Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub awarded £10m to widen access to assistive technology

The Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub has been awarded £10m from the Department for International Development (DfiD) to widen access to assistive technology for disabled people.

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

Dr Catherine Holloway, Academic Director of the GDI Hub and Senior Lecturer at UCLIC 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. 

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.

More information of the announcement can be found here.