The aim of ENIL’s Independent Living Research Network (ILRN) is to facilitate communication and development of joint initiatives among researchers who focus in their work on Independent Living (IL) and kindred topics such as deinstitutionalisation, personal assistance, Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and others.

Background: Research on IL has been mounting over the last forty years, following the pioneering efforts of IL campaigners and activists in the United States and Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Since its inception in 1989, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) has also been involved in research on IL to support its mission to advocate for IL. However, so far, IL-related research initiatives with international scope and significance have mostly been carried out in isolation, driven by the efforts of individual campaigners, researchers and/or research institutes. ILRN helps overcome this fragmentation by devising a structured effort at facilitation of international and cross-sectoral collaborations on IL-related research.

Scope: ILRN includes researchers from Europe and other parts of the world who focus in their work on IL and kindred topics. ILRN welcomes disabled and non-disabled members working independently or within civil society organisations, international organisations, academic institutions, think tanks and government agencies.

Benefits for the IL Movement: ILRN facilitates international and cross-sectoral collaborations on IL-related research that could potentially strengthen the advocacy for IL in Europe and in other parts of the world. Moreover, by developing the interface between research and campaigning, ILRN brings IL-related research closer to the actual needs and strategic priorities of IL campaigners, while also enhancing the impact of IL-related research on national and international campaigning and policy-making.

Benefits for ENIL: ILRN provides a platform on which to develop and expand ENIL’s existing research strengths and links; to shape ENIL’s research identity; and to build ENIL’s reputation as a world-leading hub of expertise on IL. In addition, ILRN enhances ENIL’s capacity to develop international collaborations with strong research components that could potentially feed into viable funding bids.

Benefits for members: ILRN enables its members to have up-to-date information about IL-related research (including civil society reports and academic papers); to acquaint themselves with other researchers’ current work, interests, and projects; and to disseminate their own work to a wider audience including IL researchers, campaigners and policy-makers. In addition, ILRN provides researchers with access to international collaborations that could feed into viable cross-sectoral funding bids.

Existing resources: ENIL has already developed several elements of its ILRN, including a database of researchers engaged in IL-related research and an IL Reading List.

IL Reading List: The reading list contains civil society reports and academic papers on IL and kindred topics including: IL movement, philosophy and policy; deinstitutionalisation; personal assistance and direct payments; austerity; the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD); and Article 19 of the UN CRPD. Where possible, the items in the list are linked to full texts through hyperlinks. The list also includes references to research institutes, online libraries and resource repositories engaged with IL-related research. It is a work in progress and will be updated on an ongoing basis because the field of IL-related research is already vast and quickly expanding. To access the IL Reading List, please click here.

ILRN Database: The database includes information about ILRN members’ affiliations, areas of expertise/interest, publications, and email contacts. The database has already facilitated research networking, including collaboration between ENIL and researchers based in different organisations and institutes across Europe on the development of funding bids, fellowship applications, and presentation of IL-related research at international events. To access the ILRN Database (list of members), please click here.

Sign Up: If you are a researcher (at a university, a DPO or freelance) and would like to become a member of the ILRN, please fill in our membership questionnaire.

Contact person: Teodor Mladenov,