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Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub at UCL Awarded £10m to Widen Accessibility of Assistive Technology

July 25, 2018

The funding will support the AT:2030 programme, which consists of six projects:

  • Publish a framework of interventions including a global target / measurement to understand return on investment (led by UCL)
  • An Innovation Hub based in east Africa led by the Government of Kenya and the University of Nairobi, and a fund to test and trial new ideas (led by GDI)
  • A pilot programme of market-shaping activity based on other successful healthcare technology interventions (led by Clinton Health Access Initiative)
  • Systems innovation, policy, standards and advocacy (led by the World Health Organisation)
  • Build the capacity and community participation of AT users (led by UCL with Leonard Cheshire)
  • ATScale; supporting the development of a global partnership on AT (led by GDI with ATScale)

The overall mission of the AT:2030 programme is to achieve at least:

  • 10 disruptive technologies with potential for life-changing impact technologies
  • Three million people with access to assistive technologies
  • Six innovative service delivery models
  • 30 new start-ups
  • Doubling initial investment
  • New methodologies for market shaping

Victoria Austin, AT:2030 Director and GDI Director of Strategy & Partnerships, said: ”This is exactly the type of programme we envisaged when we established GDI as a lasting legacy to London 2012. Working with a team of experts from across the world, AT:2030 will build on the approach to disability innovation developed during the 2012 Games.”

AT:2030 was announced by the Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, in sign language as DfID hosts its first Global Disability Summit. This is a call to action to address the ‘global injustice’ of discrimination against disabled people, calling on international partners to tackle prejudice. The Summit is co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

Dr Catherine Holloway, Academic Director of the GDI Hub and Senior Lecturer at UCL Computer Science said: “GDI Hub embodies all that is great about UCL – ensuring all people have access to opportunity. We are delighted and proud to be working with over 20 partners on this ambitious grant, which is only possible through collaboration, the pushing of interdisciplinary boundaries and the creation of new dialogues.

“We see AT:2030 as a significant milestone in establishing the new discipline of ‘Disability Innovation’ and will enjoy the challenge of exceeding the ambitious targets we have set ourselves.”

The GDI Hub, launched in 2016, was born out the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and is a leading voice on disability innovation and design, developing solutions with the potential to make a global impact. Currently located at Here East, it is the first UCL East activity on site.

It is led by UCL in collaboration with the London Legacy Development Corporation, London College of Fashion, V&A, Sadler’s Wells, Loughborough University London, Leonard Cheshire and The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.

Lord Holmes of Richmond, GDI Hub Chair, said: “The 2012 Paralympic Games demonstrated what is possible when world-class performance is brought together with inclusive design. The GDI Hub has gathered a team of the best in the world to address the global challenge of access to Assistive Technology. The task is huge, but the prize is even greater; now is the time to make AT a reality for everyone!”

This year GDI Hub became part of a €5 million project to develop wheelchairs that can self-navigate in crowds, with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park being the demonstrator site and a £1.4 million project to develop an affordable body-powered prosthetic.

Next year, GDI Hub will launch a new MSc in Disability, Design and Innovation, with full scholarships for disabled students as it grows a community of disability innovators.

Source: UCL News