The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is the principal federal agency supporting applied research, training, and development to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. NIDRR's mission is to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use in improving the ability of persons with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, as well as to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities.
NIDRR prides itself on being proactive in establishing program performance measures and developing accountability data systems to track the progress of its grantees. An electronic annual reporting system is used to collect data from grantees on many aspects of grant operation and outputs. Various formative and summative evaluation approaches have been used to assess the quality of the performance and results of the agency's research portfolio and its grantees. Prompted by the need to provide more data on its program results, in 2009 NIDRR requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct an external evaluation of some of the agency's key processes and assess the quality of outputs produced by NIDRR grantees (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, 2009a). Review of Disability and Rehabilitation Research presents the results of that evaluation.