Research Committee Meetings

The Disabilities Trust Research Committee meets on the second Tuesday of the month to review new project proposals and evaluate and advise on the implications for practice and future research that results from completed projects might have.

If you are a researcher planning to submit a proposal for review, please allow at least two weeks to get in touch with us. We will need to receive your application at the end of the month before the meeting.

Our research authorisation framework and application checklist give an overview of the areas that are covered in our reviews, The authorisation framework is available to download here, and the application checklist is available here.

The information on this page gives prospective researchers an overview of what conducting research within The Disabilities Trust might entail. Before making enquiries or submitting an application, please consider the following:

Approval Process

All research projects carried out in the Trust must be reviewed by our research committee. The committee meets every second Tuesday of the month, and we would encourage you to prepare to submit your application two weeks in advance. Depending on the type of project (audit, evaluation or research), review by the Health Research Authority (HRA) may also be required. This may include certain forms of single case studies. For more information on approvals, or to obtain an initial application form, please email

Advertising a project

We often receive requests from researchers to advertise their study to our stakeholders, staff and service users.

These projects need to be reviewed by our committee in advance. If you would like us to advertise your study please email to submit an application for review.

Recruiting volunteers

When planning your project and the time required to prepare your application, please consider the following:


  • All projects, including those which seek to recruit staff as participants, require review by the Trust.
  • Clearly state and justify the amount of staff’s time required in your study proposal.

Service users

  • Projects that seek to recruit service users, their family or informal carers as participants are likely to require Health Research Authority approval, and ethics review by other institutions (e. g. University) as well.
  • Consider the inclusion and exclusion criteria for your study and whether these are consistent with the clinical profile of people served.

Adults or children:

  • Physical disabilities: We provide support for adults with complex and high dependency needs. These specialist services support people with physical disabilities including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, arthritis, stroke, multiple sclerosis and disabilities resulting from accidents (e. g. spinal cord injury).
  • Autism: We provide a range of specialist education, housing and support services for people with autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities. Heathermount School provides education for children and young people aged 5-19 years old. All our other autism services are for those aged 18+. Many of the individuals we support have complex needs.
  • Brain injury: The annual outcome reports for our adult brain injury rehabilitation services detail the demographic and clinical characteristics of the people we serve

All service users:

- Have moderate to severe brain injury.

- Are in the post-acute stage of recovery (median time since injury ≃ 7 months).

Impact on care, treatment and service delivery:

  • All of the people in our services are engaged in active rehabilitation or support, thus the least time taken away from participation in their programme, the better. If your study protocol requires a lot of service users’ time, it may not be feasible for us to implement it in our services.

York House Service user Patricia posing with goggles that show visual impairment

  • In addition, many of the people we support may present with fatigue, lack of self-awareness or have communication difficulties. This should be considered when preparing materials and developing the study procedure. The content of the materials should take into account the stage of recovery of the potential volunteers. The risk of distress associated with approaching certain topics may be more significant in the client group you are hoping to recruit than in other populations (e.g. university students).
  • Researchers may be asked to reimburse services for any costs resulting from staff involvement, either as participants or to support service users taking part (for example, if a staff member were needed to accompany a service user throughout a study session, a replacement may be required to maintain the appropriate level of staffing).
  • If you are considering submitting an application, we encourage you to contact our research team as soon as possible. We will help you ensure that your study design is feasible to implement in our services.


The Disabilities Trust is not a grant giving institution. However, if you believe your study is in line with our areas of interest, we may be able to contribute to a collaborative project. Please note that researchers are responsible for all extra costs incurred by the Trust from hosting a research project, such as those arising from arranging cover staff.

Other research collaborations

If you have an idea that is consistent with the Disabilities Trust’s research priorities, and have taken into account this initial guidance, please email the Trust’s Research Fellow, Dr Sara da Silva Ramos, to discuss your plans.

For more information: