MDI Seed Funding

Melbourne Disability Institute - 2022 Seed Funding Round

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 pathway to further research and 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 again this year is on funding and facilitating projects that are driven by and with people with disability and their families. This means that projects must address a topic of importance to people with disability and their families, and demonstrate how people with disability and/or their families will be involved in every aspect of the research. This includes co-designing research questions and building research teams which include people with disability and/or their representative organisations.

Projects must commence before the end of the 2022 calendar year and must be complete by December 2023.

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
  • Align with the National Disability Research Partnership and the Australian Disability Strategy This includes work which examines the impact or operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework.

We understand that building genuine collaborations and partnerships takes time and resources. That is why we will fund the very early stages of project design and implementation – including genuine co-design of research questions and the building of partnerships and research teams that include people with disability, their families and representative organisations.

The outcome of a seed funding project does not have to be a finished piece of research – it can be the creation of a collaboration or partnership which will carry out a research project in the future. Researchers must outline in their application what the future path for the collaborative research team entails and demonstrate that there are feasible future funding opportunities.

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 hold 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 21 July 2022
9:00 am

Round Opens

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 1 - 3 August 2022
11-12:30 (M) 12-1:30 (T) 1-2:30 (W)

Drop-in Sessions

Friday 9 September 2022
5:00 pm

Applications due

Late September TBD

Applicants informed of outcome late September 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 the MDI Seed Funding Information PackDownload the MDI Seed Funding Application Form