President Visit and the MoU in Disability

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell warmly welcomed his excellency Mr Ram Nath Kovind, President of the Republic of India, to the University on Friday afternoon.

The Nossal Institute has been developing a productive collaboration with the Department of Empowerment of People with Disability, in India.  The latest step in this relationship was the signing of the MoU in disability which the President of India oversaw during his visit to Australia.

President Kovind was at the University to deliver a lecture titled ‘Australia and India as knowledge partners’.  The Vice Chancellor, Professor Maskell, in a press statement  said that the “University of Melbourne’s engagement strategy with India will continue to focus on students as well as research in the coming years”.  One area of research in India that the Nossal has been spearheading is around disability in India and during President’s Kovind’s visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Australia and India to promote cooperation in the field of disability.  The Nossal has been closely involved in developing the MoU and the content will allow us to progress a number of disability research projects with our Indian partners.

One project involves the University of Melbourne Nossal and Melbourne’s Disability Institute working with the Department of Empowerment of People with Disability (India) to co-design a course to promote community disability inclusion.   Professor Maskell said about this project “The project will draw on the expertise of community-based rehabilitation workers in India, and the University of Melbourne’s Disability Institute and Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences, to develop a course to train community disability inclusion workers in India”.

Another project under the MoU is developing an economic case for investment in disability in India.  Prof Bruce Bonyhady under the Melbourne Disability Institute and the Nossal Institute are working with the Dept of Empowerment of People with Disability in Delhi to undertake modelling around investment in disability in India.  This is a similar approach that Bruce led when establishing the NDIS.  We are therefore using high level Australian expertise, and our world first NDIS, to work with India to produce evidence to support India in their disability response.

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A/Prof Nathan Grills