The NIDILRR Program Directory: Introduction
Below is the introduction printed in the hard copy version of the directory. See the publications list for information on downloading the Directory .
Produced by the
National Rehabilitation Information Center
Mark X. Odum
Jessica H. Chaiken
Media and Public Education Manager
Catherine E. Graves
The mission of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) is to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use to improve the abilities of people with disabilities to participate in community activities of their choice, and also to enhance society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities. NIDILRR conducts comprehensive and coordinated programs of research and related activities to assist in the achievement of the full inclusion, social integration, employment, and independent living of individuals of all ages with all types and degrees of disability, including low-incidence disability.
In October 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As part of the Act, the Institute was renamed from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to NIDILRR and moved from the Department of Education to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This edition of the NIDILRR Program Directory lists all projects funded by NIDILRR during the 2015 fiscal year. Grants awarded prior to October 2014 will include previous grant numbers assigned by the Department of Education as well as current grant numbers assigned by ACL. Grants awarded after October 2014 will only include the ACL-assigned grant numbers.
NIDILRR’s Research Program
NIDILRR is committed to maintaining its focus on practical application of knowledge and products from research and development through knowledge translation, capacity building, technical assistance, and information dissemination/utilization to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Under the 2013-2017 Long Range Plan (https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-07879), NIDILRR supports a wide range of research, development, and other related activities designed to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve long-term outcomes such as independence, community participation, employment, and good health and well-being.
NIDILRR makes awards through several program mechanisms including the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) National Network Projects, Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Projects, Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects, Mary E. Switzer Research Fellowships, Model System Centers Programs, NIDILRR Contracts, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers, Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, and Small Business Innovation Research. Program descriptions are provided below.
ADA National Network Projects
NIDILRR funds the ADA National Network to provide ADA-related information, training, and technical assistance to businesses, agencies, and the public, as well as conducting ADA-related research. Presently, ten ADA regional centers and one ADA collaborative research center are funded under this program. Beginning in 2011, NIDILRR funded an ADA National Network Knowledge Translation Center (ADA KT) to support knowledge translation activities of all ADA National Network centers.
Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Projects
The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Program provides research training and to qualified persons with doctoral or similar advanced degrees with clinical, management, basic science, or engineering research experience and prepare them to conduct independent research on problems related to disability and rehabilitation. The program is designed to give postdoctoral trainees the skills needed to become independent rehabilitation/disability researchers (e.g., provide advanced education and training in rehabilitation research to engineers and clinicians), and thereby, to build capacity in the field. Grants are made to institutions to recruit qualified persons, and to provide a training program that includes didactic and classroom instruction in an interdisciplinary environment, emphasizing scientific research methodology. The training may involve collaboration among institutions.
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects
The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) program funds projects that include a range of activities including research, development, demonstration, training, knowledge translation, technical assistance, dissemination, and utilization. These projects may develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology to assist in achieving the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most significant disabilities, or to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act.
Mary E. Switzer Research Fellowships
The Research Fellowships, named for the late Mary E. Switzer, give individual researchers the opportunity to develop new ideas and gain research experience. There are two levels of fellowships: Distinguished Fellowships and Merit Fellowships. Distinguished Fellowships go to individuals who have seven or more years of research experience in subject areas, methods, or techniques relevant to rehabilitation research and must have a doctorate, other terminal degree, or comparable academic qualifications. Merit Fellowships are given to individuals who have either advanced professional training or independent study experience in an area directly pertinent to disability and rehabilitation but who do not meet the qualifications for Distinguished, usually because they are in earlier stages of their careers. Both fellowship levels support one year of independent research activities.
NIDILRR administers programs that have become world-renowned model system of care for persons with burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. The Model System Centers Programs establish innovative projects for the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of comprehensive medical, vocational, and other rehabilitation services. The work of the Model System Centers begins at the point of injury and ends with successful re-entry into full community life. These projects collect and contribute data on patient characteristics, diagnoses, causes of injury, interventions, outcomes, and costs to a uniform national database; conduct research, both independently and collaboratively with other Model System Centers; and coordinate research efforts with other related grant recipients. Since 2006, NIDILRR has funded a Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) to support knowledge translation activities of all three Model System Centers Programs.
Through its contracts, NIDILRR seeks improved methods, systems, products, and practices to enhance its work. The contracts are for specific activities related to management, research, and information dissemination.
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs) conduct programs of advanced research of an engineering or technical nature designed to apply advanced technology, scientific achievement, and psychological and social knowledge to solve rehabilitation problems and remove environmental barriers. Each center is affiliated with one or more institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations. Involved at both the individual and systems levels, RERCs seek to find and evaluate the newest technologies, products, and methods that ultimately can benefit the independence of persons with disabilities and the universal design of environments for all people of all ages. The centers also exchange technical and engineering information worldwide and engage in technology transfer activities to maximize the use of new technology in producing end-user products, both commercialized and non-commercialized, that are readily available for public consumption. Since 2008, NIDILRR has funded the Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer (KT4TT) Center to assist RERC grantees in their technology transfer efforts.
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers
NIDILRR’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) conduct coordinated and integrated advanced programs of research targeted toward the production of new knowledge, which may improve rehabilitation methodology and service delivery systems, alleviate or stabilize disabling conditions, or promote maximum social and economic independence for persons with disabilities. Operated in collaboration with institutions of higher education or providers of rehabilitation or other appropriate services, RRTCs serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation research. Also, they are national or regional resources for research information for individuals with disabilities and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals. These centers also conduct related training programs, including graduate, pre-service and in-service training. The centers also disseminate and promote the utilization of research findings.
Small Business Innovation Research
The purpose of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research or research and development needs, increase the commercial application of Federally-supported research results, and improve the return on investment from Federally-funded research for economic and social benefits to the Nation. SBIR grants at NIDILRR help support the production of new assistive and rehabilitation technology. NIDILRR supports Phase I and Phase II SBIR projects. Phase I grants support research that will contribute to proving the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach, concept, or product identified in the proposal. Phase II grants expand on the results of Phase I projects, allowing these businesses to pursue further development and to begin to explore the potential for commercialization.
NARIC and the NIDILRR Program Directory
The Program Directory is compiled by the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC). NARIC functions as a specialized library, providing the public with disability- and rehabilitation-related information and services to help locate those materials and resources. Since 1977, NARIC has been the primary source of rehabilitation and disability information about, and information generated by, NIDILRR-funded projects.
NARIC also produces REHABDATA, a collection of disability and rehabilitation literature produced by NIDILRR grantees as well as commercial publishers. Grantees submit copies of NIDILRR-supported research products to NARIC and they are added to the physical reference collection and online REHABDATA database. Information about holdings is available online at http://www.naric.com.
Neither NARIC nor NIDILRR assumes liability for the Directory’s contents or the use thereof. NARIC does not evaluate or certify the programs or products of the organizations listed in the Directory.