Seed Funding 2021

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.

You can read brief summaries of each of the projects below.  We will provide more details on each of the projects as they begin to take shape on our Seed Funding Project  page here.

Finding better outcomes for children and caregivers through improved care pathways for those with complex medical needs

Summary: Cerebral palsy is complex and lifelong. Being involved with multiple professionals and services requires care coordination and good communication between caregivers, health professionals, specialists and service providers. This project aims to improve service delivery to and the tertiary care hospital experiences of children with medically complex cerebral palsy and their caregivers.

Project Team: Professor Christine Imms, Associate Professor Adrienne Harvey; Dr Susan Gibb; Ms Rose Babic; Ms Frances Hunter; Ms Gretta Jealous; Professor Dinah Reddihough; Dr Daisy Shepherd;  Professor Rob Carter; Dr Gordon Baikie

Opening Eyes to the Experience of Vision Loss

Summary: While there is research on the emotional and psychological impacts of vision loss, little has been done to evaluate how these factors influence people’s behaviour. In particular, many people report not knowing how to navigate discussions about their condition when they are first diagnosed, or when their vision loss is still undetectable to other people such as before the need for aids such as canes and dogs. This project aims to identify the support needs of people with early-stage vision loss.

Project Team: Dr Alexis Ceecee Britten-Jones, Associate Professor Lauren Ayton, Associate Professor Karyn Galvin, Mr Leighton Boyd, Mrs Rosemary Boyd, Ms Emma Bennison

Designing Learning Spaces for Diversity, Inclusion and Participation – Pilot Project

Summary: In Australia and internationally, evidence-based school facility design has not kept pace with inclusive education policies and agendas during past decades. Well-structured research and evaluation is needed to investigate how design can better respond to the complex needs of all primary and secondary students and support their effective participation in learning and in the life of their school. This project will explore a significant research gap regarding how best to accommodate students with disability in inclusive school settings. The ultimate objective of a planned multi-year research program is to ensure that students with disability—and indeed all students—are included and supported by educational facilities in both mainstream and dedicated special school settings.

Project Team: Dr Benjamin Cleveland, Associate Professor Kate Tregloan, Associate Professor Christhina Candido, Dr Paul Loh, Professor Lorraine Graham, Professor Janet Clinton, Associate Professor Wes Imms, Professor Christine Imms, Professor Bruce Bonyhady

Experts of Experience: The Voice of the Client in Service Governance and Innovation in the NDIS. Step One: Participant Engagement Process

Summary: Our team is planning to apply for a large grant to examine the way choice and voice work for participants, their families and providers in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. As the first step in this process, we want to work with people with disability, their families and their representative organisations to design the larger project.  We will focus on project design, how best to recruit participants, how to pay them for their time, how to balance the recruitment of different cohorts in the sector, and how to recruit researchers with life experience of disability to work in the project once it is fully funded.

Project Team: Professor Mark Considine, Dr Carmel Laragy, Dr Raelene West

Health Justice Partnerships in inner city Melbourne: A lived experience evaluation by women experiencing psychosocial disability, domestic violence and legal problems during the COVID-19 pandemic

Summary: Although there is an increasing recognition of the need for integrated services for women experiencing domestic violence, there is no research exploring the lived experience of a Health Justice Partnership by women who are experiencing psychosocial disability, domestic violence, and legal problems. This project will address this research gap by focusing on Victorian women experiencing these issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project Team: Dr Clare Glover-Wright BSc(Hons) PhD,  Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan,  Dr Jesse Young

Attitudes of Australian autistic communities to Applied Behaviour Analysis, Positive Behaviour Support and social skills interventions

Summary: The United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) together declare that all children with diverse abilities, including neurodiverse children, have the right to dignity, autonomy and inclusion within their communities. This definition includes determining which interventions children with diverse abilities participate in, and under what conditions. In accordance with these international human right instruments, this project seeks to investigate the attitudes of children and young adults with lived experiences of autism towards three frameworks for autism intervention that are popular within Australian schools: Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and social skills therapy.

Project Team: Dr. Matthew Harrison,  Ms Jess Rowlings, Ms Stephanie Weir

Exploring approaches to build the self-advocacy capabilities of young job seekers with cognitive disabilities to engage in the labour market

Summary: Paid employment helps people meet a range of human needs including financial security, mental and physical health, belongingness, and a sense of meaning. However, many young people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities experience complex barriers to gaining and maintaining employment. This project will to build on the Youth Employment Study (YES) that aims to understand what helps young people find and maintain work.

Project Team: Dr Paul Jacobs, Dr Alexandra Devine, Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan, Ms. Stefanie Dimov, Ms Kristy De Rose, Ms Bella White, Ms Rhiannon Jones

Work-life in Wodonga: Co-design workshops for housing and work opportunities with people with disabilities in regional Victoria

Summary: This project will investigate relationships between inclusive and diverse medium-density housing and accessible neighbourhood infrastructure, highlighting what is necessary to enable, promote, and sustain work-life opportunities for people with disability in Wodonga.

Project Team: Dr Andrew Martel,  Dr Kristen Day,  Ms Mary Ann Jackson,  Ms Saumya Kaushik