SP 1: Research, Evidence and Impact

Led by GDI Hub at UCL. Framing the economics of AT around a mission-led approach; developing a return on investment framework and researching what works to overcome stigma as well as focusing on the support to the development of the Global Report on Assistive Technology, evidence of local production systems for AT in LMICs, the exploration of early child mobility in LMIC and the development of a series of virtual live labs. Partners include: IIPP, All Institute, Leonard Cheshire Disability, WHO, ISPO, LSHTM, CBM International, GAATO

A group of participants standing next to a chart with sticky notes and handwriting describing uses of various Assisive Technologies

Credits: Angus Stewart


In 2020, a new strand of humanitarian research was incorporated into this sub-programme intended to:

  • Improve understanding of the need for AT in humanitarian settings
  • Compile evidence of current provision and practice across a variety of humanitarian contexts
  • Provide case study examples of ‘what works’
  • Provide recommendations for action by key stakeholders, particularly global humanitarian coordination bodies and actors
  • Disseminate findings through working papers and conference attendance


  • AT2030 research summaries Cover Image

    Characterising mobile phone inclusion among Assistive Technology users

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, SLURC
    Nov. 9, 2023
    Indonesia, Sierra Leone

    This research summary provides key highlights and snapshot content from a major research study on the characterising mobile phone inclusion among Assistive technology users.

  • AI Cover Image

    Empowering Inclusion: The Intersection of Assistive Technology and Artificial Intelligence

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Oct. 27, 2023

    Assistive Technology (AT) has long been a pioneering force in the development of emerging technologies. From audio-books to text-to-speech software, the world of disability has driven innovation that eventually became mainstream. Likewise, as mainstream technologies become more accessible and inclusive, they play a critical role in enhancing the lives of disabled individuals. In this blog post, we explore the symbiotic relationship between assistive technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and the potential benefits, challenges, and ethical considerations that arise at this intersection.

  • A group photo during the engineering talents awards Cover Image

    Celebrating Excellence: Winners Announced at the 2023 Engineering Talent Awards!

    Sept. 13, 2023
    United Kingdom

    The UCL Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub won Innovation of the Year for the development of a new, refreshable tactile technology Tacilia. The team aimed to allow children who are blind or have partial sight to be better able to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) education.

  • Repair strategies for assistive technology in low resource settings

    Catherine Holloway, Julian Walker, Dr Ben Oldfrey, Mark Miodownik, Laurence Kenney, Robert Tamale Ssekitoleko, Steven McCormack, Bernadette Deere, Helen Ackers
    July 25, 2023

    This paper focuses on the local repair of assistive products in low resource environments. We review the existing literature on the repair of assistive products in low resource settings, and briefly discuss the “Right to Repair” movement.

  • An Image of Varanasi India Cover Image

    UCL and Indian partners to drive disability innovation through assistive technology

    July 13, 2023

    The Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) at UCL has announced a new collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology to support disability inclusion. The academic research and practice centre, based at UCL East, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with colleagues from the Assistech Lab at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) and R2D2 lab at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). As leaders in assistive technology (AT) research, the organisations plan to jointly deliver a collaborative AT Accelerator Program, an AT Innovation Portal, and an AT Academic Innovation Partnership to drive knowledge across different markets.


Headshot of Giulia smiling

Dr Giulia Barbareschi

Researcher in assistive technology
Catherine Holloway

Catherine Holloway

Co-founder, Academic Director of GDI Hub and Associate Professor at UCL’s Interaction Centre.
Maria Kett smiling

Dr Maria Kett

Co-Founder of GDI Hub, Associate Director and Head of Humanitarian and Associate Professor at UCL