What is a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC)?
The authority for RERCs is contained in section 204(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 762(b)(3)). The Secretary may make awards for up to 60 months through grants or cooperative agreements to public and private agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, Indian tribes, and tribal organizations. The grants allow these tribal organizations and universities to conduct research, demonstration, and training activities regarding rehabilitation technology in order to enhance opportunities for meeting the needs of, and addressing the barriers confronted by, individuals with disabilities in all aspects of their lives. An RERC must be operated by or in collaboration with an institution of higher education or a nonprofit organization.
RERCs carry out research or demonstration activities by doing some or all of the following things:
(a) Develop and disseminate innovative methods of applying advanced technology, scientific achievement, and psychological and social knowledge to
(b) Demonstrate and disseminate
(c) Facilitate changes in service delivery systems through
Each RERC must provide training opportunities to individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to become researchers and practitioners of rehabilitation technology in conjunction with institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations.
The National Insititute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is particularly interested in ensuring that the expenditure of public funds is justified by the execution of intended activities and the advancement of knowledge and, thus, has built this accountability into the selection criteria. Not later than three years after the establishment of any RERC, NIDRR will conduct one or more reviews of the activities and achievements of a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center. In accordance with the provisions of 34 CFR 75.253(a), continued funding depends at all times on satisfactory performance and accomplishment.
The RERC grant award program for the 13 to 15 RERCs is administered by NIDRR, Department of Education, Washington, DC.
General Requirements and Absolute Priorities
The plan for the RERC's development and operation is consistent with the stated purposes of RERCs under the authorization provided in section 204(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The specific emphasis for the RERC is embodied in the statements of the absolute priorities, as announced under Priority 5 in the Federal Register [Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 113, June 12, 1998, pp. 32530].
The scope of activities to be conducted by all RERCs has also been defined by NIDRR by the issuance of general requirements (GRs) in the same Federal Register announcement. RERCs must comply with general requirements by conducting activities that demonstrate or include:
What is the focus of the RERC on Wheeled Mobility?
As stipulated in the aforementioned Federal Register announcement, the RERC on Wheeled Mobility shall fullfill the following specific priorities (SP):
Absolute or Specific Priorities
In carrying out the purposes of the priority, the RERC must coordinate on activities of mutual interest with the RRTC addressing Spinal Cord Injury and the RRTC on Aging with a Disability, as well as, other entities carrying out related research or development activities.
The specific nature of these priorities effectively defines the requisite activities and expertise of the RERC.
To learn more about the specific research and development tasks proposed by this RERC on Wheeled Mobility link to the summaries of our plans for research, development, training, dissemination, utilization, technical assistance, operations, and evaluation.