SEDL's National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research Receives Federal Funding

January 23, 2006
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) a grant that totals $3.75 million to support continuation of the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR). SEDL has operated the NCDDR for the past 10 years.

The 5-year grant is part of a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) program that encourages the dissemination and use of NIDRR-sponsored research. The research results can then be more readily used in shaping new technology, improving service delivery, and expanding decision-making options for people with disabilities and their families.

NCDDR’S work will focus on developing systems for applying rigorous standards of evidence in describing, assessing, and disseminating outcomes from research sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Dr. John Westbrook, program manager of SEDL’s NCDDR, says, “Put simply, we want to help make certain that consumers have access to evidence-based findings. We also want to make disability research more readily available for inclusion in systematic reviews.”

Systematic reviews provide information about the effectiveness of interventions by identifying, appraising, and summarizing the results of research using an approach that seeks to minimize bias. Dr. Westbrook says that systematic reviews are crucial to inform policy- and decision-making. “They are also useful,” he adds, “when there is uncertainty regarding the potential benefits of an intervention—they provide a synthesis of evidence from the research.”

NCDDR will collaborate with two international organizations—the Campbell Collaboration and the Cochrane Collaboration—to establish a registry of evidence-based systematic reviews that address topics important to persons with disabilities, their families, and their service providers. The three organizations will also collaborate to provide training and technical assistance to researchers.

Dr. Westbrook says, “The grant provides an incredible opportunity to strengthen the quality and dissemination of disability research while improving consumer access to evidence-based information.”

About SEDL

The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit