DOI: 10.1177/10442073241228840 ISSN: 1044-2073

Who Funds Published Disability Research in Australia?

Jennifer Smith-Merry, Simon Darcy, Angela Dew, Bronwyn Hemsley, Christine Imms, Mary-Ann O’Donovan, Gisselle Gallego, Keith McVilly, John Gilroy, Gemma Carey, Kathy Ellem
  • Law
  • Health (social science)

In this article, we describe the sources of funding cited, and topics of research associated with that funding, in Australian disability research. We conducted a systematic search for publicly available peer-reviewed papers reporting the findings of Australian disability research studies focused on Australia in the 2018–2020 period. Papers identified were analyzed according to research topic, participant group, study methodology, and funding sources acknowledged. In total, 1,241 relevant papers were identified. Of these, 582 papers (47%) reported at least one funding source. Government sources accounted for most funding identified ( n = 487), followed by university sector ( n = 112), nongovernment organizations ( n = 99) and for-profit organization funding ( n = 17). The most funding went to intellectual disability (22%), autism (15%), and psychosocial disability (12%). Only 16 (1.3%) papers citing funding sources reported their research was conducted in partnership with people with disability. Research funding influences the priorities of disability research, how it is conducted, and its outputs. Funding therefore shapes the information available to build evidence-based systems of service and support for and with people with disability. It is essential that research funding policies are considered in relation to broader disability policy goals and the research priorities of the disability community.

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