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Experts Bench: Lived Experience

About the Experts Bench: Lived Experience

Register to join the Experts Bench

GDI Hub works 5 thematic areas: Assistive and Accessible Technology (AT), Inclusive Design, Inclusive Education Technology, Inclusive Climate, Crisis Resilience and Cultural Participation. We are guided by an Advisory Board made up of disabled people, with representatives from three continents.

Co-design is central to our research, innovation accelerators, global programmes and teaching. We drive new thinking together, building innovative solutions that are inclusive, accessible and better than before. Through working alongside the people most affected by these issues, we can forge the best solutions, for everyone.

We are often asked about mechanisms to further engage with our work and how to get involved in the co-design process. To facilitate this, we’ve established the GDI Hub Expert Bench: Lived Experience

Driving disability innovation impact

For people with specific experience of disability or living with an impairment or health condition - who wish to provide expert insights and reflections to drive disability innovation impact. We welcome experts from across the world.

The Lived Experience Experts may be called upon to provide knowledge or experiences for specific research activities or pieces of work within the remit of GDI Hub's areas of work. Opportunities of relevance will be shared with the experts bench and members can choose to engage in the projects proposed, based on the parameters of each project.

Opportunities will vary, and may include:

  • Mentorship or engaging with student projects to support an aspiring disability innovation pioneer at the early stages of their career.
  • Product development and testing to support innovators or researchers in the concept generation or refinement of an idea
  • Research contributions to help further the understanding or impact of Assistive Tech, policy, programmes or environments
  • Challenge setting to identify areas of opportunity for the development of new products or technologies, or looking for new solutions

Complete our short registration form to join.


Each opportunity will vary, dependent on the scope of the individual ask. The time commitment and parameters of each project will be clearly outlined, along with the nature of any remuneration. Opportunities presented to the bench will range from volunteer-based, to cost-covering, and paid engagements. There will be both in-person and digital opportunities. Full details will be provided against each request.

Some opportunities may be available only to specific demographics. Please note that this is reflective of the research question or specific study. In some cases, projects may sit alongside wider learning engagement opportunities.

How does this relate to ‘Expert Bench: Disability Innovation’

Our Expert Bench: Disability Innovation is the primary mechanism to find out about recruitment opportunities and contract resourcing. It is intended for those who work, study, research or innovate within AT, Inclusive Design, EdTech, HCI, Engineering, Product Design, CS, Development, Healthcare, Humanitarian. You may wish to sign up to both options if your experience and interest sits within both categories.

Opportunity #1: supporting aspiring disability innovation pioneers (MSc level) with Masterclass Training provided

  • Time commitment: 6 hours of Masterclass training (online). 4 hours of co-creation (online or in person).
  • Parameters: Global and local. Our aim is to have some experts based locally (East London) and some based globally.
  • Remuneration: Travel expenses will be available for those living in the boroughs surrounding our UCL East campus (the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham).
  • Dates: Masterclasses will be delivered online from mid-October to November 2022 (x4, 90-minute sessions). The session will be recorded and can be attended live, or watched via catch up. Co-creation will take place from November 2022, timings will be flexible.
  • Register: to join this opportunity

A one-of-a-kind opportunity integrated with our Disability, Design, and Innovation MSc. Expert Bench members will provide invaluable insights and perspective – supporting the next generation of pioneers within the disability innovation field.

Alongside the Future Global Technology for Disability and Development Module of our MSc programme, Expert Bench members will work alongside student groups to showcase the critical importance of co-design in the product development process.

Expert Bench members will receive training as part of a new and unique masterclass to upskill in the processes of design and development.

This opportunity includes:

  1. Masterclass to upskill in the processes of design and development – with the aim of building a knowledge base around how to bring future global technologies to market. The Masterclass will act as a mechanism to bridge experiences, enabling Expert Bench members to maximise input through up-skilling in the product design process. The Masterclass is designed to develop innovation skills, creativity and designers’ spirit. No previous experience of product development or design is required.
  1. Mentorship, knowledge sharing, and co-creation alongside student groups – to drive improved design and build a foundation of collaboration and co-design for future pioneers in the Disability Innovation space.

The Masterclass is a theoretical introduction to design, disability and assistive technology, contemporary and future technologies, prototyping, and the design process. Four online lectures will be delivered by experts from the Global Disability Innovation Hub and its partners (one a week for 90 minutes over the course of four weeks, recordings will be available – expert bench members can catch up if they are unable to attend live). Lectures will be supplemented with prior readings and post-lecture exercises.

After the core lecture components, participants of the Masterclass will be introduced to a group of students from the Disability Design and Innovation master’s program, and provided with a practical assistive technology design challenge to solve collaboratively.

The co-design activities will be conducted over a 3-week period. The final conceptual solutions will be presented to the cohort of MSc students, stakeholders of the case studies, and a panel of experts that will assess the team’s work. This will mark the end of the masterclass.

After the masterclass, the participants will continue to be members of the Experts Bench Experience and invited to contribute to future research, innovation, and community building, which could include hackathons, workshops, advocacy, communication, narrative writing, and community leadership.

Why the Masterclass matters

In order to develop appropriate assistive and inclusive technologies, it is important to have a variety of voices, especially those who have a lived experience of using the products or of the frustrations of not having access to products and services. Users are key to identifying problems, proposing solutions, and developing solutions.

In addition, the GDI Hub Masterclass aims to make the process of design more inclusive, and in doing this, we believe more good ideas will develop further. The key is having people who understand not only disability and the frustrations of poorly designed technology but also the language and processes of design and development – so insights can be maximised within a co-creation environment. ]

Register to join this opportunity with the GDI Hub Experts Bench

Please note

As opportunities arise we will reach out to Expert Bench members with details. Joining our Experts Bench does not require any initial commitment or minimum engagement - we understand different opportunities will appeal to different audiences. We'll always provide the parameters and leave you to decide.


Global. We welcome members from all corners of the world. Some opportunities may be location specific, other will be remote opportunities.

Join Experts Bench: Lived Experience

Complete our short registration form and we'll be in touch with opportunities.

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