About the Centre

LIDS is a multidisciplinary research centre based in the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University. People with disabilities and their families are one of the most disadvantaged and socially excluded groups in Australian society. Our purpose is to promote the social participation and inclusion of people living with disability.

Research activities are conducted across three broad themes. With our research, we aim to improve the effectiveness of health and community services for this disadvantaged group. We focus particularly on people with cognitive disabilities such as intellectual disability or acquired brain injury, but also people who have mental health problems, physical disabilities, aphasia or other language problems.>

The LIDS approach

The Living with Disability Research Centre is dedicated to generating an evidence base to inform and improve practices, programs and policies for people with a disability.

We adopt a bio-psycho-social approach to understanding disability. The Centre's focus is living with disability across the lifespan. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies are used as are newer inclusive research approaches. Through the application of a systems perspective, our work takes a multi-tier approach recommending targeted interventions for the individual, family, organisation, community and the wider society.

The Living with Disability Research Centre works to ensure that people living with disabilities have a voice in our projects. A key focus is on the experiences of people with disabilities, their families and service users.

Our staff and their collaborators have strong partnerships with advocacy and self-advocacy groups, health, disability and other human service providers as well as key international disability research centres.

We undertake to bring about positive change for people living with disability. Change needs to happen at a policy and practice level. Attitudes also have to change. The Living with Disability Research Centre is committed to bringing about change on all of these levels so that our society includes everyone.

See our annual report [PDF 1.7MB].

Our mission

Our mission is to improve the social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability through research, education and knowledge transfer. We will generate an evidence base to facilitate the development of practices, programs and policies in order to enable participation of people with cognitive disability and promote their social inclusion.


  • To be recognised as a national and international Centre of excellence for research about the social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability and its translation to policy, practice, advocacy and social programs.
  • To be the focal point for researchers in the area of social inclusion and participation of people with cognitive disability.
  • To be the recognised source of expertise in the translation of research about living with disability into policy and practice outcomes.

Advisory Committee

Living with Disability Research Centre Advisory Committee assists the Director by:

  • Advising on policy and strategy to meet the aims of the Centre,
  • Participating in the appointment and advising on the administration of the Centre Director,
  • Advising, and assisting in reporting on the management of Centre resources,
  • Identifying potential new sources of funding for the Centre; and,
  • Receiving and endorsing the Annual Report of the Centre, and submitting it to Academic Board through the PVC (SHE) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Current Advisory Committee Members are:

  • The Centre Director – Professor Christine Bigby
  • Theme Heads Professor Teresa Iacono and Professor Jacinta Douglas
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Nominee   Professor Russell Hoye
  • The Pro Vice-Chancellor (SHE) Nominee – Professor Robert Pike
  • University Members – Professor Patrick Keyser and Professor Katie Holmes
  • Staff member of Centre – Dr Emma Bould

External members (from organisation within sector):

  • Dr Daniel Leighton – Inclusion Melbourne
  • Dr Christine Fyffe – Consultant
  • Dr Di Winkler – Summer Foundation
  • Dr Gerry Naughtin – Mind Australia
  • Dr Jane Tracy – Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria