DRILL Blog and News

Eleven new disability research projects receive £1 million as DRILL calls for new bids


Eleven projects across the UK are the latest to receive between £39,000 and £150,000 each of previously awarded funding to explore aspects of how disabled people can live as full citizens in our society.


The projects, which include exploring employment opportunites, housing and social care services for disabled people, are the latest to be funded by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a £5 million research scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.


The announcement coincides with DRILL’s call for new bids for funding, which is announced this week – it is looking to allocate another £1 million.


All DRILL projects are led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, working in co-production with academics and policy makers.


The latest grants were approved by the DRILL Central Research Committee, which is chaired by Professor Tom Shakespeare. He said:

“Once again, a terrific set of applications to the DRILL scheme. The Research Committee are delighted to be able to support work about adapted housing, autism, young disabled people, disabled parents and other important issues, from all parts of the United Kingdom. It’s particularly rewarding to see the strong new relationships which are emerging between disabled people’s organisations and university researchers.”


Lead partners on the latest projects to be awarded funding are:


  • Change (Leeds)
  • Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA)
  • Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service
  • University of Coventry
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living


Northern Ireland

  • Praxis



  • University of Stirling
  • Horizon Housing
  • University of Glasgow



  • Cardiff University


Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales. DRILL is expecting to fund up to 40 research pilots and projects over a five-year period, all led by disabled people.


Potential projects have until 8th August to put their bids in for the new round of funding.


More information on DRILL can be found on the main Funding page.

Details of the funded projects can be found in the Projects Section

Blog Post: DRILL Calling!


Our ground-breaking DRILL Programme is now well underway as we announce the latest tranche of projects awarded £1 million in total as well as the call for the second round of proposals to fill some of the research gaps and identify solutions to barriers faced by disabled people in achieving independent living.


We have been thrilled by the sheer number and quality of proposals (over 200) received from across the UK for research and pilot projects led by disabled people, in co-production with research experts. This demonstrates an appetite amongst disabled people to build our own knowledge and test innovations to enable disabled people to participate fully in society.


New DRILL Projects

DRILL funded projects enable disabled people pose the research questions and co-design the whole approach, with research partners. The questions disabled people put are simply not the same as those often asked by academics and professionals. DRILL’s research will reveal new knowledge, new insights, that could lead to new solutions and new ways of doing things that will make a real difference to disabled people’s lives in the UK.


For example, disabled people are consumers with cash to spend and will want to ensure that purchases are good value as well as meeting their requirements. The project Rate it! to be delivered by lead partner Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA) will involve disabled people in producing product reviews, offering a peer perspective.


Several of the projects funded relate to independent living at different points in the life cycle.  The University of Coventry leads on a project to define quality and rights-based Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for disabled young people whilst Wiltshire CIL’s project ImaYDiT will explore the transition from childhood to adulthood. Horizon Housing in Scotland’s initiative Match Me will look at the rented accommodation needs of disabled people whilst the University of Stirling will research the costs and benefits of good self-directed support. Support for disabled parents will be investigated by the University of Bedfordshire and partners.


Given the topicality of tackling the disability employment gap, the DRILL portfolio now includes some innovative projects focussing on barriers to the job market. These include CHANGE’s research into employing peer support workers with learning difficulties in services to people with learning difficulties; Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service’s project to explore employer perceptions on barriers to work; and Cardiff University’s research – Legally Disabled? – into the specific barriers to disabled people’s employment in the legal profession.


We are particularly glad to have funded projects that are led or co-led by people who often have little or no voice at all. These include: research led by Praxis in Northern Ireland into the experiences of people with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities regarding decision making processes; and the University of Glasgow’s initiative to examine barriers faced by people with autism.


Together with the ten small project and fast-track grants awarded in 2016, DRILL’s portfolio now consists of 21 projects totalling £1.5m. Competition has been fierce and we know that there will have been disappointment among bidders who were not successful this time. We are delighted to announce therefore that there is another opportunity to apply for funding.


Calling New Proposals

Our approach and priorities for the 2nd Call is based upon several factors: what disabled people told us at the DRILL roadshow events in 2015; the insight provided by the funding applications received in the 1st Call and; our ongoing engagement with disabled people across the UK. As before DRILL projects must be about one of the following 4 themes:


  • Participating in the economy, or
  • Participating in civic and public life, or
  • Participating in the community and social life, or
  • Participating in anything!


Based on the projects funded to date, we have identified several gaps so this time we will be particularly interested in proposals that seek solutions in specific areas. Full details can be found in the Guidance.


Most importantly we are looking to fund projects that have been developed in coproduction with people with lived experience of disability or long-term health conditions. We want the DRILL Programme to include a wide range of different experiences and perspectives. We are keen to fund a range of projects which tap into the diversity of people and experiences in the UK.



Over and above the findings and recommendations that all DRILL projects will generate, is the legacy we aim to achieve in linking Disabled People’s Organisations with researchers. For the first time in the history of the UK Disabled People’s Movement we will have the academic partners and the skills to set the research agenda, prioritising and posing our own questions on the issues of most importance to us and thereby sustaining DRILL’s work well into the future.



Rhian Davies

Chief Executive, Disability Wales


Tweets from @drill_uk

Spinner Loading new posts...

Darlene Corry from #DRILLUK & Paul Rooney from @NI_SCC are discussing the research “Is it Me?: How do attitudes wi… https://t.co/AIel3WBlc6

1 week ago
Catherine Hale Catherine Hale @octoberpoppy

Disability equality education in schools is weak to non-existent. This strong report from @evanodell and #DrillUK i… https://t.co/JU7IIBtUqa

2 weeks ago
Disability Action NI Disability Action NI @disabilityni

Read more about the ‘Is it Me’ research and how you can participate and help me a difference. Deadline to participa… https://t.co/zxzieTMaer

1 month ago
NDTi Research NDTi Research @NdtiResearch

‘Supporting people with learning disabilities to have positive sexual relationships’ – new blog by Anna Marriott fr… https://t.co/6WeklWVjpg

2 months ago

@CforWR a #Drilluk & @TNLComFund are delighted to share their first publication from the Chronic Illness inclusion… https://t.co/9384X63ZsM

2 months ago
InclusionScotland InclusionScotland @InclusionScot

Here are the 3 key findings from @toiletsonthego research. Public toilets can be:
Slide 1. Difficult to find and ac… https://t.co/halmrYWgGu

3 months ago
Disability Action NI Disability Action NI @disabilityni

The @drill_uk team is in Belfast today @QUBelfast to hear about the positive projects being funded through the… https://t.co/Bpk3NFHsjf

3 months ago
Chronic Illness Inclusion Project Chronic Illness Inclusion Project @chronicinclude

We are in Belfast!
Huge thanks to the team at #drilluk for bringing me and @VictoriaClutton here to share our rese… https://t.co/o9FA8jmvqh

3 months ago
Disability Action NI Disability Action NI @disabilityni

@mencap_charity is running a national survey of people with a learning disability in the UK. Read how you can take… https://t.co/YtlgTjBSsm

3 months ago
Disability Action NI Disability Action NI @disabilityni

Mutual benefits: The Potential of disabled people as foster carers – a #Drilluk project by @worcester_uni based on… https://t.co/MA23j94rpX

3 months ago

A #Drilluk project by @worcester_uni based on the potential for disabled people as foster carers has featured in an… https://t.co/IMwprXL4RD

3 months ago
Disability Action NI Disability Action NI @disabilityni

We want to hear what disabled people in N.Ireland have to say on “How attitudes in the adult social care system imp… https://t.co/phsWZZ3naJ

3 months ago

Do you want to have your say about adult social care? Are you a disabled person in NI & have experience of adult so… https://t.co/Q9seeDzz9v

3 months ago
LevelsAreHigh LevelsAreHigh @ScarcityStudios

Check the full story here . 1000s more views then the biggest bloggers in uk with half the subs #reach #drillukhttps://t.co/UMHJs1xZSx

4 months ago

@MartinSLewis we are a @TNLComFund 4 nations research programme called #Drilluk it is led by disabled people for di… https://t.co/ORZJ9DfDIH

5 months ago

It’s Tonight! Don’t miss out on the #Drilluk disability talk show. We’ll be telling funny stories relating to disab… https://t.co/UMfii90Rz4

5 months ago

We’ll be talking movies, buses, street clutter and tennis finals. Come along and join in the conversation at the… https://t.co/WGxTsexNjt

5 months ago

Speakers for the #Drilluk Disability Chat Show are Patricia Bray, June Best, @DrC_82, Danny O’Neill and Tony O’Reil… https://t.co/oGOrVsatme

5 months ago