Professor Sally Robinson

Professor in Disability and Community Inclusion

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

place Sturt South (S272)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Focused on opportunities and barriers to inclusive lives for people with disability, my work takes an interdisciplinary and collaborative focus to resolving key social policy concerns such as safety and abuse, wellbeing, participation and funding and organisation of community services.

Most of my work has been co-produced with people with disability, and generated from their priorities. This has taken us into very interesting and important territory – relationships, violence, loneliness, belonging, quality of support – and also translated into new approaches to research and evaluation for government and NGOs.

As my work has become more focused on generating impact in policy and practice, this priority has become even more important. As our teams have been able to develop ARC and other longer in-depth evaluative research projects which include colleagues with cognitive disabiltiy, we are seeing the results shaping policy, informing data analysis and framing theoretical discussions in increasingly rigorous ways.


2010   PhD, Griffith University Disability studies - emotional and psychological abuse of people with intellectual disability living in disability services

2010   Postgraduate Certificate in Research Management, Southern Cross University

2001   Master of Policy and Applied Social Research, Macquarie University

1995   Master of Arts (Education - Rehabilitation), Macquarie University

1990   Bachelor of Arts, Sydney University

Honours, awards and grants


2019-2021 Beyond safety: ethical research involving children. ARC Discovery DP180100465

2016-2019 Relationships and Recognition: young people with cognitive disability and their paid support workers. ARC Linkage LP150100013)

2018-2019 Building safe and respectful cultures in disability services. Victorian Disability Services Commission

2017-2019 Violence prevention and early intervention for mothers and children with disability: building promising practice. ANROWS

2016-2018 Preventing abuse and promoting personal safety of young people with disability. National Disability Research Working Group.

2015-2017 Feeling safe, being safe: personal safety of children with disability and high support needs. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

2015  Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence: Early and Mid-Career Research (SCU)

2015  Research (Society) Impact Award, UNSW Dean’s Research Awards (UNSW)

2013  Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence: Community Engaged Research (SCU)

Key responsibilities

In my role as Professor of Disability and Community Inclusion, I am focused on building our collective research capacity and ability to collaborate well, and promoting the work that is already happening here but perhaps not well known. In my research program I coordinate multiple projects, focused on the development of innovative interdisciplinary research which privilege the participation of people with disability, and draw together conceptual interests around inclusion, belonging and safety. I also have a part to play in leading our teaching programs and building the higher degree research program.

I am also the Better Communities theme lead for the new Caring Futures Research Institute. In addition to fostering and supporting research which builds social inclusion and challenges marginalisation, the new Institute has a key role in building collaboration. For that to have meaning and impact, we need to not only promote the great work that is already happening, but to build a range of relationships and ways of contributing to each other’s work within and across academic and community spaces.

Teaching interests

I am focused on developing evidence-informed learning for students at a range of levels which supports practice in their different contexts, and is enhanced by current research. 

My teaching interests are in the intersections of the individual, systemic and structural forces that impact on the lives of people with disability. These can be seen in different ways across many different subject areas - for example, in the provision of daily support, in ethics, in better understanding quality, and in the prevention of harm.

Topic coordinator
DSRS9052 Service design and evaluation
Supervisory interests
Disability Ethics
Disability and policy
Disability, qualitative research
Family violence
Social exclusion
Higher degree by research supervision
Associate supervisor: Disability (2)
Expert for media contact
Diversity and Inclusion
Available for contact via
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+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Disability
  • Diversity and Inclusion

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