National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research

CourtCommunity Living Administration
Citation87 FR 15355
Published date18 March 2022
Record Number2022-05665
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 53 (Friday, March 18, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 53 (Friday, March 18, 2022)]
                [Proposed Rules]
                [Pages 15355-15357]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-05665]
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                DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
                Administration for Community Living
                45 CFR Part 1330
                RIN 0985-AA16
                National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and
                Rehabilitation Research
                AGENCY: Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and
                Human Services.
                ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.
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                SUMMARY: The Administration for Community Living (ACL) within the
                Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or the Department) is
                proposing to amend its regulations for the National Institute on
                Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
                These minor amendments to NIDILRR's peer review criteria will allow
                NIDILRR to better evaluate the extent to which grant applicants conduct
                outreach to and hire people with disabilities and people from other
                groups that traditionally have been underserved and underrepresented,
                and emphasize the need for engineering research and development
                activities within NIDILRR's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers
                (RERC) program.
                DATES: To be assured consideration, comments must be received at the
                [[Page 15356]]
                address provided below, no later than 11:59 p.m. April 18, 2022.
                ADDRESSES: You may submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking
                Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the ``Submit a comment''
                instructions.
                 Warning: Do not include any personally identifiable information
                (such as name, address, or other contact information) or confidential
                business information that you do not want publicly disclosed. All
                comments may be posted on the internet and can be retrieved by most
                internet search engines. No deletions, modifications, or redactions
                will be made to comments received.
                 Inspection of Public Comments: All comments received before the
                close of the comment period will be available for viewing by the
                public, including personally identifiable or confidential business
                information that is included in a comment. You may wish to consider
                limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any
                voluntary public comment submission you make. HHS may withhold
                information provided in comments from public viewing that it determines
                may impact the privacy of an individual or is offensive. For additional
                information, please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via
                the link in the footer of https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
                search instructions on that Website to view the public comments.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Phillip Beatty, Director, NIDILRR
                Office of Research Sciences, Administration for Community Living,
                Department of Health and Human Services, 330 C Street SW, Washington,
                DC 20201. Email: [email protected], Telephone: (202) 795-7305.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
                I. Background
                 The HHS regulation for National Institute on Disability,
                Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) programs was
                developed and finalized in 2016 following the transfer of NIDILRR to
                ACL and HHS from the Department of Education, as required by the
                Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014. NIDILRR's
                mission is to generate new knowledge and to promote its effective use
                to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities to perform
                activities of their choice in the community and to expand society's
                capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for
                individuals with disabilities. As the primary research enterprise
                within ACL, NIDILRR's mission is highly complementary to the
                overarching mission of ACL to maximize the independence, well-being,
                and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the
                lifespan, and their families and caregivers. NIDILRR programs address a
                wide range of disabilities and impairments across all age groups and
                promote health and function, community living and participation, and
                employment. To accomplish these goals, NIDILRR invests in research,
                knowledge translation, and capacity-building activities through its
                discretionary grant-funding authorities.
                 The proposed rule would provide minor but important updates to
                provisions within Sec. Sec. 1330.23 and 1330.24 of the NIDILRR rule
                (45 CFR part 1330).
                 The first update to 45 CFR part 1330 is directly responsive to
                Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for
                Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The purpose of
                the update is to better evaluate, through the peer review of grant
                applications, the extent to which grant applicants conduct outreach to
                and hire people who are members of specific groups that have
                traditionally been underserved and underrepresented in research.
                Applicant refers to organizations such as universities or other
                organizations that apply for NIDILRR grants. NIDILRR's criterion that
                focuses on applicants' proposed ``Project Staff'' (45 CFR 1330.24(n))
                currently combines a significant number of underrepresented groups into
                one list (``. . . based on race, color, national origin, gender, age,
                or disability), and asks reviewers to broadly evaluate the extent to
                which the grant applicant encourages applications for employment from
                people who are members of those groups in the list. This format does
                not allow reviewers to distinctly evaluate applicants' outreach and
                hiring practices for people with disabilities, or for other populations
                highlighted in the existing list.
                 To better promote applicants' hiring of people with disabilities,
                and people from other underserved communities, 45 CFR 1330.24(n) will
                be revised to separate these populations into two distinct peer review
                subcriteria. This disaggregation of people with disabilities and people
                from underserved communities into separate subcriteria will allow peer
                reviewers to more directly evaluate and score the extent to which grant
                applicants encourage the hiring of people in each of these distinct
                groups. ACL will make a conforming amendment to 45 CFR 1330.23(b)
                reflecting this revision to the selection criteria. While individuals
                live at the intersection of multiple populations or groups, ACL's
                planned disaggregated review of hiring practices will compel applicants
                to describe their outreach and hiring practices for people with
                disabilities and other specific groups, separately and distinctly. ACL
                intends for grant applicants to respond to these disaggregated
                subcriteria with quantitative and/or qualitative information in the
                narrative of their proposal, and for peer reviewers to accordingly use
                this information to evaluate and score each individual application.
                 The second update to 45 CFR part 1330 is to better emphasize the
                need for engineering research and development (R&D) activities in
                NIDILRR's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) program
                funding opportunities. The update will add a subcriterion under both
                the ``Design of Research Activities'' (45 CFR 1330.24(c)) and ``Design
                of Development Activities'' (45 CFR 1330.24(d)) that allow reviewers to
                evaluate the extent to which applicants are proposing engineering
                knowledge and methods as part of their RERC applications. The absence
                of such engineering-focused criteria have led to some RERC grants that
                are not optimally using the engineering R&D methods envisioned in the
                program's title and statute.
                II. Required Regulatory Analyses
                A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563
                 E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' and E.O. 13563,
                ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' direct agencies to
                assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and,
                if the regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that
                maximize net benefits.
                 OMB determined that this rulemaking is not an economically
                significant regulatory action under these E.O.s. The preamble to this
                proposed rule describes that it is primarily procedural changes that
                would require Department expenditures to implement.
                B. Regulatory Flexibility Act
                 The Department has examined the economic implications of this
                proposed rule as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5
                U.S.C. 601 et seq. The RFA requires an agency to describe the impact of
                a proposed rulemaking on small entities by providing an initial
                regulatory flexibility analysis, unless the agency determines that the
                proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a
                substantial number of small entities, provides a factual basis for this
                [[Page 15357]]
                determination, and proposes to certify the statement. 5 U.S.C. 603(a)
                and 605(b). The Department considers a proposed or final rule to have a
                significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities
                if it has at least a three percent impact on revenue of at least five
                percent of small entities. The Department has determined, and the
                Secretary certifies, that this proposed rule would not have a
                significant economic impact on the operations of a substantial number
                of small entities.
                C. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
                 E.O. 13132, ``Federalism,'' establishes certain requirements that
                an agency must meet when it promulgates a rule that imposes substantial
                direct requirement costs on State and local governments or has
                Federalism implications. The Department has determined that this
                proposed rule would not impose such costs or have any Federalism
                implications.
                D. Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian
                Tribal Governments)
                 HHS has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the
                principles set forth in E.O. 13175. HHS has tentatively determined that
                the proposed rule does not contain policies that would have a
                substantial direct effect on one or more Indian Tribes, on the
                relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on
                the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal
                Government and Indian Tribes. In accordance with the Department's
                Tribal consultation policy, the Department solicits comments from
                tribal officials on any potential impact on Indian Tribes from this
                proposed action.
                E. National Environmental Policy Act
                 HHS had determined that this proposed rule would not have a
                significant impact on the environment.
                F. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
                 In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its
                implementing regulations, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521; 5 CFR part 1320,
                appendix A.1, the Department has reviewed this proposed rule and has
                determined that it proposes no new collections of information.
                List of Subjects in 45 CFR Part 1330
                 Disability, Grant programs, Research.
                 Accordingly, ACL proposes to revise 45 CFR 1330.23 and 1330.24, to
                read as follows:
                PART 1330--NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR DISABILITY, INDEPENDENT LIVING,
                AND REHABILITATION RESEARCH
                0
                1. The authority citation for part 1330 continues to read as follows:
                 Authority: 29 U.S.C. 709, 3343.
                0
                2. Amend Sec. 1330.23 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
                Sec. 1330.23 Evaluation process.
                * * * * *
                 (b) In considering selection criteria in Sec. 1330.24, the
                Director selects one or more of the factors listed in the criteria, but
                always considers the factors in Sec. 1330.24(n) regarding people with
                disabilities, and members of groups that have traditionally been
                underrepresented based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex
                (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or age.
                * * * * *
                0
                2. Amend Sec. 1330.24 by adding paragraphs (c)(5) and (d)(4) and
                revising paragraph (n) to read as follows:
                Sec. 1330.24 Selection criteria.
                * * * * *
                 (c) * * *
                 (5) The extent to which research activities use engineering
                knowledge and techniques to collect, analyze, or synthesize research
                data.
                * * * * *
                 (d) * * *
                 (4) The extent to which development activities apply engineering
                knowledge and techniques to achieve development objectives.
                * * * * *
                 (n) Project staff. In determining the quality of the applicant's
                project staff, the Director considers one or more of the following
                factors:
                 (1) The extent to which the applicant encourages applications for
                employment from and hires people with disabilities.
                 (2) The extent to which the applicant encourages applications from,
                and hires people who are members of groups that have traditionally been
                underrepresented in research professions based on race, ethnicity,
                national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender
                identity), or age.
                 (3) The extent to which the key personnel and other key staff have
                appropriate training and experience in disciplines required to conduct
                all proposed activities.
                 (4) The extent to which the commitment of staff time is adequate to
                accomplish all the proposed activities of the project.
                 (5) The extent to which the key personnel are knowledgeable about
                the methodology and literature of pertinent subject areas.
                 (6) The extent to which the project staff includes outstanding
                scientists in the field.
                 (7) The extent to which key personnel have up-to-date knowledge
                from research or effective practice in the subject area covered in the
                priority.
                * * * * *
                 Dated: March 2, 2022.
                Alison Barkoff,
                Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living
                 Approved:
                Xavier Becerra,
                Secretary.
                [FR Doc. 2022-05665 Filed 3-17-22; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
                

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