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 knowledge, 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 those with the highest support needs. 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 development activity under a FI Projects development grant, a grantee must use knowledge and understanding gained from research to create materials, devices, systems, methods, measures, techniques, tools, prototypes, processes, or intervention protocols that are beneficial to the target population.
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 these major outcome domains their proposed project will focus on. Although applicants may propose projects that address more than one domain, they should specify the primary domain addressed in their proposed project.
An applicant must demonstrate, in its original application, that people with disabilities from diverse racial and ethnic communities will be included in proposed samples in sufficient numbers to generate knowledge and products that are relevant to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population of people with disabilities being studied. The applicant must describe and justify, in its original application, the planned racial and ethnic distribution of people with disabilities who will participate in the proposed research or development activities.
Invitational Priority: In FY 2022, there are two invitational priorities of interest to the agency (see below). NIDILRR does not give applications that address either of these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.
Research or development projects that address the needs, experiences, or outcomes of people with disabilities from underserved communities. People with disabilities from underserved communities include those from communities or populations defined in Section 2 of the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, including: people with disabilities who are racial and ethnic minorities; people with disabilities who are members of religious minorities; people with disabilities who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer; people with disabilities who live in rural areas; or people with disabilities otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.
Research or development projects that address the impact of videoconferencing technologies on the experiences and outcomes of people with disabilities.
FI Projects development applicants must define the stage or stages of development that they propose to conduct. Any rigorous development activities can be appropriate, depending on the development aims being addressed by the applicant. NIDILRR does not have an absolute preference for any one development stage over others. If the FI Projects grant is to conduct development that can be categorized under more than one stage, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages: proof of concept, proof of product, and proof of adoption, are defined in this funding opportunity announcement.
(a) Proof of concept means the stage of development where key technical challenges are resolved. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants, verifying product requirements, implementing and testing (typically in controlled contexts) key concepts, components, or systems, and resolving technological challenges. A technology transfer plan is typically developed and transfer partner(s) identified, and plan implementation may have started. Stage results establish that a product concept is feasible.
(b) Proof of product means the stage of development where a fully-integrated and working prototype, meeting critical technical requirements, is created. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants, implementing and iteratively refining the prototype, testing the prototype in natural or less-controlled contexts, and verifying that all technical requirements are met. A technology transfer plan is typically ongoing in collaboration with the transfer partner(s). Stage results establish that a product embodiment is realizable.
(c) Proof of adoption means the stage of development where a product is substantially adopted by its target population and used for its intended purpose. Stage activities typically include completing product refinements and continued implementation of the technology transfer plan in collaboration with transfer partners. Other activities include measuring users’ awareness of the product, opinion of the product, decisions to adopt, use, and retain products; and identifying barriers and facilitators impacting product adoption. Stage results establish that a product is beneficial.