About Us

UNSW has over 25 years history in disability advocacy and research. Established in 2017, the Disability Innovation Institute is a world first initiative that conducts whole of university interdisciplinary research. Conducted in partnership with people with disability it uniquely combines disability studies with STEM research applied to disability innovation. With over one hundred leading researchers currently engaged in disability-related scholarship across UNSW, the Institute is central to the university’s profile as a global leader. Designing accessible and inclusive working, living and learning environments, generating innovative technologies and creating inclusive law, policy, services and communities is at the core of our work. The Disability Innovation Institute facilitates interdisciplinary disability research and educational pedagogy, driving innovations in accessible and inclusive practice and policy to produce sustainable change for disadvantaged communities.


To improve and transform the lives of people with disability


  • To create a rapid expansion of high impact interdisciplinary projects

  • Develop sustainable local and global partnerships

  • Generate an uplift in high-quality disability research

  • To provide evidence-based expertise and advice

  • The inclusion of people with disability as experts, teachers and researchers


  • People driven: Have the best people working together to solve the big problems of today and tomorrow

  • Teamwork: Work with organisations to ensure that everything we do is informed by people with disabilities

  • Integrity: Build open and honest relationships based on integrity

  • Diversity: Respect and embrace diversity and see disability as just another state of the human condition

  • Communication: Raise awareness through communication

  • Advocate: Be advocates for better integration of disability in mainstream society

Language of Disability

Disability is a changing concept and results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their participation in society on an equal basis with others. People with disability include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. It can include people with short term or fluctuating conditions. The current preferred term in Australia by disability advocates and in policy is ‘people with disability’. 

History of the Disability Innovation Institute

The Disability Innovation Institute emerged from the Disability@UNSW network, a collaboration of academics and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students from faculties across UNSW whose work involves enhancing the lives of people with disability through applied research, teaching and engagement with policy and practice. The network has now been merged into the Disability Innovation Institute.

What We Offer

For information on what we offer, view our flyer here.