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

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)


The DRRP funding program supports projects that carry out one or more of the following activities: research, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance.

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration of individuals with disabilities into society, employment, independent living, family support, and to promote economic and social self-sufficiency and improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act.

NIDILRR funds several types of DRRPs. However, only the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Program DRRP type is described here. Other types of grants are legislatively classified as DRRPs but internally NIDILRR staff treat them as separate programs. Consequently each of the DRRP types listed below have their own separate program page:

The Burn and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems’ DRRPs are not included in the above list (and do not have their own separate program page) because they are Model Systems and therefore are part of the Model Systems Program.

DRRPs differ from RRTCs and RERCs in that they generally do not provide training and technical assistance. Awards range from 3–5 years.

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How To Apply

  • Who Can Apply: States; public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies; public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations; Institutions of higher education; and Indian tribes and tribal organizations
  • Where to Look for Funding Opportunities and Application Information: Check this list of NIDILRR funding opportunities and application kits
  • When to Look for Funding Opportunities and Application Information: As a rough guideline, check the preceding link between October and April each year
  • Help in Applying: View the NIDILRR Guide to Applying for some helpful tips

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Select Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2015

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Valuable New Model Estimates Return on Investment for State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies: University of Richmond (Grant # 90DP0070)

The University of Richmond developed a Return on Investment (ROI) model by examining the employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities who applied for services from the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services (VA-DARS).

Labor market impacts were estimated at the individual level, allowing identification of impacts by disability type, services, and the agency. This work generated research findings that were shared with VA-DARS to inform policies and practice for consumers with disabilities.

Findings were also disseminated through peer-reviewed journals to help inform the field regarding the potential of ROI for strategic planning, program evaluation, and improved service delivery.

In 2015, the University of Richmond successfully competed for additional NIDILRR funding for expanding and refining ROI models for additional agencies in Delaware, Maryland, Texas, and Oklahoma. This work continues to provide important information for rehabilitation professionals, policymakers, and consumers interested in improving the employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

To read more about the model(s), view the following publications:

  • Dean, D., Pepper, J. V., Schmidt, R. M., & Stern, S. (2015). The effects of vocational rehabilitation for people with cognitive impairments. International Economic Review, 56(2), 399–426.
  • Dean, D., Pepper, J. V., Schmidt, R. M., & Stern, S. (2014). State vocational rehabilitation programs and federal disability insurance: An analysis of Virginia’s vocational rehabilitation program, IZA Journal of Labor Policy, 3(7), 1–19.

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Phillip Beatty is the NIDILRR contact staff person if you have questions about the General DRRP program.

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Last Modified: 2/16/2017