Section 2: About what DRILL will fund

This page is currently being updated and for information only.

What your project could be about


The subject you choose must:

  • Be about something that could help make it possible for more disabled people to experience independent living
  • Contribute towards meeting one or more of the Programme Outcomes
  • Be about enabling more disabled people to participate in
    • the economy, or
    • social and community life, or
    • civic and public life, or
    • something that cuts across all of these areas.
  • Enable disabled people to exercise more of their human rights
  • Reflect disabled people’s priorities – the things disabled people think are important.


Themes and outcomes

When we held the roadshows we asked disabled people about the themes for project proposals. They told us that as well as having themes it could make it clearer to talk about outcomes. These would describe the impact of the project – the improvement it would try to make happen.  For example, if worded as a theme you could say ‘Improving ways into employment for young disabled people’. If you did this, what would happen would be ‘More young disabled people can get a job’. That would be the outcome.

The engagement we undertook also showed that sometimes people might want to carry out projects which are about making positive changes to the lives of disabled individuals or groups. Sometimes people thought more in terms of improvements for society. For example, seen from the point of view of young disabled people, an outcome might be: ‘We have the support we need to get a job successfully’. The outcome for society might be: ‘The employment rate of young disabled people is increased’.  Both types of outcome are fine as outcomes for DRILL research and pilot projects.


DRILL projects must be about one of the following 4 themes:


  • Participating in the economy, or
  • Participating in the community and social life, or
  • Participating in civic and public life, or
  • Participating in anything!


More detail on each of these themes is available.  You can find this information in Annex 3.  Under each theme are some issues that disabled people at the roadshows told us are most important to them.


You will firstly need to tell us what theme your project falls under. Then you will need to define the outcome you want your project to have. This should be about one of the issues listed under the 4 themes, as these have been identified as priorities by disabled people. Or you could have a project outcome that is about something else to do with one of the four themes. If so, you will need to find another way of showing that the outcome for your project is a priority for disabled people, or perhaps a particular group of disabled people.


Who we mean by ‘disabled people’


All the projects DRILL funds must be about independent living for disabled people. We want to be inclusive of the full range of disabled people living with different impairments or long term health conditions.  This includes people who think of themselves as ‘disabled people’ because they are disabled by the barriers that society places in their way.  It also includes people who think of themselves in other ways, for example, living with a particular health condition of some kind such as cancer or dementia.


People who use British or Irish Sign Language might describe themselves as members of the Deaf community.  They might see themselves as being part of a cultural minority based on the language they use.  People might think of themselves as having a learning difficulty, or being a mental health service user or survivor, or choose other identities like these.  DRILL projects could be about independent living for any of these people.

The main thing is that we are looking for projects that have been developed in coproduction with people with lived experience of disability or long-term health conditions.  We want the DRILL programme to include a wide range of different experiences and perspectives.  We are keen for the projects overall to be inclusive of the diversity of people and experiences in the UK.


Your project could be about outcomes for all disabled people, or a particular group of disabled people.  A group could be defined by type of impairment, or other characteristics like age, ethnicity, faith, gender, etc. It might be defined by role or status like ‘parent,’ or ‘tenant’, or ‘refugee’. It might be defined by where disabled people are, for example living in remote or rural places, or in daycentres or special schools. Or it might be a mixture of these. For example your project might be about improving outcomes for ‘young disabled refugee women’, or ‘people with mental health conditions who live in remote, rural locations’, and so on.


Your project could be about the way policies impact on a particular group of disabled people. For example, this includes people being placed in institutions against their will, or disabled refugees and asylum seekers who can’t access information and support


Who can apply


The first thing to do is work out what your project will need and who can provide it. All projects will definitely need to involve disabled people with lived experience of the topic to be researched. All research projects will also all need to involve someone who has good experience of research. Pilot projects will need people with good experience of putting proposals into practice and evaluating what happens. You might decide to involve other people too – perhaps those responsible for the policy or practice that needs to change. Anyone can apply or be involved in a project partnership. This includes organisations in the voluntary sector, the public sector and the private or independent sector.


It is really important that the project is led by disabled people. Often this will be best done by a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) working in the partnership. These are also known as Disabled People’s User Led Organisations (DPULOs). These are organisations which work to, and advocate for the Social Model of Disability and Independent Living. Their governing documents should state that at least 51% of both the membership and management committee must self-define as being disabled. However, we will consider other arrangements and partnerships as well that can clearly demonstrate that the project will be led by disabled people and carried out in genuine coproduction with them. If there is no Disabled People’s Organisation involved we will look very carefully to check this.


How applications will be assessed


Applications for both research projects and pilot projects will be assessed according to how well they meet the following criteria.


Beneath is a list of criteria from criterion:


  • Finds out something new about promoting independent living
  • Finds solutions that will make an impact
  • Led by disabled people and coproduced in equal partnership with others
  • Robust and based on sound research methods
  • Ethically sound
  • Likely to increase the learning and capacity of everyone involved
  • Contributes to one or more of the 4 DRILL outcomes
  • Addresses equality and diversity
  • Value for money


There is more about what each of these mean and what we need you to tell us about them in Section 4.  That section is about filling in the application form.