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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133S-1.

DATES:

Applications Available: March 10, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 9, 2005.

Eligible Applicants: Small business concerns as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) at the time of the award. This definition is included in the application package.

All technology, science, or engineering firms with strong research capabilities in any of the priority areas listed in this notice are encouraged to participate.

Consultative or other arrangements between these firms and universities or other non-profit organizations are permitted, but the small business concern must serve as the grantee.

If it appears that an applicant organization does not meet the eligibility requirements, we will request an evaluation by the SBA. Under circumstances in which eligibility is unclear, we will not make a SBIR award until the SBA makes a determination.

Estimated Available Funds: $1,275,000 for new Phase I awards.

Note:

The estimated amount of funds available for new Phase I awards is based upon the estimated threshold SBIR allocation for OSERS, less prior commitments for Phase II continuation awards.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $75,000.

Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $75,000 for a single budget period of 6 months.

Note:

Maximum award amount includes direct and indirect costs and fees.

Estimated Number of Awards: 17.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 6 months for Phase I.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program is to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research or research and development (R/R&D) needs, increase the commercial application of Department of Education (ED) supported research results, and improve the return on investment from federally funded research for economic and social benefits to the Nation.

Note:

NIDRR supports the goals of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​infocus/​newfreedom/​.

The goals of the SBIR program are in concert with NIDRR's 1999-2003 Long-Range Plan (Plan). The Plan can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​rschstat/​research/​pubs/​index.html.

Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to—(1) improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings.

Background

The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (Act) was enacted on December 21, 2000. The Act requires certain agencies, including ED, to establish SBIR programs by reserving a statutory percentage of their extramural research and development budgets to be awarded to small business concerns for R/R&D through a uniform, highly competitive three-phase process.

The three phases of the SBIR program are:

Phase I: Phase I projects determine, insofar as possible, the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of ideas submitted under the SBIR program. The application should concentrate on research that will significantly contribute to proving the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept and that would be a prerequisite to further Department support in Phase II.

Phase II: Phase II projects expand on the results of and further pursue the development of Phase I projects. Phase II is the principal R/R&D effort. It requires a more comprehensive application, outlining the effort in detail including the commercial potential. Phase II applicants must be Phase I awardees with approaches that appear sufficiently promising as a result of Phase I. Awards are for periods of up to 2 years in amounts up to $500,000.

Phase III: In Phase III, the small business must use non-SBIR capital to pursue commercial applications of the R/R&D. Also, under Phase III, Federal agencies may award non-SBIR follow-on funding for products or processes that meet the needs of those agencies.

All SBIR projects funded by NIDRR must address the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. 29 U.S.C. 762. Activities may include exploring the uses of technology to ensure equal access to education, employment, community environments, and information for individuals with disabilities and improving the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research.

Priorities: Under this competition we are particularly interested in applications that address one of the following priorities.

Invitational Priorities: For FY 2005 these priorities are invitational Start Printed Page 11955priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets one of these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications. The invitational priorities relate to innovative research utilizing new technologies to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.

These priorities are:

(1) Development of technology to support access, promote integration, or foster independence of individuals with disabilities in the workplace, recreational activities or educational settings.

(2) Development of technology to enhance sensory or motor function of individuals with disabilities.

(3) Development of technology to support transition into post-secondary educational or employment settings for individuals with disabilities.

(4) Development of accessible information technology including Web access technology, unique software, and other systems and devices that promote access to information in educational, employment and community settings including access to voting technology.

(5) Development of technology to support independent access to health care services in the community.

Each applicant should describe the approaches they expect to use to collect empirical evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the technology they are proposing in an effort to assess the efficacy and usefulness of the technology.

Note:

Applicants are encouraged to consider universal design principles and guidelines for more accessible design. Universal design is defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” (The Center for Universal Design, 1997. The Principles of Universal Design, Version 2.0. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University. Web: http://www.ncsu.edu/​www/​ncsu/​design/​sod5/​cud/​univ_​design/​ud.htm.) Accessible design of consumer products minimizes or alleviates barriers that reduce the ability of individuals with disabilities to effectively or safely use standard consumer products (For more information see—http://www.trace.wisc.edu/​docs/​consumer_​product_​guidelines/​consumer.pcs/​disabil.htm.)

Program Authority: The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-554 (15 U.S.C. 631 and 638) and title II of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 81, 82, 84, 85, 97, 98 and 99.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $1,275,000 for new Phase I awards.

Note:

The estimated amount of funds available for new Phase I awards is based upon the estimated threshold SBIR allocation for OSERS, less prior commitments for Phase II continuation awards.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $75,000.

Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $75,000 for a single budget period of 6 months.

Note:

Maximum award amount includes direct and indirect costs and fees.

Estimated Number of Awards: 17.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 6 months for Phase I.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Small business concerns as defined by the SBA at the time of the award. This definition is included in the application package.

All technology, science, or engineering firms with strong research capabilities in any of the priority areas listed in this notice are encouraged to participate.

Consultative or other arrangements between these firms and universities or other non-profit organizations are permitted, but the small business concern must serve as the grantee.

If it appears that an applicant organization does not meet the eligibility requirements, we will request an evaluation by the SBA. Under circumstances in which eligibility is unclear, we will not make a SBIR award until the SBA makes a determination.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not involve cost sharing or matching.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: You may obtain an application package via Internet or from the ED Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via Internet use the following address: http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​grantapps/​index.html. To obtain a copy of the application package from ED Pubs, write or call the following: ED Pubs P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone (toll free): 1-877-433-7827. Fax: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call (toll free): 1-877-576-7734.

You may also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html or you may contact ED Pubs at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.133S-1.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact person listed under section VII of this notice.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III (narrative) to the equivalent of no more than 25 pages, excluding any documentation of prior multiple Phase II awards, if applicable, and required forms, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Single space all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12-point or larger or no smaller that 10 pitch (characters per inch). Standard black type should be used to permit photocopying.
  • Draw all graphs, diagrams, tables, and charts in black ink. Do not include glossy photographs or materials that cannot be photocopied in the body of the application.

The page limit does not apply to the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the one-page abstract; the resumes; the bibliography; the letters of support; certifications; statements; related application(s) or award(s); or documentation of multiple Phase II awards, if applicable.

The application package will provide instructions for completing all components to be included in the application. Each application must include a cover sheet (ED Standard Form 424); budget requirements (ED Form 524) and other required forms; an abstract, certifications, and statements; a technical content project narrative (subject to the page limits); and related application(s) or award(s) and Start Printed Page 11956documentation of multiple Phase II awards, if applicable.

We will reject your application if—

  • You apply these standards and exceed the page limit; or
  • You apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

3. Content Restrictions: If an applicant chooses to respond to the invitational priorities and an application is relevant to more than one priority, the applicant must decide which priority is most relevant to the application and submit the application under that priority only. There is no limitation on the number of different applications that an applicant may submit under this competition. An applicant may submit separate applications on different topics, or different applications on the same priority. However, each application must respond to only one priority.

4. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: March 10, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 9, 2005. Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically or by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV. 7. Other Submission Requirements in this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

5. Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

6. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications for grants under the Small Business Innovative Research Program—CFDA Number 84.133S-1 must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

You may access the electronic grant application for the Small Business Innovative Research Program—CFDA Number 84.133S-1 at: http://www.grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search.

Please note the following:

  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
  • Applications received by Grants.gov are time and date stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted with a date/time received by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will not consider your application if it was received by the Grants.gov system later than 4:30 p.m. on the application deadline date. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was submitted after 4:30 p.m. on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that your application is submitted timely to the Grants.gov system.
  • To use Grants.gov, you, as the applicant, must have a D-U-N-S Number and register in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). You should allow a minimum of five business days to complete the CCR registration.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information typically included on the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications. Any narrative sections of your application should be attached as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. The Department will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you a second confirmation by e-mail that will include a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

  • You do not have access to the Internet; or
  • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
  • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application. If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax your statement to: Carol Cohen, U.S. Start Printed Page 11957Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6035, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2700. Fax: (202) 245-7323.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the applicable following address:

By mail through the U.S. Postal Service: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.133S-1), 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260; or

By mail through a commercial carrier: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center—Stop 4260, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.133S-1), 7100 Old Landover Road, Landover, MD 20785-1506.

Regardless of which address you use, you must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(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, or

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark, or

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

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:

U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.133S-1), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department:

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 4 of the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424) the CFDA number—and suffix letter, if any—of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

(2) The Application Control Center will mail a grant application receipt acknowledgment to you. If you do not receive the grant application receipt acknowledgment within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 of EDGAR and are listed in the application package.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may also notify you informally.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as specified by the Secretary in 34 CFR 75.118.

Note:

NIDRR will provide information by letter to grantees on how and when to submit the report.

4. Performance Measures: To evaluate the overall success of its research program, NIDRR assesses the quality of its funded projects through review of grantee performance and products. Each year, NIDRR examines information submitted by SBIR grantees as part of their Final Report to determine:

  • The degree to which the grantees are conducting high-quality research, as reflected in the appropriateness of study designs, the rigor with which accepted standards of scientific and engineering methods are applied, and the degree to which the research builds on and contributes to the level of knowledge in the field;
  • The number of new or improved tools and products developed or tested with NIDRR funding that improve measurement and data collection procedures and enhance the design and evaluation of disability and rehabilitation interventions, products and devices; and
  • The number of new or improved assistive and universally designed technologies, products, and devices developed by grantees that improve outcomes, increase access, and have potential to be transferred to industry for commercialization.

VII. Agency Contact

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carol Cohen, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6035, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7303 or via Internet: carol.cohen@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact person listed in this section.

VIII. Other Information

Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the Start Printed Page 11958following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister.

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

Note:

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

Start Signature

Dated: March 4, 2005.

John H. Hager,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. 05-4740 Filed 3-9-05; 8:45 am]

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