Professor Keith McVilly has been appointed to the Professorial Fellowship in Disability and Social Inclusion, in a partnership between Scope and The University of Melbourne.

As part of his role, Professor McVilly will lead and direct Scope’s research agenda, oversee existing and new research programs, and continue to work with the disability sector more broadly.

Professor McVilly’s appointment further establishes Scope’s position as a trusted and leading voice in the area of research to create long term practical benefits for people with disability.

Scope Chief Executive Officer Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald says, “Scope’s research program is aimed at improving the lives of individuals living with disabilities and the promotion of programs that empower people. Scope’s approach has always been evidence-based and our commitment to continuous improvement and research led us to collaborate with the University of Melbourne.”

Professor Adrian Little, Head of the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne said, “The university views the position of Professorial Fellow in Disability & Social Inclusion as an important means of the academic sector making a contribution to the inclusion of people with disability in our community, and harnessing research to inform national initiatives such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”

Professor McVilly has the benefit of both academic and practical experience to undertake this innovative role. His primary area of expertise is in Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Acquired Brain Injury, and forensic disability.

He has built this expertise working as a direct support worker with people with disability, a clinician and service manager, in public health services and in private practice, as well as in the university sector in Australia, the UK and USA.

Working across the sector, with people with disability, community agencies and government, Professor McVilly will drive the development, funding and delivery of strategic research to influence policy, raise awareness of disability, and create practical outcomes for people with disabilities, their families and those providing support services.

Professor McVilly said, “I am honoured to be appointed the Scope Professorial Fellow in Disability and Social Inclusion and I look forward to building on Scope’s vision to foster a more inclusive society.

“In taking up this new position, I have a particular interest in bridging the gap between research, policy and practice, especially as Australia embraces the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); and in realising Bent Nirje’s vision of a society where all people are free to be themselves among others.”

As well as his role at Scope, Professor McVilly will lead the University-wide Disability Research Initiative, one of the University’s Hallmark Research Initiatives, and teach into the Masters of Social Policy within the Faculty of Arts and overseeing engagement activities.

The initiative is being developed through a number of the University’s interdisciplinary research institutes – the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute in conjunction with the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute and the Melbourne Networked Society Institute.

Prior to the appointment, Professor McVilly was a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University. He has also worked at RMIT University, the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Studies, in the UK at the University of Wales’ Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities, and in the USA at the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Centre on Community Living.