Four disability charities have been awarded a £5m grant from the Big Lottery Fund to examine the challenges facing disabled people in the UK.
The BLF announced today that it had awarded the grant over the next five years to a bid led by Disability Action Northern Ireland, working with Disability Rights UK, Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland.
The project, which will be called Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning, will look at the extent to which disabled people are able to live independently and will gather their opinions on what changes could be made.
The funder ran an open bidding process for the grant last year.
A statement from the BLF about the project said that prejudices and a predominantly medical view of disability could lead to negative attitudes towards disabled people who wanted to start families or were trying to find work.
One of the consequences of this was that disabled people earned less and were more likely to end up living in poverty, the BLF said.
"With this in mind, the new research will aim to build on existing knowledge and develop evidence from disabled people on the issues they face, to help influence and inform policy and practice and provide greater opportunities for disabled people to live independently while challenging negative perceptions about disability," the BLF said.
"The research findings will include ideas from disabled people about how they believe change might be brought about."
The findings will be used to develop pilot projects designed to shape future policy and improve the lives of disabled people.
Kevin Doherty, chief executive of Disability Action Northern Ireland, said: "We’re delighted to secure this funding. It’s a massive opportunity for disabled people to tackle issues that affect them in their day-to-day living and I am proud that Disability Action Northern Ireland and our partners in the UK will deliver on the project."