Disability Research Consortium

Frequently Asked Questions

The Disability Research Consortium (DRC) is an interdisciplinary extramural policy research program funded by the Social Security Administration through a cooperative agreement. The research funding opportunity is available on Grants.gov under funding opportunity number SSA-ORES-12-1. Applications are due April 30, 2012.

Below are the frequently asked questions received during the application open period (March 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012) along with SSA's responses. Questions can be submitted to DRC.ORES@ssa.gov.

NOTE: Grants.gov will be unavailable April 28–29, 2012 for scheduled maintenance. See Grants.gov blog for more information.

Question: I read that the Grants.Gov system will be down April 28–29, 2012, and that no applications can be submitted during this time. Given that the submission deadline for the Disability Research Consortium application is April 30, 2012, are there any alternatives available?

Answer: We apologize for this inconvenience, but given that the applications are not due until 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on April 30, 2012, no electronic filing extensions will be granted. However, if this poses an undue hardship, applications can be mailed, as long as they are postmarked on April 30, 2012. If you would like to submit your application by mail, you will need permission from the SSA Grants Management Team. For assistance with that request, please contact Audrey Adams, 410-965–9469 or Dionne Mitchell, 410-965–9534.


Question: What date should we use as the project start date? Should we assume it is the federal fiscal year?

Answer: The RFA indicates that SSA hopes to issue award(s) on or around August 1, 2012, so that's the anticipated start date applicants should use.


Question: We note the 25% effort obligation for the Center Director. Can that obligation be split with a co- (or assistant) director or should it all be allocated to a single individual?

Answer: Page 11 of the RFA states, "Each center director must have a demonstrated capability to organize, administer, and direct the center. The director will be responsible for the organization and operation of the center and for communication with us on scientific and operational matters. The director must also have a minimum time commitment of 25 percent to DRC activities." We will allow the director duties to be split among not more than three (3) individuals such that the total commitment is at least 25% (3 months) and no individual commitment is less than 8.333% (1 month). Additionally if there is more than one director, one of the co-directors must be identified as the single point of contact for SSA.


Question: There are sometimes conference phone calls to discuss and ask questions. Are there plans to hold one of those in relationship to this RFA?

Answer: No. The only pre-application activity that SSA has scheduled is included in the RFA: "As questions come in regarding the programmatic content of this RFA, we will be posting a running list of questions and answers on the web at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/drc/faq.html. Submit questions to DRC.ORES@ssa.gov. All potential applicants should monitor the website frequently to ensure that they have the latest updates and answers."


Question: The RFA notes that the DRC will hold semi-annual workshops at SSA headquarters in Washington, DC and Woodlawn, MD, and that the hosting center will have responsibility for preparing and distributing workshop materials. For budgeting purposes, should applicants assume that two DRC awards will be made and the costs for organizing these workshops will be split between the two centers (i.e., an applicant should budget for only one of these workshops)? Or should each applicant assume the costs for both of these workshops in their proposed budgets?

Answer: Applicants should budget for two workshops per year, as specified in the RFA. Once awards are made and SSA has identified the number and location of the center(s), SSA will discuss the details with the center(s) and work with the center(s). We should note that the Baltimore workshop should be held at SSA headquarters, while the DC workshop will have to be held in a conference center, hotel, Press Club, or maybe at one of our partner agencies if they have sufficient space. Additionally, it is important to note that each center is responsible for budgeting their own travel to both events. Further, the hosting center will not be responsible for paying for travel costs of other centers.


Question: Does the double-spaced, 12-point font requirement for the proposal narrative apply to tables or figures that might be included in the narrative?

Answer: There are no spacing requirements for the budget narrative, or restrictions on tables, however, all submissions need to comply with the strict page limitation established in the RFA.


Question: Is it permissible to submit a proposal for an individual task, i.e., just research task, just dissemination task, or just the training task as opposed to an entire proposal for the entire scope of work?

Answer: The short answer is "no," in that a complete application must respond to all components of the RFA. However, if an organization is interested in specializing in one particular area of the RFA, we encourage that organization to seek out other potential applicants with which they might collaborate.


Question: Can individual researchers submit projects through more than one center?

Answer: Yes, individual researchers may submit projects through more than one proposed research center. However, individuals planning to submit proposals as a member of a center's leadership should submit only one application.


Question: Under the Guidelines for Application Submission portion of the RFP, guideline number three states:

"Length: Applications should be as brief and concise as possible, but ensure successful communication of the applicant's proposal to the reviewers. The project narrative portion of the application may not exceed 150 double-spaced pages (excluding the resume and outside funding appendices), equivalent to being typewritten on one side using standard (8½" x 11") size paper and 12-point font. Attachments that support the project narrative count within the 150-page limit. Attachments not applicable to the project narrative (including letters of support), do not count toward this page limit."

Could you clarify the exclusion of "outside funding" appendices? Is this pertaining to the cost-share?

Answer: Yes, "outside funding" does pertain to cost share.


Question: On page 11 of the RFP, when it is requested the center director must submit a list of previous grants and cooperative agreements held by the director, is the period of time the last three years, or the last ten years, or what exactly, as no time qualifier is listed.

Answer: The period should coincide with the researcher's resume/curriculum vita included in the application.


Question: If three researchers were included on two separate proposals for the DRC such that two researchers share the duties of principle on one proposal and one researcher is the principle on a separate proposal with none of the three affiliated with the same institution and no plans for any collaborative research between the three during the first year, would it be acceptable for the application to include references to collaborative research between the three researchers in subsequent years that is highly-relevant as part of the long-term visions of each center?

Answer: The only consideration would be to contain the effort of the researchers to 100% FTE across all SSA and other research and research proposals. For example, a researcher is working on 5 research projects (1 in RRC, 2 in DRC, 1 with NIH, and 1 with VA). That individual's FTE across ALL 5 projects cannot exceed 100%. As long as that consideration is met, proposals can include any references or plans for future research that the proposer thinks meets the guidelines of the RFA.