Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.
The purpose of the Field Initiated (FI) Projects program is to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize 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. Another purpose of the FI Projects program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
In carrying out a research activity under a FI Projects research grant, a grantee must identify one or more hypotheses or research questions and, based on the hypotheses or research questions identified, perform an intensive, systematic study directed toward producing (1) new scientific knowledge or (2) better understanding of the subject, problem studied, or body of knowledge.
Note: An applicant should consult NIDILRR’s Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2023 (the Plan) when preparing its application. The Plan is organized around the following outcome domains: (1) community living and participation; (2) health and function; and (3) employment. Applicants for FI projects must specify in their abstract and project narrative which of NIDILRR’s major outcome domains their proposed project will focus on: (1) community living and participation, (2) health and function, or (3) employment. Although applicants may propose projects that address more than one domain, they should select the primary domain addressed in their proposed project.
Invitational Priority: In FY 2021, NIDILRR is particularly interested in receiving FI applications that address research questions or development aims related to the impact of the COVID pandemic on the experiences and outcomes of people with disabilities. NIDILRR does not give applications that meet this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.
FI Projects research applicants must define the stage or stages of research that they propose to conduct. If the FI Projects grant is to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage including research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages: exploration and discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-up evaluation, are defined in this funding opportunity announcement.
(a) Exploration and discovery means the stage of research that generates hypotheses or theories through new and refined analyses of data, producing observational findings and creating other sources of research-based information. This research stage may include identifying or describing the barriers to and facilitators of improved outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as well as identifying or describing existing practices, programs, or policies that are associated with important aspects of the lives of individuals with disabilities. Results achieved under this stage of research may inform the development of interventions or lead to evaluations of interventions or policies. The results of the exploration and discovery stage of research may also be used to inform decisions or priorities;
(b) Intervention development means the stage of research that focuses on generating and testing interventions that have the potential to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Intervention development involves determining the active components of possible interventions, developing measures that would be required to illustrate outcomes, specifying target populations, conducting field tests, and assessing the feasibility of conducting a well-designed intervention study. Results from this stage of research may be used to inform the design of a study to test the efficacy of an intervention;
(c) Intervention efficacy means the stage of research during which a project evaluates and tests whether an intervention is feasible, practical, and has the potential to yield positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Efficacy research may assess the strength of the relationships between an intervention and outcomes, and may identify factors or individual characteristics that affect the relationship between the intervention and outcomes. Efficacy research can inform decisions about whether there is sufficient evidence to support “scaling-up” an intervention to other sites and contexts. This stage of research may include assessing the training needed for wide-scale implementation of the intervention, and approaches to evaluation of the intervention in real-world applications; and
(d) Scale-up evaluation means the stage of research during which a project analyzes whether an intervention is effective in producing improved outcomes for individuals with disabilities when implemented in a real-world setting. During this stage of research, a project tests the outcomes of an evidence-based intervention in different settings. The project examines the challenges to successful replication of the intervention, and the circumstances and activities that contribute to successful adoption of the intervention in real-world settings. This stage of research may also include well-designed studies of an intervention that has been widely adopted in practice, but lacks a sufficient evidence base to demonstrate its effectiveness.