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Research & Innovation

Innovation is the key to better futures. That’s why we work with universities and other research partners to build knowledge, co-design and trial innovative technologies, and drive best practice in everything we do.


At Onemda, we believe that:

  • Every person has the ability to keep learning

  • Technology advances independence

  • Therapy enhances capacity

Our dedicated Research & Innovation Centre, established in 2019, brings those principles together to build knowledge, explore new possibilities and deliver real and measurable outcomes for those who attend Onemda programs and for the wider sector.

With a vision to ‘Open up worlds through innovation’, we have established relationships and partnerships with universities, research institutes, innovative developers and engineering companies, bringing our extensive service delivery experience and the lived experience of people with disabilities, their families and carers, together to innovate for the future.

Already, we have worked with our partners to co-design, develop, trial and expose their cutting-edge technologies and products which allow Onemda program participants to be engaged and exposed to the latest advances in therapy, assistive technology and evidence-based practice, all within a state-of-the-art facility.

Contact us for more information about the Centre and how you can be involved.

For more information, please contact us on 03 9842 1955 and ask to speak to our Research & Innovation Manager.


24-hour Posture Plans

Onemda has recently been awarded $20,000 from the Collier Charitable Fund to implement a 24-Posture Plan program for our participants with limited mobility.

People with limited mobility can over time develop severe distortions to the
symmetry of the shape of their body, which can have significant consequences for the person’s health and well-being.

This initiative is seeking to improve the physical wellbeing of our participants through posture care - which is a gentle intervention that helps protect body shape. 

As part of this program, we will be developing 24-hour Posture Plans for Onemda participants using evidence-based pressure mapping systems and creating individualised 24-posuture plans for our participants.


Breaking out of Silos - Collaborating for employment outcomes for youth with disabilities 

Onemda is working with partnership with Australian Catholic University to create early access to employment activities for students with disabilities in their final 3-years of school.

Early access to work opportunities and paid employment has been shown to help young people with disabilities transition successfully from school to employment.  Working closely with young people and their networks this project is linking students into the world of work and creating opportunities for students to gain employment.

The Breaking out of Silos project is rolling out in the following areas: Melbourne’s North, West & West and in regional areas – Ballarat & Bendigo.



Meet MatldaResearch and innovation image

Matlda is a social robot developed by researchers at RECCSI, LaTrobe University, together with NEC Japan and Human Centred innovations (HCI).

Onemda is partnering with Matlda’s developers to research how this innovative technology can be used to provide specific support to assist people living with an intellectual disability. Already, the robot has been reading stories, coordinating bingo and teaching cooking to some program participants, and we’re continually liaising with the developers to make the software more client-focused.

For more information on our research program, please contact us.



Co-designed Evaluation 

In partnership with University of Technology Sydney, Onemda has been working on building "a customised, co-designed evaluation framework to improve outcomes for people with disabilites, and their families and carers.

The expertise of people with disability, carers/ families, service providers, advocacy groups and health researchers has been pivotal to shaping our co-designed framework.

Onemda has recently completed a proof-of-concept trial using the framework and is working with UTS to embed findings into the co-designed toolkit we are developing for disability services.



Steps to Employment

Onemda’s STEPS to Employment program was developed to:

  • Reduce the current time lag experienced by students with ID from leaving school to finding and securing ongoing employment.
  • Develop a unique model to teach and embed employability skills and early access to job markets for young people with an intellectual disability, utilizing a collaborative approach.

As part of Onemda’s STEPS to Employment Program we:

  • Developed a robust framework for STEPS to Employment delivery which includes curriculum based on up-to-date research, tools and resources for educators and students.
  • Continue to deliver workshops with students and young people teaching the 8 essential employability skills they need to gain and keep a job.
  • Work with schools, young people, Specialist Disability Employment Providers to get more students employed in part-time or casual work.

Onemda’s STEPS Program is currently delivered at our Pathways to Employment Campuses.


For more information, please contact us on 03 9842 1955 and ask to speak to our Research & Innovation Manager.