Dr Rillotta says participants and supporters of the program know its positive impacts, but without empirical research evidence to inform this belief, the program would remain small in scope.
With her Early Career Research seed funding, Dr Rillotta was able to employ Up the Hill graduate Tim Adam as co-researcher, to help create and publish accessible research summaries of key areas of the program.
The outcomes of this research have been even greater than Dr Rillotta and Mr Adam expected, including high journal rankings that will help develop their research careers, access to national funding to expand the research, and the development of the Up the Hill Project.
“We’re now re-designing the Up the Hill program based on some of the research findings, including enabling participants to work towards a university qualification rather than simply a certificate of completion,” says Dr Rillotta.
This change means school leavers with intellectual disability could transition to university just like their peers. Flinders will be the first university in Australia to offer this.
Without donor support this research, and the increased opportunities for people living with intellectual disability, may not be possible, along with the career advancement that both Dr Rillotta and Mr Adam have now achieved.
“This seed funding gave me the opportunity to collaborate with others, build a track record, produce results that will impact the community, and gain even more funding opportunities that hope to support policy change on a national level,” says Dr Rillotta.
Please donate to the Early Career Research fund to help more brave minds like Dr Rillotta to pursue research that transforms lives and improves our community.
This year, Flinders will match every donation to the Early Career Research fund, up to a total of $40,000.
This means your donation to support the valuable research by early career researchers will be doubled - creating even more opportunities for our emerging researchers and impact for our community.