Welcome to the Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) at the University of Melbourne. The MDI facilitates collaborative, interdisciplinary research to build the evidence-base needed to guide social and disability policy reforms and to advance opportunity and equity for people with disability, their families and carers.
We are committed to co-producing collaborative research, where people with disability are involved not just as participants, but as co-creators of knowledge. Throughout our work, we strive to promote the inclusion and well-being of people with disability, explore issues that are or are likely to become important to people with disability and recognise, foster and communicate the contributions people with disability make to research.
The work of the MDI is building on established programs and partnerships, including the Scope-University of Melbourne partnership, the Hallmark Disability Research Initiative and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health.
2021 Seed Funding Recipients
We extend our congratulations to the recipients of MDI's 2021 seed funding round. Eight exciting new projects have been selected to receive funding of up to $30,000 each. The interdisciplinary, disability focused topics explore a diverse range of topics, and we look forward to sharing progress with everyone.
The Melbourne Disability Institute has a small team who coordinate our research and engagement activities.View
The Committee is the key governing body for the Institute and consists of academics from law, public health, economics, education and the arts.View
Hallmark Disability Research Initiative
The Hallmark Disability Research Initiative was an interdisciplinary disability research hub at the University of Melbourne.View
The MDI Strategic Plan 2019-2021 is now available for download.View
Disability Research APO Collection
Established in November 2020, the Disability Research APO Collection supports the work of the National Disability Research Partnership to facilitate a collaborative and inclusive disability research program that builds the evidence for successful innovation in policy and practice. Wherever possible, accessible versions of documents such as plain language summaries, Easy English or audio versions have been included in the Collection.
Connect with other researchers in a supportive environment to share ideas and receive assistance to develop your research capabilities.
At MDI we offer services that foster your development at every stage of your research career.
Disability Research Community of Practice
The Melbourne Disability Institute invites researchers from across the University of Melbourne to join a Community of Practice focused on Disability Research.Learn more
PhD Student Network
The Melbourne Disability Institute has launched a peer driven network for PhD students in disability research.Learn more
MDI is committed to research being done in partnership with people with disability, and working collaboratively with communities and people with lived experience.Learn more
Research Translation Tools
Conducting high-quality research is important, but it's also important to make that research accessible and relevant to those who can use it. Research translation is about bridging the gap between knowledge and action.Learn more
Funding and support
The MDI is committed to supporting disability research at the University of Melbourne and in the broader sector. Researchers and community organisations can apply for funding to support pilot projects, community-led projects, events and research translation.
Researchers applying for Fellowships or large grants are encouraged to get in touch to discuss ways in which the MDI can contribute to help strengthen applications. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Seed funding to support research ideas and pilot projects that are likely to lead to direct outcomes or further funding.Learn more
Community-based Research Scheme supports the evaluation and research of innovative ideas in the broader disability community.Learn more
Funding and network support to research programs which have reached ‘critical mass’ of knowledge which would benefit from targeted knowledge translation.Learn more
Funding to support events that share disability research findings, exchange knowledge and bring people together.Learn more
COVID-19 Research Fund
The Melbourne Disability Institute, an interdisciplinary research institute at the University of Melbourne, has directed nearly $300,000 to fund 14 new projects designed to help support people with disabilities and their families and carers in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.View projects
The Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) is committed to facilitating disability research that is interdisciplinary and can demonstrate significant impact on the well-being of people with disability, their families and carers. By providing seed funding, the MDI seeks to encourage and support innovative ideas and interdisciplinary research collaborations.View projects
Community Based Research Scheme
Through the Community-based Research Scheme, the MDI seeks to encourage and support the evaluation and research of innovative ideas in the broader disability community, by linking community organisations to researchers or students who can help do the research or evaluation.View projects
The Melbourne Disability Institute conducts disability-related research in partnership with universities in Australia and internationally, governments, community sector organisations, the private sector, advocacy groups, and people with disability and their families and carers, drawing on a range of funding sources, to inform policy and practice.View Projects
The Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) is a regular contributor to public policy development in areas that impact on people with disability and their families and carers more broadly. MDI engages in policy discussion and analysis at global, national, and regional levels through submissions to governments and multilateral organisations in response to inquiries, consultation papers, thematic studies, reviews, and Royal Commissions, underpinned by rigorous research.
This section provides access to statements and policy submissions made by MDI on key public policy issues and in many cases have been prepared in collaboration with the relevant faculties and functional units across the University.
Response to the proposed modifications within the NDIS Amendment Bill 2021
The proposed changes to the NDIS Act (2013) contained in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment Bill 2021 are significant and complex. But one thing is clear - they are some of the biggest changes proposed since the scheme began. In our submission we focus on the importance of trust and transparency and on maintaining the good governance of the scheme. We think all governments should work together to ensure the scheme lives up to its original vision and delivers for people with disability.
NDIS Participant Service Guarantee Amendment Bill - 4 November 2021 (PDF)
Response to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme
The Joint Standing Committee began an inquiry into the implementation, performance and governance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), including current scheme implementation and forecasting. In our submission we provide a brief 10 Point Plan to ensure the NDIS realises its original vision of achieving greater social and economic inclusion for people with disability.
Joint Standing Committee - NDIS Submission - 1 November 2021 (PDF)
Review of the Community Visitors Scheme in the Victorian Disability Act
The review of Community Visitors schemes conducted for the Commonwealth in 2018 concluded that Community Visitors were a valuable part of the safeguarding machine for NDIS participants – and that their role should be reflected in the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Framework. The MDI submission recommends that in the future, the role of Community Visitors in Victoria should be more individualised and nuanced based on the risks that people with disability experience as a result of their disability, other personal factors and the environment, the potential contributions of Community Visitors to the prevention of abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation of people with disability who are considered at risk, and a balancing of risks of abuse with privacy considerations and rights.
Review of the Victorian Disability Act - 29 October 2021 (PDF)
Position paper on adoption of accessible housing standards
The Melbourne Disability Institute welcomed the decision by Building Ministers on 31 April 2021 to incorporate mandatory accessible housing standards into the National Construction Code (NCC) at the Silver level from 2022 and to include the Gold Standard as a technical referral. This will lead to major improvements in the quality of life for Australians living with disability and facilitate older Australians being able to age in place. It will make Australia a more inclusive and equal society. The position paper below encourages all jurisdictions to adopt the NCC as soon as practicable, so that all Australians benefit and there are maximum economies of scale and minimum transition costs.
MDI Position Paper on the Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Regulation for Accessible Housing - June 2021 (PDF)
Response to the Department of Social Services National Disability Employment Strategy Consultation Paper
Response to the Department of Social Services National Disability Employment Strategy Consultation Paper May 2021 (PDF)
Response to the Department of Social Services National Disability Employment Strategy Consultation Paper May 2021 (Word)
Response to the National Disability Insurance Agency and Joint Standing Committee on Independent Assessments
The Melbourne Disability Institute joined with disability advocates across Australia to express significant concerns about the Federal Government’s planned changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and, in particular, the introduction of Independent Assessments (IA). The submissions below put forward an alternative way forward designed to ensure that assessments are valid, equitable and consistent, people with disability receive the support that they need and that the NDIS is sustainable, both now and into the future.
Independent Functional Assessment - Submission to the Joint Standing Committee - March 2021 (PDF)
Independent Assessments - An Analysis of the Proposed Approach by the NDIA - 22 February 2021 (PDF)
Statement on the response to COVID-19 for people with disability
MDI joined with leading health and disability researchers to call for urgent action from State and Federal governments to develop a targeted response to COVID-19 for people with disability, their families and the disability service sector.
People with Disability and COVID - CREDH Statement -16 March 2020 (PDF)
Response to the Australian Building Codes Regulatory Impact Assessment addressing a proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code
In 2020 the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) issued a Consultation Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) addressing a proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC). The Regulatory Impact Assessment is a process designed to measure the benefits and costs of any new regulation and best practice includes a qualitative analysis. As a result, MDI and the Summer Foundation have initiated three important pieces of research to help ensure the Australian Building Codes Board hears and considers the personal stories of people whose lives have been improved by accessible housing (and how the lack of accessible housing has adversely affected them). You can view more information on our advocacy on this issue here.
Accessible Housing Research Report - 22 October 2020 (PDF)
ABCB - Supplementary Information - MDI and Summer Foundation - 6 October 2020 (PDF)
Preliminary findings new housing audit - August 2020 (PDF)
Accessible Housing - The Way Forward - Submission to the Consultation RIS - 31 Aug 2021 (PDF)
Dalton and Carter - Economic Report - 18 August 2020 (PDF)
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Response to the annual NDIS Financial Sustainability Report
Submitted by Richard Madden BSc, PhD, FIAA
For the first time, the annual NDIS Financial Sustainability Report, prepared by the NDIS Scheme Actuary, has been publicly released. This new transparency from the National Disability Insurance Agency is very welcome. Key issues arising from the Report include the sharp rise in the number of participants aged 0-14, the increasingly dramatic impact of participants aged 65 and over and the continuing intake above expectations of new participants from regions where the NDIS has been in place for many years. This paper discusses the need for more detailed analyses of these significant issues than is contained in the Financial Sustainability Report.
The podcast gives voice to people with disability and asks about their experiences with employment, housing, the law, supporting families and early intervention.Read more
In the News
The latest news and happenings from the Melbourne Disability Institute.Read more
Access the archive of newsletters from the Melbourne Disability InstituteRead more