Seed Funding

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

The Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) is focused on developing much needed evidence, data and research to address the complex problems facing people with disability in this country. To do that, we want to facilitate research that is driven by people with disability and their families and that will make a real difference in their lives.

Each year we run a seed funding round open to researchers from across the University of Melbourne. The funding is aimed at small to medium sized projects at the discovery or pilot end of research. We are looking for projects that are driven by the priorities of people with disability, likely to have practical outcomes, involve strong partnerships and have a clear path to sustainable funding.

We provide up to $30,000 to projects that meet these criteria. In exceptional cases, we consider requests for more than $30,000.

Our focus this year is on funding and facilitating projects that are driven by and with people with disability and their families. Projects must address a topic of importance to people with disability and their families, and demonstrate how people with disability and/or their families are involved in every aspect of the research.

We are looking for Projects that are:

  • Are driven by the priorities of people with disability and their families
  • Have impact on the lives people with disability
  • Include people with disability throughout the research process, including identifying questions and conducting research
  • Address a clear gap in policy or practice
  • Have a clear and effective knowledge translation strategy
  • Have a rigorous method
  • Are collaborative and build interdisciplinary research capacity
  • Have a feasible scope and budget
  • Are able to scale and likely to obtain future funding

In particular are looking for projects that align with the National Disability Strategy and reflect the vision and principles of the National Disability Research Partnership.

Last year our seed funding round focused exclusively on the impact of COVID19 on people with disability and their families. Given the pandemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on many people with disability, we are also looking to support projects that address this critical need.

Application Process

You can apply for seed funding using the application form. Applications should be no longer more than 2000 words.

Please send the completed application to our General Manager Kirsten Deane via email

We have tried to make the application process as simple and accessible as possible. If you find any part of the process difficult, please contact us. We appreciate any and all feedback.

Important Dates

Each round will be open for four to six weeks. We will a small number of drop-in sessions on Zoom to answer questions or discuss research proposals. The MDI team can help facilitate relevant introductions, make suggestions or help with brainstorming.

Thursday 16 September 2021
9:00 am

Round Opens

Thursday, Friday, Monday 7-11 October 2021

Drop-in Sessions

Monday 25 October 2021
5:00 pm

Applications due

Late November TBD

Applicants informed of outcome late November with funds received before the end of the calendar year

Drop-In Sessions

We are running drop-in sessions , led by MDI's General Manager Kirsten Deane and Public Policy Research Fellow, Dr Sue Olney, for interested academics to discuss their idea or ask any questions in advance of submitting their application.

The sessions will allow potential applicants to receive guidance on the seed funding requirements, guidelines and eligibility, and seek answers to any questions specific to a project before submitting an application. The MDI team can also help make relevant introductions which would help the project.

Schedule A Drop-In Session with MDI

Further information

Download the information pack and application form using the links below.

Download MDI Seed Funding Information PackDownload MDI Seed Funding Application Form