REVIEW OF DISABILITY
NIDRR GRANTMAKING PROCESSES AND PRODUCTS
Committee on the External Evaluation of NIDRR and Its Grantees
Jeanne C. Rivard, Mary Ellen O’Connell, and David H. Wegman, Editors
Board on Human-Systems Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMICS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. ED-OSE-09-C-0048 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2012). Review of Disability and Rehabilitation Research: NIDRR Grantmaking Processes and Products. Committee on the External Evaluation of NIDRR and Its Grantees. J.C. Rivard, M.E. O’Connell, and D.H. Wegman, Eds. Board on Human-Systems Integration, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON THE EXTERNAL EVALUATION OF NIDRR AND ITS GRANTEES
David H. Wegman (Chair), Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Emeritus)
Thomas J. Armstrong, Center for Ergonomics, University of Michigan
Burt S. Barnow, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University
Leighton Chan, Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Clinical Center, v National Institutes of Health
Peter C. Esselman, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
Walter R. Frontera, School of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico
Glenn T. Fujiura, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago
Bruce M. Gans, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, New Jersey
Ian D. Graham, Knowledge Translation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Lisa I. Iezzoni, Mongan Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Alan M. Jette, School of Public Health, Boston University
Thubi H.A. Kolobe, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Pamela Loprest, Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Kathryn E. Newcomer, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University
Patricia M. Owens, Government Accountability Office, Minisink Hills, Pennsylvania
Robert G. Radwin, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin
Jeanne C. Rivard, Senior Program Officer and Co-Study Director (from September 2010)
Mary Ellen O’Connell, Co-Study Director (from September 2010)
Molly Follette Story, Study Director (through September 2010)
Laudan Y. Aron, Senior Program Officer (until April 2010)
Tina Winters, Associate Program Officer
Matthew D. McDonough, Research Associate
Mary Beth Ficklin, Research Associate
Eric Chen, Senior Program Assistant
Gary Fischer, Senior Program Assistant
Jatryce Jackson, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON HUMAN-SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
William S. Marras (Chair), Integrated Systems Engineering Department, Ohio State University
Pascale Carayon, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Don Chaffin, Industrial and Operations Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan (Emeritus)
Nancy J. Cooke, Cognitive Science and Engineering, Arizona State University
Mary (Missy) Cummings, Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sara J. Czaja, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center on Aging, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Andrew S. Imada, A.S. Imada and Associates
Waldemar Karwowski, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, University of Central Florida
David Rempel, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Matthew Rizzo, Department of Neurology, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and the Public Policy Center, University of Iowa
Thomas B. Sheridan, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and of Aeronautics-Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Emeritus)
David H. Wegman, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Emeritus)
Howard M. Weiss, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University
Barbara A. Wanchisen, Director
Mary Ellen O’Connell, Deputy Director
Jatryce Jackson, Program Associate
This study was sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The committee would first like to express its appreciation to Doris Werwie, NIDRR evaluation lead, for supplying the committee with extensive background materials about NIDRR, for compiling special databases and reports on grantee performance to assist in the committee’s expert review of grantee outputs, and for offering ongoing coordination and assistance with the committee’s requests for additional information or data. The committee would also like to extend its appreciation to Ruth Brannon, director of NIDRR’s Research Sciences Division; Timothy Muzzio, director of NIDRR’s Program, Budget, and Evaluation Division; and Phillip Beatty, associate director, Research Sciences Division, for spending extensive time with the committee staff in describing the operation of NIDRR’s priority-writing, peer review, and grant management processes. We would also like to acknowledge William Schutz, program specialist, for his assistance in compiling data for the committee; Leslie Caplan, rehabilitation specialist, for coordinating with the committee so it could observe peer review panels in action; and Mary Darnell, NIDRR’s contracting officer’s representative. Appreciation is extended as well to Sue Swenson, NIDRR acting director, and Connie Pledger, director of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR), for helping to clarify for the committee the role of the ICDR in relation to NIDRR and in the larger research system. Finally, the committee appreciates the time dedicated by the NIDRR staff who agreed to participate in confidential interviews to share their special knowledge and perspectives on NIDRR’s key processes.
We would also like to thank all of the participants in the evaluation who lent us their time and valuable perspectives. They include the representatives of federal agencies, professional associations, and advocacy organizations who responded to our survey of NIDRR stakeholder organizations and the NIDRR peer reviewers who contributed their perspectives on NIDRR’s peer review processes. Among this group of evaluation participants, much appreciation is extended to the 30 principal investigators (PIs) of the NIDRR grants we reviewed. Their participation required a substantial amount of time and effort, especially in the case of large center grants that produce many outputs. The PIs identified and submitted outputs for the committee’s review and completed a set of questions concerning each output. For many PIs, this effort involved coordination with other team members who had been involved in their projects. In addition, the committee asked the PIs to respond to a separate set of questions regarding how they managed their grants and what other projects had been generated from their grants and outputs. Finally, the PIs were also asked to comment on key NIDRR processes (priority setting, peer review, and grant monitoring) that may influence their work. Some grantees extended themselves as well by setting up special demonstrations of their outputs via teleconference or websites.
We also wish to thank a number of individuals who, in two early public sessions, presented important contextual information for our consideration in planning the evaluation. In addition to Ruth Brannon and Doris Werwie, these included Alexa Posny, assistant secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; and Lynnae Ruttledge, acting director of NIDRR (as of April 2010) and commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration. They also included NIDRR grantees Richard Burkhauser of Cornell University, Judith Cook of the University of Illinois at Chicago, John Whyte of Moss Rehabilitation Institute, Wayne Gordon of Mt. Sinai University, and Gregg Vanderheiden of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and federal agency representatives Pamela O’Neil of the National Science Foundation, Alan Willard of the National Institutes of Health, and Jeffrey Dowd of the U.S. Department of Energy.
We are also grateful to the following individuals who contributed their time in critically reviewing our preliminary evaluation plan and providing input into the final plan: Carol Weiss of Harvard University, Joseph Wholey of the University of Southern California, Adele Harrell (retired) of the Urban Institute, Deborah Boehm-Davis of George Mason University, and Pascale Carayon of the University of Wisconsin.
Appreciation is extended as well to those who played a key role in early stages of the evaluation: Laudy Aaron for her efforts in planning and forming the committee, and Molly Story, whose knowledge and experience in disability and rehabilitation research laid a strong foundation for our work as the first study director.
Among the National Research Council (NRC) staff, special thanks are due to Barbara Wanchisen, who provided oversight of and support for the study; Matt McDonough, research associate, and Tina Winters, associate program officer, who provided research and program expertise in developing drafts of key sections of the report; and senior program assistants Gary Fischer, Jatryce Jackson, and Eric Chen who provided administrative and logistic support over the course of the study. We wish to extend our appreciation as well to Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow Mary Beth Ficklin for her special analyses, NRC consultants Eleanor Johnson and Jessica Scheer for their qualitative analyses and contributions to the writing of the report, and Rona Briere for her extensive assistance in editing many drafts of the report. Finally, we thank the executive office reports staff of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, especially Eugenia Grohman and Yvonne Wise, who provided valuable help with the editing and production of the report, and Kirsten Sampson Snyder, who managed the report review process.
Finally, the committee members wish to thank the staff of their institutions who assisted and supported their work on this study, and in particular Tana Gaylene of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Axelson, director of research and development, Beneficial Designs, Inc., Minden NV; Stephen H. Bell, senior fellow and principal scientist, Abt Associates, Inc., Bethesda, MD; Alicia L. Carriquiry, professor of statistics, Iowa State University; Judith A. Cook, professor and director, Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago; Susan E. Cozzens, professor of public policy and director, Technology Policy and Assessment Center, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology; Michael Feuerstein, professor of Departments of Medical and Clinical Psychology and Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda MD; Lex Frieden, professor of biomedical informatics and professor of rehabilitation, University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, and professor of rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine; David B. Gray, professor of occupational therapy and neurology, Program in
Occupational Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine; Richard Hurtig, professor and Starch faculty fellow, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa; William Zev Rymer, John G. Searle professor and vice president for research, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; David Stapleton, Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; and Jack M. Winters, professor of biomedical engineering and co-director of Falk Neurorehabilitation Engineering Research Center, Marquette University.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John Bailar of the University of Chicago and William Howell of Arizona State University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the committee and the institution.
David H. Wegman, Chair
Jeanne C. Rivard, Co-Study Director
Mary Ellen O’Connell, Co-Study Director
Committee on the External Evaluation of NIDRR and Its Grantees