We need to invest in the careers of researchers and policy makers with disability

Co-design Collaborative research People with disability Social inclusion Lived experience Australia

It doesn’t seem too much of an ambit claim to say we have reached a crossroads in terms of inclusive research practice. There are increasing expectations that people with disability will feature in research projects through co-researcher and lived experience positions, and to a limited extent, this is increasingly reflected in guidelines for grants and funding.

However, we are yet to see this expertise translate into opportunities that encourage significant investment in career development of disabled scholars and researchers and to building a ‘third wave’ of inclusive research where leadership is by disabled people, above and beyond our contribution to research practice (valuable as this is).

Recognising that personal accommodations are mostly issues flagging the need for systems change is a key piece of work for senior academics and policy makers. Taking up these change projects within our academies means working to influence the policy and practice contexts in which we all work. This opens the door wider for the next generation of disabled scholars and moves the inclusion project from being a matter of making room for a valued individual to making space for cultural change in our field.

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