Skip Navigation

National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Program Home Page


Per the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), now the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), has been transferred to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on ACL, please visit More information on NIDILRR’s new Web site will be posted soon. In the meantime, you may continue to find information regarding NIDILRR on



The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) operates several federal grant programs (funding mechanisms) that award disability research and development money to eligible applicants who have submitted a disability research or development proposal that was deemed to be meet standards of scientific rigor and relevance by a team of highly-qualified peer reviewers.

Programs list

  • Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP)
    The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) program funds projects with special emphasis on research, demonstrations, training, dissemination, utilization and technical assistance. Projects may include combinations of these activities. True to the mission of NIDILRR, 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 severe disabilities, or to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act.
  • The Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers' (RRTC) program
    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.
  • The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers' (RERC) program
    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.
  • The Research Fellowships Program (RFP), formerly known as the "Switzer" program
    The Switzer Research Fellowships Program was established to build rehabilitation capacity by providing support to qualified individuals to engage in scientific research relating to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. The fellowships are available on an annual competitive basis on two levels: Distinguished and Merit. Fellows must conduct original research in an area authorized by Section 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The fellowships cover a 12-month period, and provide a stipend for research-related expenses. Awards are made to individuals only, not institutions. These fellowships require a full-time commitment (defined as 40 hours per week). The Fellow must work principally on the fellowship research during the year.
  • Field-Initiated Program (FIP)
    The Field-Initiated Projects (FIPs) are a program of investigator-initiated research that was created by NIDILRR in 1984 under its R&D authority. The FIP program supplements NIDILRR’s directed research portfolio by addressing diverse research issues in promising and innovative ways. Field initiated research projects cover all of NIDILRR’s domains, including employment, independent living, medical rehabilitation and development of new technologies, and address all disability populations with a wide range of research approaches.
  • Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems
    The Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) program, established in 1970, studies the course of recovery and outcomes following the delivery of a coordinated system of care for individuals with spinal core injury (SCI). Under this program, SCIMS centers provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to individuals with SCI and conduct spinal cord research, including clinical research. This includes the analysis of standardized data gathered in collaboration with other SCIMS projects.
  • The Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training (ARRT) program
    The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) program provides advanced rehabilitation research training for persons with clinical or other experience, who may be lacking certain formal multidisciplinary research training needed to improve rehabilitation research methods and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
  • Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program
    This program funds research and development projects that propose a sound approach to the investigation of an important education or assistive technology, science, or engineering question under topics identified each year in the solicitation. The purpose of the program is to: stimulate technological innovation; increase small business participation in federal research and development; foster and encourage participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation; and increase private sector commercialization of technology derived from federal research and development.
    Per the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), now the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), has been transferred to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The central focus is on the whole person with a disability, whose ability to function and quality of life are dependent on the complex interactions among personal, societal, and environmental factors. NIDILRR plays a unique role in that its target population includes all disability types and all age groups.
  • Disability Business and Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs)
    Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers provide technical assistance and training to state and local governments and private businesses regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to facilitate compliance with the ADA and conduct disability and rehabilitation research, and research development activities.

Back to top

Understanding NIDILRR Programs and How They Are Organized

NIDILRR programs are not social service programs; we do not provide services to individuals. Instead, we operate several applied disability research and development programs that provide money to various entities (e.g.institutions of higher education, state agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and to a lesser extent individuals)to generate new knowledge and/or new solutions to problems that matter to people with disabilities, their families, and those who serve them.

Getting federal grant money under one of our programs, or funding mechanisms, is not easy. First, you have to locate the funding opportunity called Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) in the daily journal of the Federal Government known as the Federal Register. You must then submit a detailed proposal, outlining your ideas and plans for research and development work, that follow all of the requirements described in the Federal Register Announcement and the application materials that are available from

Submitting a completed application to one of NIDILRR's applied disability research and development programs does not guarantee that you will receive the grant money you requested from NIDILRR. You must earn the money you are requesting. “Earning the money” in the NIDILRR context means that your proposal must survive the scrutiny of our competitive peer review process that is required by federal regulation.

Assuming your proposal makes it through our competitive peer review process, it must then be recommended for funding by the Director of NIDILRR and the Director's recommendation must in turn be approved by additional individuals at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services' level and ultimately at the U.S. Department of Education level. Once your application is officially approved by all required parties, you are officially a NIDILRR family member under the NIDILRR Program that you applied.

Back to top

More Resources

Like other programs in the Department of Education, the ten NIDILRR Programs, or funding mechanisms, are organized according to their Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance(CFDA) number. This number contains a number portion and a letter portion. All of our programs begin with the numeric stem 84.133 and are followed by a letter. The specific letter that follows the “84.133” stem corresponds to a specific NIDILRR funding mechanism or program.

Listed below, by CFDA number, are all of NIDILRR's programs or funding mechanisms. To view a list of the most frequently-asked questions and answers about our programs, just click on the program or funding mechanism that interests you. If you want information on all of the programs run by the Department of Education, you might consult the Department's Guide to Education Programs

Back to top

Locating NIDILRR Funding Opportunities

More Resources

2012 NIDILRR Grants and Funding Opportunities Forecast

Join NIDILRR's new grant announcement email list

View NIDILRR's grants and funding page

Back to top

The Online NIDILRR Directory: Grant Abstract and Contact information by Program

The On-Line NIDILRR Program Database, maintained by the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), is the only information source you need if you want a list of grant abstracts and contact information by program. A comprehensive list of currently funded and newly-funded grants, listed by program, is just a click away. To generate a list of grantees in a particular program, just click on one of the links below:

84.133A: Grants in the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP)

84.133B: Grants in the Rehabilitation Research and Training Program (RRTC)

84.133E: Grants in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program (RERC)

84.133F: Grants in the Mary E. Switzer Program

84.133G: Grants in the Field-Initiated Program (FIP)

84.133N: Grants in the Model Spinal Cord Injury Program (SCI)

84.133P: Grants in the Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training Program (ARRT)

84.133S: Grants in the Small Business Innovative Research Program(SBIR)

NIDILRR Contracts

Back to top

NIDILRR Office Homepage | NIDILRR GTEP Home Page |

Last Modified: 7/9/2015