National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

To support and coordinate research and its utilization to improve the lives of people of all ages with physical and mental disabilities, especially persons with severe disabilities, through: (1) identifying and eliminating causes and consequences of disability; (2) maximizing the health, physical, and
emotional status of persons with disabilities and their functional ability, self- sufficiency, self-development and personal autonomy; (3) preventing or minimizing personal and family, physical, mental, social, educational, vocational, and economic effects of disability; and (4) reducing and eliminating physical, social, educational, vocational, and environmental barriers to permit access to services and assistance and to use their abilities in daily life.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Research and Training Centers with emphasis on vocational rehabilitation, medical rehabilitation, rehabilitation of persons with mental retardation, deafness rehabilitation, rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, and rehabilitation of those with severe visual disabilities; (2) Rehabilitation Engineering Centers with the application of engineering advances as applied to rehabilitation of persons with physical disabilities; special activities in prosthetics, orthotics, and rehabilitation aids and devices for various handicapping conditions; (3) specific research and demonstration projects concerned with medical, psychosocial, sensory, psychiatric, and vocational rehabilitation; (4) research utilization and dissemination of research findings; (5) field initiated projects in rehabilitation research; (6) innovation grants for conferences, testing of devices and curriculum development; (7) grants for advanced training in research related to disability; and (8) grants for projects to facilitate implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Office - Contact Headquarters Office.

Program Accomplishments


Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts are awarded for research, demonstration, dissemination/utilization projects of national significance, and career training projects.

All applications must meet standards of excellence in research and evaluation design.

Fellowships support individual investigators in pursuing research in rehabilitation.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

States, public, private, or nonprofit agencies and organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations are eligible for research projects and specialized research activities related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities; fellowships may be awarded to individuals.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individuals with disabilities may benefit directly or indirectly from research and other activities conducted by grantees, such as technical assistance and dissemination.


Applicants should present written evidence of other agencies' willingness to cooperate when the project involves their acceptance or the utilization of their facilities or services. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. Nonprofit organizations must show proof of such status.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The NIDRR long-range research plan serves as the basis for program announcements that are published in the Federal Register and Requests for Proposals that are published in the Commerce Business Daily.

The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency or published in the Federal Register and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102 must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Official notice of approved applications is made through issuance of a Notice of Grant Award or an official letter of fellowship award. Grants and fellowships are awarded by the Secretary, Department of Education.


Grant application deadlines are established by individual notices inviting applications. Contract deadlines are established in individual Requests for Proposals. Announcements are published throughout the year.


Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Ranges from 30 to 120 days. Generally, solicited grants, fellowships, and contracts will be acted upon within 120 days.


No formal appeal procedures. If an application is disapproved, the reasons for disapproval will be fully stated. Applicants will be sent copies of the reviewers' comments appraising their applications.


Grantees must submit annual progress reports in order to receive continuation funding. Renewals are subject to the availability of funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Grantees funded under Sections 204(a) and 202(k) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, are required to share in the cost of projects. The amount of cost-sharing is negotiable. Cost-sharing for other grantees is at the Secretary's option.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds are awarded in 12 month budget periods. Support beyond the first 12 month budget period is contingent upon evidence that the grantee has made substantial progress toward achieving the objectives and outcomes for a project, and availability of funds. Awards may be made for a maximum of five years.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual reports of progress and annual expenditures are required on all projects.

Comprehensive final reports are due 90 days after the end of the project.


All fiscal transactions identifiable to Federal financial assistance are subject to audit by ED Audit Agency.


Proper accounting records, identifiable by grant or contract number including all receipts and expenditures, must be maintained for three years. Subsequent to audit, they must be maintained until all questions are resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants and Contracts) FY 07 $106,705,000; FY 08 est $105,741,000; and FY 09 est $105,741,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable because the range and average varies greatly by competition.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Grant administrative policies for programs and fellowships may be obtained from the program office. NIDRR program regulations are contained in 34 CFR 350-359.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Contact Headquarters Office.

Headquarters Office

Department of Education, OSERS National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20202-2500. Donna Nagle. E-mail Address: Telephone: (202) 245-7462.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Objectives of projects and programs must be in consonance with and should contribute to achievement of the goals and objectives of the Institute. Adequate facilities must be available or planned to carry out the specific project or program. Personnel must be trained and qualified to carry out the proposed programs, and staffing patterns must be appropriate. Demonstrations of adequate plans and procedures for ensuring the relevance to current needs in rehabilitation and the potential for project results must be effectively utilized. Commitment of available resources on the part of the applicant and evidence that the applicant has knowledge of rehabilitation issues as well as knowledge of past and present related research activities. A statement showing that the estimated cost to the government is reasonable in relation to anticipated project results. Demonstrate the ability and capacity to achieve stated goals. Demonstrate, coordinate and cooperate with regional programs, State agency programs, and private rehabilitation facilities. Specific weighted selection criteria are contained in program regulations. For fellowships, criteria are specified in program regulations, 34 CFR 356. These criteria include the education and experience of the individual and the quality of the fellowship proposal.

Social Entrepreneurship

Rwanda as Social Entrepreneur Fund Beneficiary

The Republic of Rwanda has been picked as one of the six African countries as beneficiaries for a new fellowship fund program designed at supporting social entrepreneurs in tackling issues on food security.

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