Disabled people to lead on £5 million research programme
Disabled people will be at the forefront of designing an innovative new £5 million UK-wide programme on Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL).
DRILL is fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund and will be delivered across the UK by a consortium of national disabled people’s organisations, including Disability Wales.
DRILL Wales, which is launched on 22 September, will see disabled people working alongside academics and policy makers to develop the programme. The programme will gather evidence on the social barriers to independent living and learning which disabled people face. Research findings will be used to develop pilot projects and inform policy development and practice to bring about real improvements to the lives of disabled people.
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales, said:
“This is the first research programme which ensures disabled people, and the issues that matter to us, are central to research funding decisions. The aim is to build a solid evidence base on the initiatives and support which enable disabled people to fully participate in society. When everyone can participate in the world we live in, it makes sense for us all. Given the emphasis in Wales on ‘voice and control’, the DRILL programme is very timely and will provide a golden opportunity to provide the evidence that will shape future policy and legislation from the citizen’s perspective”.
DRILL is expected to fund a total of 40 research proposals and pilot projects across the UK. It will investigate how public money can be best used to support disabled people’s social, economic and political inclusion. The research programme will aim to identify the solutions that work best for people living with a range of impairments, chronic health conditions and circumstances.
The funding criteria will be decided after a series of engagement events with disabled people, under the research themes of peer support, autonomy, resilience and social, economic and civic participation. Disabled people and their organisations will be supported to work on their research bids in partnership with academics and policy makers.
A Central Research Committee (CRC) will decide which research proposals are taken forward. Disabled academic Dr Tom Shakespeare, chair of the CRC, said:
“Research can make a real difference to disabled people’s lives. It documents our experiences, and the barriers we face. But the best research is done in partnership with disabled people themselves. I am looking forward to the new research findings with real excitement.”
A call for research proposals will be issued early next year and the first round of funding is expected to be announced in April 2016. For further information please go to www.drilluk.org.uk