The Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDRP) aims to reduce the disadvantage that occurs for people with disability. Our research works to improve the social and economic participation, health and wellbeing of people with disability.
The centre collaborates with a large number of local and international organisations, agencies, governments and service providers to enhance the wellbeing of people with disability. We actively partner with, and employ, people with lived experiences of disability in order to do that.
We aim to provide a strong voice in debates of national importance including the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the National Disability Strategy and the Disability Royal Commission. This voice is underpinned by outstanding scholarship led by our stream leaders.
We work closely with our colleagues in the Centre for Disability Studies.
We teach into a number of programs across the University, including the cross-university Disability and Participation Major, the Bachelor of Science (Health), Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Social Work programs. We also have a large number of higher degree and honours students and provide placement opportunities for students completing research-based placements and capstone projects.
The CDRP has eight work streams led by Sydney School of Health Sciences research teams:
Disability research should be lived experience-led or, in the very least, designed in partnership with people with disability and their supporters. Central to our centre’s strategic direction are our aims to:
We are working towards these ends through a number of different strategies including appointing people with lived experience as stream leaders, employing people with lived experience in our research programs, advocating for academic careers which value lived experience and partnering with people with lived experience to deliver our teaching programs.
Receiving bipartisan support from both major national parties, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises to provide Australian people with disability services or equipment they need to for a full and productive participation in society.
The NDIS is still being developed and some crucial questions have yet to be answered. The centre continues to play a constructive role in developing and implementing the NDIS through focusing on:
For more information on our work on the NDIS or to collaborate please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9351 9060.
Australians with disability face widespread disadvantage and discrimination, yet there is no national system to monitor and report the nature and extent of disadvantage and discrimination over time.
The Disability and Inequity stream develops ways of monitoring discrimination and disadvantage experienced by people with disability and reports on the resultant personal, social and economic costs.
People with disability are often excluded from the development of disability services, research and policy.
The Disability - Inclusive Community Development work stream conducts community-based research in partnership with people with disability and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).
Much of our work involves the examination of cross-sector service coordination and collaborative practice. Together with key community stakeholders from disability, community health and mainstream services we develop, trial and improve the design of services and support so that they are inclusive for all people.
Services for people with disability operate across Australia and around the world, but the intended outcomes for people with disabilities are not always achieved.
The Disability Services work stream conducts research to understand outcomes resulting from disability services provision. We collaborate with people with disability, their families, disability service providers and mainstream service providers to develop, trial and analyse support intended to make a positive difference in the daily lives of individuals with disabilities. Much of our work involves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
We work with service providers to strengthen the skills and knowledge of their staff to improve outcomes for people with disability using these services. In addition, we collaborate with mainstream community groups to build their capacity to support members with disability.
Many current practices of disability research and policy continue to disenfranchise Indigenous peoples with disabilities. The Indigeneity and Disability stream uses a multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct new research methods with Indigenous peoples with disabilities.
We are focused on decolonising the disability research paradigm to advance disability policy and advocacy. We do so by systematically challenging the existing Western ways of knowing and adopting new research methodologies with Indigenous peoples with disabilities and their communities.
Through engaging in new research methods, we aim to ensure research can be translated into constructive policy outcomes that empower Indigenous peoples with disabilities.
Some examples of our work include the special edition of Disability and the Global South and Out of Home Care.
We build partnerships with scholars in critical disability studies, decolonisation, and Southern theorists and other work teams. Our members work with Indigenous communities worldwide to contribute to the global movement in decolonising the disability research paradigm.
Disability is a barrier to living a personally meaningful and valued life of choice. It is something faced by many people living with a mental illness. These barriers to participation and inclusion originate from both mental illnesses and society.
The Mental Health and Disability stream aims to better understand barriers and enablers to participation and inclusion for people living with mental illness or psychosocial disability.
We critically examine and influence policies and initiatives to enhance participation and inclusion. Our work also amplifies the voice of service users and providers in the policy and research discourse and implementation.
Our stream builds international partnerships with service users, service providers, researchers, government and community organisations.
Inclusion and participation of people with a disability is underpinned by an informed, vibrant, diverse and quality workforce. The current shifts in legislation and policy, in Australia and beyond, require us to rethink the workforce approaches that have been in place to implement the full potential of policy innovation. The disability sector must expand the thinking around workforce responses and embrace a broader scope of potential areas of influence.
This stream of research will consider a wide range of workforce initiatives to explore knowledge and skill development, models of service delivery that expand access to supports as well as options for building community capacity in providing positive engagement with people with a disability in everyday encounters. Areas of inquiry include:
Preparation of students and young people to develop positive experiences and approaches to engaging with people with a disability is fundamental to future workforce development and throws up many unanswered questions.
Research focus areas
While local government can claim significant progress in disability action planning in recent years, there still remains significant scope for practical improvement by way of research and development.
The introduction of the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (DIA) has provided the necessary revised legislative tool to undertake a comprehensive disability inclusion action planning process.
Under the DIA, councils were required to develop a stand-alone Disability Inclusion Action Plan by 1 July 2017.
This stream considers the ongoing delivery of local government disability social policy and its effectiveness towards bringing about a fully inclusive society.
Collaboration with this research is sought from government agencies, individual researchers, disability groups and people with disabilities. For further information, please email email@example.com
We maintain strong links to industry, government and community partners through shared research.
We actively contribute our knowledge and experience to better the lives of people living with a disability through participating in research and as expert advisors to the Royal Commission
Download the CRE-DH Emergency Planning and Response for People with Disability in Australia (pdf, 5.5mb)
We regularly provide commissioned research outputs for both large and small-scale projects, examples include:
We conduct both small and large-scale evaluations for government and non-government organisations.
Our evaluation teams hold expertise in a wide range of evaluation methodologies and understand policy and practices surrounding disability and mental health service provision.
We are strongly committed to working collaboratively both across our own institution and through research partnerships with other universities and organisations.
Our current partners include:
The Disability Research Student Group (DRSG) provides an informal forum where students, staff or visitors can present their project and discuss issues relevant to the research interests of students, in particular disability related research.
Sessions are open to students from all faculties and schools.
For more information please email the DRSG Coordinator at Rebecca Barton Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org
Meetings occur on every 3rd Wednesday of the month 12pm - 2pm.
All meetings will have zoom capabilities.
For more information please email email@example.com.
The CDRP brings together experts from various disciplines and research areas who work to strengthen and support research on disability for policy development.
Dr Kim Bulkeley
Professor Shane Clifton
Dr Scott Denton
Associate Professor John Gilroy
Associate Professor Nicola Hancock
Dr Glenda Jessup
Dr Genevieve Johnsson
Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Professor Richard Madden
Dr Damian Mellifont
Associate Professor Justin Scanlan
Dr Andy Smidt
Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry
Dr Margaret Spencer
Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve