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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Overview Information; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)-Phase I; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009

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Start Preamble

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

DATES:

Applications Available: September 9, 2008.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: November 10, 2008.Start Printed Page 52333

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 the U.S. Department of Education (Department) supported research results, and improve the return on investment from federally funded research for economic and social benefits to the Nation.

Note:

This program is in concert with President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​infocus/​newfreedom.

The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR Doc 8166), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​about/​offices/​list/​osers/​nidrr/​policy.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 individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with disabilities from underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings.

NIDRR Supports Manufacturing-Related Innovation (Executive Order 13329): Executive Order 13329 states that continued technological innovation is critical to a strong manufacturing sector in the United States economy and ensures that Federal agencies assist the private sector in its manufacturing innovation efforts. The Department's SBIR program encourages innovative research and development (R&D) projects that are manufacturing-related, as defined by Executive Order 13329. Manufacturing-related R&D encompasses improvements in existing methods or processes, or wholly new processes, machines, or systems. The projects supported under the Department's SBIR program encompass a range of manufacturing-related R&D, including projects leading to the manufacture of such items as artificial intelligence or information technology devices, software, and systems. For more information on Executive Order 13329, please visit the following Web site: http://www.sba.gov/​sbir/​execorder.html or contact Lynn Medley at: lynn.medley@ed.gov.

Background

The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (Act) was enacted on December 21, 2000. The Act requires certain agencies, including the Department, to establish SBIR programs by reserving a statutory percentage of their extramural R&D budgets to be awarded to small business concerns 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. An application for Phase I should concentrate on research that will significantly contribute to proving the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Scientific or technical feasibility is a prerequisite to further support by the Department 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 of the SBIR program. Applications for Phase II projects must be more comprehensive than applications for Phase I projects; Phase II applications must outline the proposed effort in detail, including the commercial potential of projects or processes developed or researched during the Phase I project. Phase II applicants must be Phase I grantees with approaches that appear sufficiently promising as a result of their efforts in Phase I. Phase II awards are for periods of up to two years in amounts up to a maximum total of $500,000 over a period of two years.

Phase III: In Phase III, the small business grantee 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. (See 29 U.S.C. 762.) Activities may include: conducting manufacturing-related R&D that encompasses improvements in existing methods or processes, or wholly new processes, machines, or systems; 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 2009 these priorities are invitational priorities. 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.

These priorities are:

Each of the following priorities relate to innovative research utilizing new technologies to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. Applicants who choose to respond to one of the invitational priorities must propose projects whose activities contribute to one of the following outcomes:

(1) Increased independence of individuals with disabilities in the workplace, recreational settings, or educational settings through the development of technology to support access and promote integration of individuals with disabilities.

(2) Enhanced sensory or motor function of individuals with disabilities through the development of technology to support improved functional capacity.

(3) Enhanced workforce participation through the development of technology to support access to employment, promote sustained employment, and promote employment advancement for individuals with disabilities.

(4) Enhanced community participation and living for individuals with disabilities through the development of accessible information technology including Web access technology, software, and other systems and devices that promote access to information in educational, employment, and community settings, and voting technology that improves access for individuals with disabilities.

(5) Improved interventions and increased use of health-care resources through the development of technology to support independent access to health-care services in the community for individuals with disabilities.

Applicants should describe the approaches they expect to use to collect empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of the technology they are proposing. This empirical evidence should facilitate the assessment of the Start Printed Page 52334efficacy and usefulness of the technology.

Note:

NIDRR encourages applicants to adhere to universal design principles and guidelines. 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). 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 ).

Reference: The Center for Universal Design. (1997). The Principles of Universal Design, Version 2.0. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University. Web: www.design.ncsu.edu.

Program Authority: The Small Business Act, Pub. L. 85-536, as amended (15 U.S.C. 631 and 638), and title II of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 760, et seq.).

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: The Administration has requested $105,700,000 for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research for FY 2009, of which we intend to use an estimated $1,125,000 for new Phase I awards under the SBIR program. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Note:

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

Estimated Range of Awards: $70,000-$75,000.

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 up to six months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Note:

The maximum award amount includes direct and indirect costs and fees.

Estimated Number of Awards: 15.

Note:

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

Maximum Project Period: We will reject any application that proposes a project period that exceeds a single budget period of up to six months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum project period through a notice published in the Federal Register.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Entities that are, at the time of award, small business concerns as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA). 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. For Phase I projects, at least two-thirds of the research and/or analytic activities must be performed by the proposing small business concern. Furthermore, the total of all consultant fees, facility leases or usage fees, and other subcontracts or purchase agreements may not exceed one-third of the total funding award.

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 an SBIR award until the SBA makes a determination.

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

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​grantapps/​index.html.

To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: Education Publications Center, 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), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html or 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 can obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g. , Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person listed under Alternative Format in section VIII 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 the application narrative (Part III) 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″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Single space all text in the application narrative. Single space 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 than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the coversheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the letters of support; related application(s) or award(s); or documentation of multiple Phase II awards, if applicable. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section (Part III).

We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.

The application package will provide instructions for completing all components to be included in the application. Each application must include a cover sheet (Standard Form 424); budget requirements (ED Form 524) and narrative justification; other required forms; an abstract, Human Subjects narrative, Part III narrative; resume of staff; and other related materials, if applicable.Start Printed Page 52335

3. Content Restrictions: If an applicant chooses to respond to more than one invitational priority, the applicant must submit a separate application for each priority. 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 priorities, or different applications on the same priority. However, an applicant may address only one priority in an application.

The Plan is organized around the following research domains and arenas: (1) Community Living and Participation; (2) Health and Function; (3) Technology; (4) Employment; and (5) Demographics. Applicants should indicate, for each application, the domain or arena under which they are applying. In their applications, applicants should clearly indicate whether they are applying for a research grant in the area of (1) Community Living and Participation; (2) Health and Function; (3) Technology; (4) Employment; or (5) Demographics. No more than one designation should be selected for each application.

4. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: September 9, 2008.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: November 10, 2008.

Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery, 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.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII in this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

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 in this notice.

7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

To comply with the President's Management Agenda, we are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site. The SBIR Program, CFDA Number 84.133S-1, is included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.

If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must use the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://www.Grants.gov. 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.

You may access the electronic grant application for the SBIR Program at: http://www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g. , search for 84.133, not 84.133S).

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
  • 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 date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, 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 submission 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 you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov at http://e-Grants.ed.gov/​help/​GrantsgovSubmissionProcedures.pdf.
  • To submit your application via Grants.gov, you must complete all steps in the Grants.gov registration process (see http://www.grants.gov/​applicants/​get_​registered.jsp ). These steps include (1) registering your organization, a multi-part process that includes registration with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR); (2) registering yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (3) getting authorized as an AOR by your organization. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/​section910/​Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf). You also must provide on your application the same D-U-N-S Number used with this registration. Please note that the registration process may take five or more business days to complete, and you must have completed all registration steps to allow you to submit successfully an application via Grants.gov. In addition you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • If you submit your application electronically, you must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications. Please note that two of these forms—the SF 424 and the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424—have replaced the ED 424 (Application for Federal Education Assistance).Start Printed Page 52336
  • If you submit your application electronically, you must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .DOC (document), RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than the three file types specified in this paragraph or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by e-mail. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application 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.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues With the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII in this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

Note:

The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), 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.

(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.

(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 submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) 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 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification 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 35 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 Notice (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.

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 in this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section in 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 Start Printed Page 52337performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html.

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, through expert review, a portion of its grantees 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; and
  • The number of new or improved assistive and universally designed technologies, products, and devices developed by grantees that are deemed to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes, enhance opportunities for participation by individuals with disabilities, and are successfully transferred to industry or other private entities for potential commercialization.

VII. Agency Contact

For Further Information Contact: Lynn Medley, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6027, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7338 or by e-mail: Lynn.Medley@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD, call the TDD number at (202) 205-4475.

VIII. Other Information

Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g. , Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can 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 following 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: September 4, 2008.

Tracy R. Justesen,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E8-20906 Filed 9-8-08; 8:45 am]

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