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Notice

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program; Notice Inviting Applications for Fiscal Year 2002

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Note to Applicants:

This notice contains the information, application forms, and instructions you need to apply for a grant under the program.

Purpose of the Program: The purpose of the RERC Program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the Act), as amended.

For FY 2002 the competition for new awards focuses on projects designed to meet the priorities we describe in the PRIORITIES section of this application notice. 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.

Application Available: June 19, 2002.

Letters of Intent

Due to the open nature of this competition, NIDRR is requiring all potential applicants to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). Each LOI must be limited to a maximum of four pages and must include the following information: (1) The title of the proposed RERC, the name of the host institution, the name of the Principal Investigator (PI), and the names of partner institutions and entities; (2) a brief statement of the vision, goals, and objectives of the proposed RERC and a description of its research and development activities at a sufficient level of detail to allow NIDRR to select potential reviewers; (3) a list of proposed RERC staff including the Center Director and key personnel; and (4) a list of individuals whose selection as a reviewer might constitute a conflict of interest due to involvement in proposal development, selection as an advisory board member, co-PI relationships, etc.

The signed, original LOI must be received by NIDRR no later than July 19, 2002. Submission of an LOI is a prerequisite for eligibility to submit an application. With prior approval, an e-mail or facsimile copy of an LOI will be accepted, but the signed original must be sent to: William Peterson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3425, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. For further information regarding the LOI requirement, contact William Peterson at (202) 205-9192 or by e-mail at: william.peterson@ed.gov.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 19, 2002.

Maximum Award Amount: $900,000.

Note:

We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the stated maximum award amount in any year (See 34 CFR 75.104(b)).

Estimated Number of Awards: 5.

Project Period: 60 months.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

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Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762.

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

Priorities

This competition focuses on projects designed to meet the priorities in the notice of final priorities for these programs, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The priorities are: (a) Spinal Cord Injury; (b) Recreational Technologies and Exercise Physiology Benefiting Persons with Disabilities; (c) Applied Biomaterials; (d) Measurement and Monitoring of Functional Performance; (e) Accessible Medical Instrumentation; (f) Universal Interface Technologies; (g) Work Place Accommodations; (h) Accessible Airline Transportation; and (i) Rehabilitation Robotics and Telemanipulation Systems.

For FY 2002, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet one or more of these priorities.

Selection Criteria

We use the following selection criteria to evaluate applications under this program.

The maximum score for all of these criteria is 100 points.

The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.

An additional 10 points may be earned by an applicant depending on how well they meet the additional selection criterion elsewhere in this notice.

(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 (4 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 extent to which the applicant addresses all requirements of the absolute or competitive priority (4 points).Start Printed Page 41772

(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 (22 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—

(A) The proposed project will use the most effective and appropriate technology available in developing the new device or technique (4 points);

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

(C) The new device or technique will be developed and tested in an appropriate environment (4 points);

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

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

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

(e) Design of training activities (5 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 (5 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 points).

(g) Plan of operation (5 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 (5 points).

(h) 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).

(i) 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 extent to which the budget for the project, including any subcontracts, is adequately justified to support the proposed project activities (4 points).

(j) 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 considers the extent to which the plan of evaluation will be used to improve the performance of the project through the feedback generated by its periodic assessments (8 points).

(k) 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 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 (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).

(l) 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 (3 points).

(ii) 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 (2 points).

Additional Selection Criterion (10 points).

We use the following additional criterion to evaluate applications under each priority.Start Printed Page 41773

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.

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 pre-application meeting will be held on July 2, 2002 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 Street, SW., Washington, DC between 10 AM and 12 noon. NIDRR staff will also be available from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM 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 Donna Nangle, Switzer Building, room 3412, 330 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20202. Telephone (202) 205-5880 or via Internet: donna.nangle@ed.gov

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 will 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 alternate 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 Procedures

The Assistant Secretary 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)).

The Assistant Secretary strongly recommends 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

(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 #84.133E-7 [Applicant must insert priority name], Washington, DC 20202-4725, or

(2) Hand deliver the original and two copies of the application by 4:30 PM [Washington, DC time] on or before the deadline date to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: CFDA #84.133E-7 [Applicant must insert priority name], room #3671, 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.

(1) 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 Assistance (ED 424 (Rev. 11/30/2004)) and instructions.

Part II: Budget Form—Non-Construction Programs (ED 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 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 (if applicable) and instructions; and Disclosure Lobbying Activities Continuation Sheet (Standard Form LLL-A).

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.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3412, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. Start Printed Page 41774Telephone: (202) 205-5880 or via Internet: Donna.Nangle@ed.gov

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), may call the TDD number at (202) 205-4475.

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 INFORMATION CONTACT.

Electronic Access to This Document

You may review 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: http://www.ed.gov/​legislation/​FedRegister.

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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

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Dated: June 13, 2002.

Robert H. Pasternack,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and, Rehabilitative Services.

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Appendix

Instructions for Estimated Public Reporting Burden

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The valid OMB control number for this collection of information is 1820-0027. Expiration date: 2/28/2003. We estimate the time required to complete this collection of information to average 30 hours per response, including the time to review instructions, search existing data sources, gather the data needed, and complete and review the collection of information. If you have any comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate or suggestions for improving this form, please write to: U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202-4651. If you have comments or concerns regarding the status of your submission of this form, write directly to: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3412, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645.

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%. An applicant for a DRRP 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 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.

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?

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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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[FR Doc. 02-15394 Filed 6-18-02; 8:45 am]

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