About the AUCD-NCBDDD Cooperative Agreement


In the fall of 2002, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). The purposes of this important interaction are to strengthen the nation's capacity to carry out public health activities in the areas of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and health promotion for people living with disabilities. This agreement emphasizes the collaborations between AUCD, its members, and NCBDDD. This cooperative agreement will facilitate a wide range of research, education, and dissemination activities.

Some of the collaborative activities will include:

    • Facilitating state-based surveillance and research of birth defects and developmental disabilities
    • Strengthening expertise in the fields of birth defects and developmental disabilities through training of professionals in public health and related fields
    • Developing educational resources and curricula for health care practitioners, researchers, and trainees so that effective heath services and clinical/environmental interventions for people with disabilities and their families are made available
    • Disseminating materials and information to state public health departments, policy makers, and advocates aimed at increasing access to social participation of children and adults with disabilities through advocacy and public policy development

Created by the Children's Health Act of 2000, CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities is working to improve the health of children and adults by preventing birth defects and developmental disabilities, promoting optimal child development, as well as ensuring health and wellness among children and adults living with disabilities. The Center's key public health roles include working with state health departments, academic institutions, and other public health partners to accomplish its mission.

A cooperative agreement (CA) is a major mechanism used by the CDC to support extramural research. The CDC seeks proposals in areas of programmatic interest to the various Centers, Institutes, and Offices within the CDC. Such proposals are solicited by working with partnering organizations under the terms of a CA. The projects that are funded are viewed by the CDC as collaborative ventures with CDC staff. Principle investigators and their NCBDDD technical advisors will be encouraged to become active partners in their research endeavors and share their experiences and resources.

Under the terms of the AUCD-NCBDDD CA, there are two pathways by which programmatic ideas can be generated and may potentially lead to funded research projects or activities:

  1. NCBDDD invites proposals by announcing Research Topics of Interest (RTOI) to the AUCD network.
  2. AUCD can seek to interest NCBDDD in a topic proposed by AUCD members with Investigator-Initiated Research Topics of Interest (I-RTOI).

In each case, the initial communication is between NCBDDD and AUCD. The RTOIs that are issued by NCBDDD are distributed to AUCD members through AUCD. Similarly, AUCD members that wish to propose topics of interest communicate their interest to AUCD who in turn will compile and forward ideas to appropriate NCBDDD staff. AUCD will establish lines of communication with its members and appropriate NCBDDD personnel, so that the CA-related information can be conveyed and responded to in a timely manner.

An additional role of AUCD is to conduct the evaluation process for all full applications invited for submission under this CA. AUCD will develop evaluation panels to review and score the full applications. Panel members will be researchers and federal agency scientists who are recognized authorities in the field relevant to the application being reviewed. An attempt will be made to maintain diversity with respect to the geographic distribution, gender, race, disability, and ethnicity of the reviewer pool to the extent possible. AUCD will submit the results of the evaluation, including panel recommendations and comments, to NCBDDD for review. NCBDDD will determine which applications will be funded based on the scientific evaluations and current programmatic issues.

AUCD believes that the opportunities afforded by these new funding mechanisms will, over time, permit the AUCD network and NCBDDD to significantly augment their contributions to the nation's public health and disability agenda.