We are very excited to welcome Robert (Bob) Jaeger as the new Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research! Technically, we should say “welcome back” because Bob is an old friend of the NIDILRR community.
Bob has been a part of the NIDILRR community (when it was NIDRR) as both a grantee and a staff member of the Institute itself. From 1981 to 1996, he was a Professor of Medical Engineering at the Pritzker Institute of Medical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He had adjunct faculty appointments at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. While at Northwestern and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, he was a researcher in the NIDILRR Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems program. From 1984 to 1987, he led a NIDILRR Field Initiated Project on the closed loop control of antero-posterior postural sway, which focused on the restoration of leg function in upper motor neuron paralyzed individuals with electrical stimulation. In 1987, he received a Switzer Fellowship from NIDILRR to study mobility and standing in individuals with thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI), as part of a larger study of the benefits of functional electrical stimulation (FES) for individuals with SCI. In 1997, he came to NIDILRR as a Program Officer. He oversaw research projects exploring a range of topics in engineering and technology development, including the Web Accessibility Initiative which developed guidelines and techniques for accessible web content, browsers, and authoring tools. He also served as the Director of Interagency and International Affairs for NIDILRR from 2000 to 2006, including serving as Secretary of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR). In 2000 he was granted a Fulbright Scholar Award in Europe. From 1997 to 2002 he served as a part-time volunteer researcher with the VA studying cough in SCI.
From 2006 to 2008, Bob served as Program Director for the Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities Program at the National Science Foundation. Most recently, he joined the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development in 2008, first as a Scientific Program Manager for Rehabilitation Engineering. One of his main projects was transitioning the DARPA “Revolutionizing Prosthetics” Program into VA. In 2010, he became the first Director of Post-Deployment Health Research. In addition, Bob also spent 6 years as a special volunteer (adjunct research biomedical engineer) with the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, as a part-time researcher, studying human gait.
Please join us in welcoming Bob back to NIDILRR! We look forward to working with you again!