Development & Alumni Relations Office 


 01 December 2016


Queen’s University, Dementia NI and Ulster University have been awarded £37,765 as part of a £5m programme on independent living for disabled people.


The project will seek to inform and influence decisions made about the Dementia NI service. It is one of the first to be awarded funding from the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a five-year scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.


The project will be co-produced with people with dementia who will be working alongside academics and policy makers. Paul Best from Queen’s School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work said: “The research team at Queen's are looking forward to working with Dementia NI on this DRILL funded project. We hope this collaboration will lead to a new understanding of 'empowerment' in relation to services for those diagnosed with Dementia.”

Alan Sheeran, Chair of the DRILL Northern Ireland National Advisory Group, said: “I am very pleased to see money on the ground being used to do real academic research on disability in Northern Ireland. I am particularly happy that the Dementia Northern Ireland is one of the first projects here to be funded by DRILL.

“Most importantly disabled people have to be involved in making the decision to fund this project, and will also be involved in designing and coproducing the research.”


Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, added: “We are delighted to see this grant being awarded to Queen’s University Belfast as part of the DRILL programme. We know the issue of dementia is affecting more and more people and we are looking forward to hearing about the outcomes of this important piece of research.”


Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Rights UK and Disability Wales. 

DRILL is expecting to fund up to 40 research pilots and projects over a 5-year period, all led by disabled people. Around £600,000 will be allocated in the next round of applications from across the UK. An announcement is due in February 2017. Further calls for potential projects will be made between 2017 and 2019.


Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke (Mon-Wed) or Michelle Cassidy (Thurs-Fri) at Queen’s Communications Office telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5310.

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