About Us

Our Charge

Authorized by the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, as amended, the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) was established to promote coordination and collaboration among federal departments and agencies conducting disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research programs—including programs related to assistive technology research, and research that incorporates the principles of universal design.

The ICDR is charged to

  • identify, assess, and seek to coordinate all federal programs, activities, and projects, and plans for such programs, activities, and projects with respect to the conduct of research (including assistive technology research and research that incorporates the principles of universal design) related to independent living;
  • obtain input from policymakers, representatives from federal agencies, individuals with disabilities, organizations representing individuals with disabilities, researchers, and providers;
  • share information about research being carried out by members of the committee and other federal departments and organizations;
  • identify and make efforts to address areas of research that are not being adequately addressed;
  • identify and establish clear research priorities;
  • promote interagency collaboration and joint research activities and reduce unnecessary duplication of effort;
  • optimize the productivity of ICDR members through resource sharing and other cost-sharing activities; and
  • develop a comprehensive government wide strategic plan for disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research.

Mission and Vision

Mission:

To promote coordination and cooperation among federal departments and agencies conducting disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research programs including programs relating to assistive technology research and research that incorporates the principles of universal design.

Vision:

The ICDR will be widely recognized for facilitating and coordinating federal interagency efforts, and for promoting collaborative relationships that maximize the best use of federal resources for disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research.

Structure

The ICDR Executive Committee (EC) serves as the administrative body for the coordination and collaboration of disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research. The EC is comprised of the members identified in the ICDR’s authorizing legislation, and such members as the President may designate, including the following (or their designees):

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
    • (Designated Chair of the ICDR)
  • Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Secretary of Defense (DOD)
  • Administrator of Administration for Community Living (ACL)
  • Secretary of Education (ED)
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs (BIA)
  • Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA)

The ICDR niche is broad. It may include all types of research that address physical and mental function, rehabilitative services and technology, as well as social and community integration, and independent living (IL). It addresses all types of disabilities and chronic conditions. The ICDR currently maintains the following five working groups:

  • Assistive Technology and Universal Design (AT-UD)
  • Community Integration and Participation (CIP)
  • Employment and Education (EE)
  • Health, Functioning, and Wellness (HFW)
  • Government Wide Inventory (GWI)

Getting Involved

The ICDR invites the participation of individuals across all levels of the federal government, as well as stakeholders with diverse interests and perspectives including policymakers, representatives from federal agencies, individuals with disabilities, organizations representing individuals with disabilities, researchers, and providers. Participants may have the opportunity to:

  • Identify research gaps and strategies;
  • Exchange information and solicit input from federal participants and stakeholders;
  • Explore emerging research topics and concerns;
  • Establish mutually beneficial partnerships on issues or activities where there is shared federal agency interest;
  • Leverage resources that result in cost-savings;
  • Maximize research benefits and outcomes for people with disabilities; and
  • Propose research topics, promote interagency agendas, and secure ICDR member support for the agency initiatives.

Federal Agency Representation

ICDR leadership encourages federal employees to become designated ICDR members and authorized representatives of their department, agency, or office. Members facilitate communications between the leadership and its partners, as well as garner support for the ICDR agenda and other collaborative activities related to disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research. If you would like to represent your department, agency, or office, please contact ICDRinfo@neweditons.net for more information.

History

ICDR Legislative Timeline

  • 1978: The Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978 (PL 95-602), which amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, established the Interagency Committee on Handicapped Research within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).
  • 1980: The Department of Education was spun off from HEW, and with it the National Institute of Handicapped Research and the Interagency Committee on Handicapped Research.
  • 1986: Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-506) changed the name of the National Institute of Handicapped Research to the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
  • 1988: Handicapped Programs Technical Amendments Act of 1988 (PL 100-630) changed the name of the Interagency Committee on Handicapped Research to the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.
  • 1998: Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (PL 105-220) reauthorized the ICDR to identify, assess, and seek to coordinate all Federal programs, activities, and projects, and plans for such programs, activities, and projects with respect to the conduct of research related to rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities.
  • 1998: Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (PL 105–394) made changes to the authorization given earlier in the year, adding assistive technology research and research that incorporates the principles of universal design as a focus for ICDR activities and coordination.
  • 2001/2002: New Freedom Initiative (NFI) directed the ICDR to improve coordination of the federal assistive technology research and development. $3 million was allotted under the NFI for the ICDR to “prioritize the immediate assistive and universally designed technology needs in the disability community, as well as foster collaborative projects between the federal laboratories and the private sector.”
  • 2005: The Senate Report 108-345 (Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, 2005), in appropriating funds for NIDRR, required the ICDR to report on existing federal research activities related to physical rehabilitation research.
  • 2014: The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (PL 113-128) resulted in the move of NIDRR (and subsequently ICDR) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL’s emphasis on independent living was infused in both NIDRR (now the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)), and the ICDR. ICDR began WIOA-mandated strategic planning in FY15.