Our Research Priorities

We aim to deliver research excellence and outcomes that improve the lives of people living with disability and chronic conditions. We determine our research focus by collaborating closely with individuals who have personal and professional experience with disabilities, known as PLEx. This group includes not only individuals with disabilities but also their whānau (family), friends, clinicians, and support workers. By listening to their real-life experiences, we ensure our research addresses their most pressing needs and challenges.

In 2018 members of the Burwood Academy Consumer (BAC) Network were invited to a consumer forum to update our research priorities. The forum was recorded and transcribed. We analysed the data using thematic analysis to identify the important research themes. To make sure these research themes were representative of the wider community, we sent a survey to disability organisations to circulate to their members. Fifty-six people participated in a survey to rank the priority level of these areas. Results were collated and reviewed by the BAC Network.

The final result was four main research priorities with sub themes as research imperatives.


Living Well after Serious Injury and Remaining Healthy

  • Preventing and managing secondary complications
  • Aging
  • Medications and alternatives
  • Education and refresher courses

Engaging Rehabilitation – Placing ownership of rehabilitation in the hands of the person and their family

  • Relationships (between consumers and health professionals)
  • Rehabilitation Journey
  • Peer support
  • Hope

Maximising Participation

  • Equipment
  • Employment
  • Travel (ease of access to air travel)
  • Activities and skills (managing in the outdoors)


Creating an Enabling Society

  • Support workers – skill, consistency and reliability
  • Community Access
  • Social Isolation
  • Government legislation – having a voice and informing decisions
  • Advocacy based on evidence and influence on societal attitude

Our role is to integrate and transform research plans into actionable programs and policies, ensuring they align with validated priorities. By doing so, we contribute to building a more equitable community.