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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Phase I


NIDILRR’s mission is to generate new knowledge and to promote its effective use to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community and to expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities. All SBIR projects funded by NIDILRR must address the needs of individuals with disabilities (see 29 U.S.C. 760). An application to NIDILRR’s SBIR program must support this mission and should present a sound approach to the investigation of an important technological, engineering, or scientific question that it is worthy of support under the stated criteria of this program announcement. The applicant should review the program announcement carefully to ensure that information and data essential for evaluation are included. The scientific and technical merit of the proposed research and research and development (R/R&D) is the primary concern for all work supported by NIDILRR. The Small Business Administration defines the following activities as research or research and development (R/R&D): 1. A systematic, intensive study directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the subject studied; 2. A systematic study directed specifically toward applying new knowledge to meet a recognized need; or 3. A systematic application of knowledge toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements. The application's R/R&D must be responsive to NIDILRR’s SBIR program objectives, and it should also serve as the basis for technological innovation, new commercial products, or processes or services. The purpose of the Federal SBIR program is to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector and to strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research or research and development (R/R&D) needs. The specific purpose of NIDILRR’s SBIR program is to increase the commercial application of research and development results and improve the return on investment from research and development that can be used to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. An applicant should consult NIDILRR’s Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2023 when preparing its application. The Long-Range Plan is organized around the following outcome domains: Community living and participation; Health and function; and Employment. Applicants for these SBIR projects must specify in their abstract and project narrative which of NIDILRR's major outcome domains their proposed project will address. Although applicants may propose projects that address more than one domain, they should select the primary domain Page 4 of 52 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 or products that are relevant to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population of people with disabilities being addressed. 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 R/R&D activities. Applicants may address topics that support NIDILRR's mission as described above. For FY 2022, there are several invitational priorities of interest to the agency (see below). We do not give an application that meets one of these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications. 1. NIDILRR seeks to enhance opportunities for individuals with disabilities of all types to engage in employment. One barrier to this goal identified by our partners at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is the lack of accessibility of technologies used by employers in all aspects of recruiting and hiring, including online job applications and pre-employment testing. Therefore, NIDILRR is particularly interested in SBIR applications that focus on making the processes of reading, understanding, accessing, and completing online job applications and pre- employment tests accessible to people with all types of disabilities. 2. Increased independence of individuals with disabilities in community settings through the development of technology to support access to these settings. 3. Enhanced sensory or motor function of individuals with disabilities through the development of technology to support improved functional capacity. 4. Enhanced workforce participation through the development of technology to increase access to employment, promote sustained employment, and support employment advancement for individuals with disabilities. 5. Enhanced community living and participation for individuals with disabilities through the development of voting technology that improves access for individuals with disabilities. 6. Improved health-care interventions through the development of technology to support independent access to community health-care services for individuals with disabilities. 7. Technology that increases access to caregiving for individuals with disabilities. This can include access to personal care assistants. Applicants should describe the approaches they expect to use to collect empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of the knowledge or products they are proposing to create. This empirical evidence should facilitate the assessment of the efficacy and usefulness of the knowledge or products. Consultative or other arrangements between small business applicants and universities or other nonprofit organizations are permitted, but the small business concern must serve as the grantee. For Phase I projects, at least two-thirds of the research or analytic activities must be performed by the small business concern grantee.
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