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Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

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ACTION:

Notice Inviting Applications and pre-application meeting for New Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers for Fiscal Year 2001-2003.

Note to Applicants: This notice is a complete application package. Together with the statute authorizing 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.

This notice of final funding priorities for Technology for Successful Aging, Wheelchair Transportation Safety, and Mobile Wireless Technologies for Persons with Disabilities are published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

National Education Goals

The eight National Education Goals focus the Nation's education reform efforts and provide a framework for improving teaching and learning. This notice would address the National Education Goals that promote new partnerships to strengthen schools and expand the Department's capacities for helping communities to exchange ideas and obtain information needed to achieve the goals.

This notice addresses the National Education Goal that every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

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.

Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 764(b)(3).

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86 and 97, and the program regulations 34 CFR part 350.

Pre-Application Meeting: Interested parties are invited to participate in a pre-application meeting to discuss the funding priorities and to receive technical assistance through individual consultation and information about the funding priorities. The meeting will be held on July 12, 2001 you may attend either in person or by conference call at the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Switzer Building, Room 3065, 330 C St. SW., Washington, DC between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. NIDRR staff will also be available from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on that same day to provide technical assistance through individual consultation and information about the funding priority. For further information or to make arrangements to attend contact William Peterson, Switzer Building, Room 3425, 330 C St., SW, Washington, DC 20202. William.Peterson@ed.gov on the Internet or Telephone (202) 205-9192. If you use a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD), you may call (202) 205-4475.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities at the Public Meetings

The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities, and a sign language interpreter will be available. If you need an auxiliary aid or service other than a sign language interpreter in order to participate in the meeting (e.g. other interpreting service such as oral, cued speech, or tactile interpreter; assistive listening device; or materials in alternative format), notify the contact person listed in this notice at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting date. Although we will attempt to meet a request we receive after this date, we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of insufficient time to arrange it.

Application Notice for Fiscal Year 2001 Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers, CFDA No. 84-133E

Funding priorityDeadline for transmittal of applicationsEstimated number of awardsMaximum award amount (per year) 1Project period (months)
84.133E-1 Technology for Successful AgingAugust 13, 20011$900,00060
84.133E-3 Wheelchair Transportation SafetyAugust 13, 20011900,00060
84.133E-8 Mobile Wireless Technologies for Persons with DisabilitiesAugust 13, 200111,000,00060
Available Date: June 15, 2001.
1 The Secretary will reject without consideration or evaluation any application that proposes a project funding level that exceeds the stated maximum award amount in any year (See 34 CFR 75.104(b)).
Note.—The estimate of funding level and awards in this notice do not bind the Department of Education to a specific level of funding or number of grants.

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., room 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.

Selection Criteria: The Secretary uses the following selection criteria to evaluate applications under the RERC program.Start Printed Page 32687

(a) Importance of the problem (6 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the importance of the problem.

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

(i) The extent to which the applicant clearly describes the need and target population (3 points).

(ii) The extent to which the proposed project will have beneficial impact on the target population (3 points).

(b) Responsiveness to an absolute or competitive priority (5 points total).

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

(2) In determining the application's responsiveness 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 (3 points).

(ii) The extent to which the applicant's proposed activities are likely to achieve the purposes of the absolute or competitive priority (2 points).

(c) Design of research activities (22 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 (7 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 (3 points);

(B) Each research hypothesis is theoretically sound and based on current knowledge (3 points);

(C) Each sample population is appropriate and of sufficient size (3 points);

(D) The data collection and measurement techniques are appropriate and likely to be effective (3 points); and

(E) The data analysis methods are appropriate (3 points).

(d) Design of development activities (20 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of development 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 extent to which the plan for development, clinical testing, and evaluation of new devices and technology is likely to yield significant products or techniques, including consideration of the extent to which:

(i) The proposed project will use the most effective and appropriate technology available in developing the new device or technique (3 points);

(ii) The proposed development is based on a sound conceptual model that demonstrates an awareness of the state-of-the-art in technology (4 points);

(iii) The new device or technique will be developed and tested in an appropriate environment (3 points);

(iv) The new device or technique is likely to be cost-effective and useful (3 points);

(v) The new device or technique has the potential for commercial or private manufacture, marketing, and distribution of the product (4 points); and

(vi) The proposed development efforts include adequate quality controls and, as appropriate, repeated testing of products (3 points).

(e) Design of training activities (4 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of training 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 extent to which the type, extent, and quality of the proposed clinical and laboratory research experience, including the opportunity to participate in advanced-level research, are likely to develop highly qualified researchers (4 points).

(f) Design of dissemination activities (7 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 information to be disseminated will be accessible to individuals with disabilities (2 point).

(g) Design of utilization activities (3 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the extent to which the design of utilization 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 extent to which the potential new users of the information or technology have a practical use for the information and are likely to adopt the practices or use the information or technology, including new devices (3 points).

(h) Plan of operation (4 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 (4 points).

(i) Collaboration (4 points Total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of collaboration.

(2) In determining the quality of collaboration, the Secretary considers 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).

(j) Adequacy and reasonableness of the budget (4 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 point).

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

(k) Plan of evaluation (8 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 Start Printed Page 32688considers the extent to which the plan of evaluation provides for periodic assessment of progress toward the following factors:

(i) Implementing the plan or operation; (4 points); and

(ii) Achieving the project's intended outcomes and expected impacts (4 points).

(l) Project staff (8 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 point).

(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 (3 points).

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

(m) Adequacy and accessibility of resources (5 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the adequacy and accessibility of the applicant's resources to implement the proposed project.

(2) In determining the adequacy and accessibility of resources, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the applicant is committed to provide adequate facilities, equipment, other resources, including administrative support, and laboratories, if appropriate (2 points).

(ii) The extent to which the applicant has appropriate access to clinical populations and organizations representing individuals with disabilities to support advanced clinical rehabilitation research (2 point).

(iii) The extent to which the facilities, equipment, and other resources are appropriately accessible to individuals with disabilities who may use the facilities, equipment, and other resources of the project (1 point).

Additional Selection Criterion

We will use the selection criteria in 34 CFR 350.54 to evaluate applications under this program. 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 could be added 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 125 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

If you want to apply for a grant and be considered for funding, you must meet the following deadline requirements:

(a) If You Send Your Application by Mail.

You must 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 #84.133E (Applicant must insert priority name), Washington, DC 20202-4725.

You 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.

If you mail an application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 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.

(b) If You Deliver Your Application by Hand

You or your courier must 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 #84.133E (Applicant must insert priority name), Room #3633, Regional Office Building #3, 7th and D Streets, SW, Washington, DC.

The Application Control Center accepts application Deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Washington, DC time), except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. The Center accepts application deliveries through the D Street entrance only. A person delivering an application must show identification to enter the building.

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) If you send your application by mail or if you or your courier deliver it by hand, the Application Control Center will mail a Grant Application Receipt Acknowledgment to you. If you do not receive the notification of application receipt with 15 days from the date of mailing the application, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 708-9493.

(3) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 3 of the Application for Federal Assistance (ED Form 424; revised November 12, 1999) the CFDA number—and letter, if any—of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

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 Assistance (ED 424 (Rev. 11/12/99)) and instructions.

PART II: Budget Form—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524) and instructions.Start Printed Page 32689

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 Work-Place Requirements (ED Form 80-0013).

Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion: Lower Tier Covered Transactions (ED Form 80-0014) and instructions. (NOTE: ED Form GCS-014 is intended for the use of primary participants and should not be transmitted to the Department.)

Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (Standard Form LLL (Rev. 7-97)) if applicable) and instructions.

You may submit information on a photocopy 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. We will not award a grant unless we have received a completed application form.

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/​legislation/​FedRegister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the previous 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.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers: 84.133E, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers)

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

Dated: June 12, 2001.

Francis V. Corrigan,

Deputy Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

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Appendix

Apllication 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%. 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 Peferred 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 Standard Form 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.Start Printed Page 32690

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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Public reporting burden for these collections of information is estimated to average 30 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of these collections of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: the U.S. Department of Education, Information Management and Compliance Division, Washington, DC 20202-4651; and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project 1820-0027, Washington, DC 20503.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (CFDA No. 84.133E) 34 CFR part 350 Subpart B.

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