Community-Based Research Program

Community Based Research Program Header

Please note - the current funding round has now closed. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Campbell Message at


Do you run a great program or service that is making a difference in the lives of people with disability and/or their families? Are you looking to show just how effective it is or what great outcomes you are achieving?

At Melbourne Disability Institute we run a program that might just be able to help.

We know that getting evidence of good outcomes and demonstrating impact is something community based organisations want - but sometimes the budget just doesn’t stretch that far.

The Melbourne Disability Institute’s Community-Based Research Program meets the research needs of community organisations by providing research support and evaluation for strength-based and innovative programs that are making a difference in the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.

Research support provided through the Program may include a scoping report, literature review, data analysis or a small research project. Research can lead to outcomes such as improved service delivery, the development of new services, improved ability to advocate effectively or improved capacity to undertake future research projects.

Please note the purpose of Community-based research program is to support research and evaluation of innovative ideas that build social capital; to share practices; and to replicate or scale up ideas, not to evaluate a core business or service.

How the program works

MDI and the University of Melbourne researcher will work hand-in-hand with the community organisation to help design a feasible project that fits available resources and timeframes. This may include such activities as:

  • An initial workshop or kick off meeting to understand the program and its context
  • A review of relevant academic literature to help frame the research and provide an overview of the state of current knowledge
  • A customised research plan - including Ethics applications where necessary
  • Collection of data through such activities as surveys or interviews
  • A meeting to discuss findings and what they mean for the organisation
  • A plain language report and a visual summary (infographic) where applicable
  • Participation in an end of year presentation held at MDI

MDI will pay University of Melbourne researchers up to $15,000 per project. The size of the research project will depend upon:

  • The needs of the community organisation
  • How easily and quickly community organisations can organise participants in the research
  • How many students and/or research assistants are involved
  • How intensive data collection is likely to be – for example transcribing interviews takes additional time

Payments for people with a disability

MDI expects every aspect of the project will include people with disability, from conception through to the final report.

We expect co-researchers and participants to be paid appropriately. Additional funds (up to $2,000) are available to pay participants for their time. This funding can be requested by the community organisation or by the researcher.

Publication grants

Publication in academic journals can not only add to the body of evidence in a particular area but can also help build an evidence base for innovative programs and services.

Additional funding (up to $2,000) is available for researchers to assist with the costs of publication. Researchers must submit an additional application for this funding once the project is complete.

Eligibility criteria

MDI invites applications from organisations who provide support or services for people with disability, their family or carers, to live engaged, self-directed and fulfilling lives.

It is essential that people with disability (and families where appropriate)  are involved in the research process, including the project proposal.

To be eligible for the MDI Community-based Research Program your organisation must:

  • Provide support or services to people with a disability, their family or carers.
  • Be of small to medium size (less than 200 employees)
  • Have limited capacity to conduct research
  • Can be based anywhere in Australia. Please note however the work needs to be able to be completed from Melbourne. Interstate travel is not funded.
  • Include a statement how people with a disability, their family or carers are involved in your organisation, and how they will be involved in the research project.

Innovative programs that fall outside these criteria may be considered. Applications should however tell us why this research will help people with disability and why it cannot be funded through other means. Applicants should also contact the Program Manager to discuss prior to submission.

Applying and Key Dates

Please note - the current funding round has now closed. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Campbell Message at

Applications open: Tuesday 8th March
Applications close: Wednesday 20th April
Notification of outcomes: Wednesday 4th May

Community-based organisations with a project idea can apply to be considered for a research project by  completing the Community-Based Research application form. We do our best to make sure the application form is clear and accessible; if you have any issues please let us know.

Please Contact Campbell Message to discuss your idea and see how a research project could be shaped for your idea. or phone  03 9035 7775.

Please make sure you read the Information Pack before completing your applicaiton.

Application Form (Word)

Information Pack (Word)

Information Pack (PDF)

Community-Based Research Projects