The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research funds applied research and development to improve the lives and functioning of persons with disabilities. At the request of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, the Board on Human-Systems Integration of the National Research Council (NRC) convened a committee to conduct an evaluation of aspects of NIDRR's program. Specifically, the committee was charged to assess the NIDRR priority-setting, peer review, and grant management processes, and to develop an overall framework and evaluation design for the review of grantee outputs for a sample of 30 grantees.
External Evaluation of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Its Grantees Letter Report discusses the procedures the committee used in its output evaluation, its assessment of those procedures, and recommendations for future evaluations. This report works to improve future evaluation practices and ensure that evaluation results optimally inform NIDRR's efforts to maximize the impact of its research grants. Additionally, it offers conclusions, recommendations, and suggestions on defining evaluation objectives, strengthening the output assessment, and using NIDRR's Annual Performance Reports system to capture data for future evaluations.