Congressional mandate established the IDDRCs (formerly the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers), 1 year after the Institute’s founding in the early 1960s. These centers were to provide facilities and support for research in IDD and to develop university-affiliated facilities for training personnel to care for individuals with IDD.
The focus of the program is to support researchers whose goals are to understand the causes of and to develop treatments for IDD. During the last 50 years, the Centers’ activities have made dramatic strides in achieving these goals.
Currently, 15 funded sites located at universities and children’s hospitals throughout the country comprise the Eunice Kennedy Shriver IDDRCs. Many of these Centers are at institutions that also support University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDDs), funded by the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities within the Administration on Community Living , which represent 68 sites located in every state in the country. Quite a few Centers also overlap with the 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs, which are funded through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide interdisciplinary leadership training. Thus, these three programs—the IDDRCs, UCEDDs, and LENDs—function synergistically at many sites to promote IDD-related research, service, and training.
In 2013, the mechanism that funds the Eunice Kennedy Shriver IDDRCs changed from P30 grants to the U54 cooperative agreement mechanism. Under this U54 mechanism, new requirements included a specific research project focusing on one of five emerging IDD research themes and a core that supports clinical translational research in addition to other cores supporting independently funded, IDD-relevant projects . Visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/Pages/eksiddrc.aspx for more information.