Letter from the Directors

The announcement on 14 November 2019 by the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Minister Stuart Robert, that the Commonwealth Government had committed $2.5 million to the establishment of a National Disability Research Partnership (NDRP) marked the start of an extraordinary opportunity for the future of disability research in Australia. 

We were honoured that the Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) from the University of Melbourne was invited to lead this nationally significant initiative. At the same time, we realised that we could not undertake this initiative alone and so we thank the members of the Working Party who have joined us to lead this work. 

The NDRP Establishment Phase will run until June 2022 and will involve five core deliverables:

  • Deliver a national disability research agenda (read more at this link: research agenda)

  • Design a governance model to support the long term NDRP (read more at this link: Governance)

  • Map and develop disability research capacity in Australia

  • Write a practical guide to NDRP research

  • Pilot a research funding round to build the evidence base and to demonstrate and refine NDRP processes.

All our work will align with the NDRP Guiding Principles which we released in late April 2021. The Working Party is deeply committed to reflecting these principles in all our activities. We have sought to align these principles with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and will adjust them as we receive feedback. Read more about our principles at this link: NDRP Guiding Principles.

The overarching objective of the Working Party is to secure long-term funding for disability research. Funding will be used to generate research that is collaborative with people with disability at the centre. Funding must be sufficient to address the current evidence gaps in a timely way, align with key policies and strategies like the National Disability Strategy and the National Disability Insurance Scheme and build research capacity. Read more about the policy context NDRP is operating in at this link: Policy context.


On behalf of the Working Party, we would like to thank you for your interest, look forward to your active engagement and feedback and hope you share our excitement. 

Professor Anne Kavanagh

Co-Director NDRP

Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM

Co-Director NDRP


Seed Funding

In 2019 the Commonwealth Government announced the provision of 2-year start-up funding to establish a National Disability Research Partnership. 

Working party

An initial working party is formed to work closely with stakeholders to design a future governance structure, develop a research agenda, map research capability and deliver two demonstration projects. The working party will exist for two years until mid-2022 and will help facilitate the establishment of NDRP. 

Stakeholder outreach

The NDRP is committed to working side-by-side with the disability community, government, advocacy bodies, service sector, philanthropy, industry and top researchers who are committed to advancing the rights of people with disability.

research agenda

The NDRP Working Party together with a consortium will develop and seek ratification of a future research agenda designed to engage a range of stakeholders to inform the next decade of disability research.


The NDRP will develop and seek ratification of a future governance model for the NDRP designed to engage a range of stakeholders which will attract future on-going, significant funding for disability research.


The NDRP will demonstrate through a select number of pilot projects the capacity of the NDRP to work together to deliver solutions on priority issues as identified in the research agenda and inform long-term governance arrangements.


The end-goal is to create a long-term partnership model that will enable Australia to build capacity and conduct high quality research that helps provide solutions to the many policy and practice challenges in disability policy, service delivery and mainstream services.