Inclusive Tertiary Education

This theme encompasses research on course design and delivery that incorporates the overarching framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Incorporating multiple means of representation, engagement, and assessment into course design and delivery increases the accessibility of tertiary education to a wider population of students and reduces the need for students to disclose their disability in order to receive specific accommodations. Coproduction in this category includes involving people with disability in the design and/or delivery of tertiary level courses.

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Environment and Infrastructure

The physical environment is one of the biggest hurdles facing people with disability. Whether it is in the home, in a transport system or in a city the correct design can make all the difference in the life of someone with a disability. As cities and spaces continue to develop and a synergy developed between the physical and digital worlds through concepts such as smart cities, the inclusion of people with disability becomes essential. The digital environment is also of consideration under this research theme.

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Technology Innovation

Technology has the potential to transform lives like never before, with products often having uses far beyond the original scope of their design. This theme challenges designers to consider the wider benefits of technology and how they can enhance the lives of people with disability. By working with people with disability we want designers to consider disability as part of the spectrum of the human condition and identify how technology will be designed to be inclusive. This applies to both developing innovative new technologies and utilising existing technology in different ways.

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Health and Wellbeing

This theme focusses on the long-term health of people with disability and understanding how health outcomes in the disability community can be improved and raised. This research includes examining access to public health services, examining the causes behind poorer long-term health outcomes of conditions such as diabetes for people with disability and many other areas. In addition, there is a focus on improving the day to day wellbeing of people with disability, with issues such as mental health also falling under this research theme.

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Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

New products and technology are only part of the solution. The successful implementation of these innovative solutions is dependent upon strong regulatory frameworks and policy to guide their use. This theme will overlap with the others to ensure that all parties have considered how to best incorporate the solutions into mainstream society to achieve maximum benefit.


The Disability Innovation Institute conducts interdisciplinary research and education in partnership with people with disability, uniquely combining disability studies with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and HASS (Humanities, Law, Business, Arts and Social Sciences) research and education.

By working together with world-class researchers and disability organisations, the Institute produces innovative solutions to the ‘big problems’ facing people with disability in an inclusive manner, with global impact.

The Institute identifies problems and develops research projects within these major themes: Technology, Policy and Regulatory Framework, Environment and Infrastructure and Health and Wellbeing.

The diagram explains the Institute's research themes, which will each be led by a UNSW Researcher. These Researchers will be supported by Mentors who are subject matter experts at UNSW. Each theme will have multiple projects, each led by a Research Project Lead.

Each theme is lead by a Theme Lead (UNSW researcher). Each theme has a Mentor (UNSW subject expert). Every project within each theme has a research project lead


Working together to find innovative solutions to create an inclusive environment