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Tag: Knowledge sharing

The European Disability Forum (EDF), and its partners -Leeds and Maastricht Universities- organised a seminar in June to identify next collaborative opportunities between Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) and academic researchers over the project “European Research Agendas for Disability Equality” (EuRADE).

For the first time in the history of disability, DPOs worked together with the key stakeholders in academic research including researchers from European Universities, research policy-makers, funders, and promoters showing interest for disability research and collaboration. As Yannis Vardakastanis, President of EDF stressed out: “This unique cooperation between NGOs and the academic community enabled DPOs to identify their own research priorities to gain knowledge about research methods and communicating their ideas to demonstrate their capacity to participate in research, and at initiating new research collaboration in Europe. The UN convention already set the paradigm shift from medical to a social approach. This must be translated in a new approach to research.”

The seminar was attended by a mixed representation of the field, half coming from the research area and half coming from DPOs. “This collaboration in research enabled a lot of great achievements” said Erzsebet Szollosi, Vice President of EDF. She underlined:”Together, we established a European research agenda, we increased the capacity of Persons With Disability (PWD) to be engaged as equal partners in research, we learnt from each others about disability perspective in research priority, and we set up tremendous contacts between researchers and the disability movements.”

The EuRADE project also allowed the identification of key perspectives in research on disability equality:
• Access to research: research must be accessible to PWD such as students with disabilities, researchers and teachers
• Inclusive education: a strong need for wider interdisciplinary collaborations is to be underlined
• Equal recognition before the law: a central area that still remains unexplored in the human rights field
• Reasonable accommodation: its understanding, enforcement at national level, and practical implementation have to be included in the area of non discrimination
• Independent living: the need to shift from institutions to community based living environments should be developed as well as the information and communication systems designed for all
• Accessibility of transport systems and the built environment: although already set on the political agenda, this key issue requires further engagement of researcher and developers

Representatives from the European Commission, and all the project participants debated the best way to match these key perspectives with the science and humanities work programme. PWD explained they still face too many obstacles to efficiently set disability issues in the European research agenda. “Mainly because disability equality issues are not reflected in the European Commission’s work programme” explained a researcher with disability. Philippe Keraudren, Deputy Head of Unit Research, answered: “The bridge of conservatism in social sciences won’t be crossed easily, but the European Commission is trying to provide relevant tools to tackle this problem. EuRADE is a very good example in that respect as it mentions disability as a cross-cutting issue in research, linked to major societal trends such as employment, ageing and health. A new programme, funded accordingly will consequently be dedicated to disability.”

Mark Priestley, professor of Disability Policy at University of Leeds, highlighted the academic perspective: “We need a stronger collaboration with DPOs, we have to think how to maximize their involvement”. Lisa Waddington, Professor and EDF Chair in European Disability Law from Maastricht University concluded “The great deal of enthusiasm and knowledge shared in EuRADE still have to be supported by the Commission: both academics and DPOs have the desire to go ahead.”

More about the project can be found here.

Check and Go

Apr 19

The aim of the Check and go project is to enhance access to workplaces for people with disabilities. With the tools developed in the project, people with disabilities will find it easier to apply for a trainee post or a job in a company. By constructing an individual profile of accessibility they will be able to say quickly and easily what barriers they face and what they need in order to do their job efficiently. In addition, companies that receive applications with this profile of accessibility can easily determine if the applicant will fit into the company and people with disabilities will be able to find a suitable job quickly and easily.

With the Check and go website, people with disabilities, companies, staff managers, trainers, instructors and job coaches can get a three-part product range to learn how they can include or integrate people with disabilities at a workplace more efficiently. These products are:
the Training tool, the Check and go tool and the Advice tool.

More information can be found on the project website.

eABILITIES aims at developing a framework for current and future actions in research, education and technology transfer in the field of ICT accessibility in the home, vehicle and working environments in Europe. With this purpose, eABILITIES will enable, organise and promote the share of related knowledge, communication, facilities equipment and personnel resources.

In general, the objectives are to make an extensive and detailed map of current and possible future technological developments in ICT accessibility, to organise contacts and exchanges and to identify needs, breakthroughs and bottlenecks. This requires a focused effort into tracing research and development, transfer of technology, education and training based on cooperation between industry, academic and government institutions and research centres. The information will be spread to the appropriate target groups using the eABILITIES space for resource and knowledge sharing.

eABILITIES will become the platform where excellent, multidisciplinary organisations involved in eAccessibility in Europe, will collaborate to:
* Benchmark commercial products and research activities
* Propose Recommendations and Best Practices in User Experience for eAccessibility products
* Share research resources (personnel, equipment, facilities and expertise)
* Establish fora and workshops
* Disseminate the project results

eAbilities coordination action aims at developing a framework for sharing current and future actions in research, education and technology transfer in the field of ICT accessibility in the home, vehicle and working environments in Europe. With this purpose, eAbilities will enable, organise and promote the share of related knowledge, communication, facilities equipment and personnel resources.

The whole range of the key stakeholders in this field will be involved, namely Users; Social Research Centres; National Centres for Personal Autonomy and Assistive Technologies; Research Centres; Industrial Research Centres and SMEs.

More information you can find on the project website.