also obviate the need to create a large workforce to handle the support functions of personnel, purchasing, and legal and public affairs, all of which would already be available in the department. Moreover, other agencies within DHHS (e.g., NIH and CDC) already perform the majority of disability and rehabilitation-related research.
To enhance its coordinating authority, ADRR would review plans for research in the following year submitted by all agencies with significant efforts in rehabilitation science and engineering. Such an evaluative function would allow ADRR to help ensure quality in each agency's research, eliminate duplication, identify priorities, and sustain a national agenda. ADRR would also maintain a database of projects and activities. Special efforts should be directed to the development of a common database for rehabilitation science and engineering that would facilitate monitoring, coordination, and priority-setting among the programs.
Part of ADRR's support could come from a set-aside fund (e.g., one percent) from each of the major programs that support research in rehabilitation science and engineering. These funds would be used to enhance coordination and interagency participation, as well as collaborative research activities.
ADRR should be provided with the authority to award research grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and research and development with a rehabilitation science or engineering focus. Eligible entities would include universities, rehabilitation facilities, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit corporations. ADRR should also have the authority to award supplemental research funds. All award announcements should have proposal receipt dates that coincide with those of NIH, which will permit applicants to plan their research activities better.
This committee recognizes the strengths of center grant research and recommends continued support by ADRR. The committee further recommends, however, that ADRR enhance field-initiated research projects, environmental modifications training for people with disabling conditions and their families, and training for health and engineering personnel. Finally, ADRR staff should be grounded in relevant fields of rehabilitation science and engineering. Sufficient staffing, salary, equipment, and expenses must be provided to permit fulfillment of the defined missions.
Preferably, ADRR would be organized in a manner that reflects the major substantive activities of the program: coordination of federal research efforts, research, education, and dissemination. This would facilitate the implementation of a mission that focuses on substantive, multidisciplinary activities as opposed to those of the separate, individual disciplines.
The following section describes the committee's view on some of the details of the organization of the new agency.