instructions.

Part III: Application Narrative.

Additional Materials

Estimated Public Reporting Burden.

Assurances—Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B).

Certification Regarding Lobbying, Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters; and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (ED 80-0013).

Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion: Lower Tier Covered Transactions (ED Form 80-0014) and instructions. (NOTE: ED Form 80-0014 is intended for the use of primary participants and should not be transmitted to the Department.)

Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (Standard Form LLL (if applicable) and instructions.

An applicant may submit information on a photostatic copy of the application and budget forms, the assurances, and the certifications. However, the application form, the assurances, and the certifications must each have an original signature. No grant may be awarded unless a completed application form has been received.

For Applications Contact: The Grants and Contracts Service Team (GCST), Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Switzer Building, 3317, Washington, DC 20202, or call (202) 205-8207. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the TDD number at (202) 205-9860. The preferred method for requesting information is to FAX your request to (202) 205-8717.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format by contacting the GCST. However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an alternative format the standard forms included in the application package.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Start Printed Page 81499room 3414, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. Telephone: (202) 205-5880. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the TDD number at (202) 205-4475. Internet: Donna_Nangle@ed.gov.

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 in the preceding paragraph.

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 either of the following sites:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/​fedreg.htm

http://www.ed.gov/​news.html

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at either of the preceding sites. 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.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers: 84.133A, Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects)

Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(4).

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Dated: December 18, 2000.

Judith E. Heumann,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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Appendix—Application Forms and Instructions

Applicants are advised to reproduce and complete the application forms in this section. Applicants are required to submit an original and two copies of each application as provided in this section. However, applicants are encouraged to submit an original and seven copies of each application in order to facilitate the peer review process and minimize copying errors.

Frequent Questions

1. Can I get an extension of the due date?

No! On rare occasions the Department of Education may extend a closing date for all applicants. If that occurs, a notice of the revised due date is published in the Federal Register. However, there are no extensions or exceptions to the due date made for individual applicants.

2. What should be included in the application?

The application should include a project narrative, vitae of key personnel, and a budget, as well as the Assurances forms included in this package. Vitae of staff or consultants should include the individual's title and role in the proposed project, and other information that is specifically pertinent to this proposed project. The budgets for both the first year and all subsequent project years should be included.

If collaboration with another organization is involved in the proposed activity, the application should include assurances of participation by the other parties, including written agreements or assurances of cooperation. It is not useful to include general letters of support or endorsement in the application.

If the applicant proposes to use unique tests or other measurement instruments that are not widely known in the field, it would be helpful to include the instrument in the application.

Many applications contain voluminous appendices that are not helpful and in many cases cannot even be mailed to the reviewers. It is generally not helpful to include such things as brochures, general capability statements of collaborating organizations, maps, copies of publications, or descriptions of other projects completed by the applicant.

3. What format should be used for the application?

NIDRR generally advises applicants that they may organize the application to follow the selection criteria that will be used. The specific review criteria vary according to the specific program, and are contained in this Consolidated Application Package.

4. May I submit applications to more than one nidrr program competition or more than one application to a program?

Yes, you may submit applications to any program for which they are responsive to the program requirements. You may submit the same application to as many competitions as you believe appropriate. You may also submit more than one application in any given competition.

5. What is the allowable indirect cost rate?

The limits on indirect costs vary according to the program and the type of application. An applicant for an RRTC is limited to an indirect rate of 15 percent. An applicant for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project should limit indirect charges to the organization's approved indirect cost rate. If the organization does not have an approved indirect cost rate, the application should include an estimated actual rate.

6. Can profitmaking businesses apply for grants?

Yes. However, for-profit organizations will not be able to collect a fee or profit on the grant, and in some programs will be required to share in the costs of the project.

7. Can individuals apply for grants?

No. Only organizations are eligible to apply for grants under NIDRR programs. However, individuals are the only entities eligible to apply for fellowships.

8. Can nidrr staff advise me whether my project is of interest to nidrr or likely to be funded?

No. NIDRR staff can advise you of the requirements of the program in which you propose to submit your application. However, staff cannot advise you of whether your subject area or proposed approach is likely to receive approval.

9. How do I assure that my application will be referred to the most appropriate panel for review?

Applicants should be sure that their applications are referred to the correct competition by clearly including the competition title and CFDA number, including alphabetical code, on the ED 424, and including a project title that describes the project.

10. How soon after submitting my application can I find out if it will be funded?

The time from closing date to grant award date varies from program to program. Generally speaking, NIDRR endeavors to have awards made within five to six months of the closing date. Unsuccessful applicants generally will be notified within that time frame as well. For the purpose of estimating a project start date, the applicant should estimate approximately six months from the closing date, but no later than the following September 30.

11. Can I call nidrr to find out if my application is being funded?

No. When NIDRR is able to release information on the status of grant applications, it will notify applicants by letter. The results of the peer review cannot be released except through this formal notification.

12. If my application is successful, can I assume I will get the requested budget amount in subsequent years?

No. Funding in subsequent years is subject to availability of funds and project performance.

13. Will all approved applications be funded?

No. It often happens that the peer review panels approve for funding more applications than NIDRR can fund within available resources. Applicants who are approved but not funded are encouraged to consider submitting similar applications in future competitions.

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BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

[FR Doc. 00-32786 Filed 12-22-00; 8:45 am]

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