Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets or DREAM is a training network for early stage researchers stemming from the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network Funding Programme. The primary aim of DREAM is to professionally develop and educate the next generation of disability policy researchers and entrepreneurs to assist the EU and its Member States in their efforts to implement the UN CRPD at EU and Member State levels. This involves exploring options for European Union disability law and policy reform in light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)
The idea behind DREAM is premised on the insight that respecting disability rights is not only good in itself but helps create economic opportunities for over 60 million European citizens with disabilities and also expands markets for European business.
Fourteen Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) were recruited across the network on a full-time basis over three years starting on September 1st 2011 and are exploring and developing recommendations for European Union disability law and policy reform in light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
The ESRs are being hosted for three years by the Full Network Partners; the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Technosite (Spain), Maastricht University (Netherlands), University of Leeds (UK), NOVA Norwegian Social Research, the University of Iceland and Swiss Paraplegic Research
The ESRs are being provided with rigorous professional development skills to ensure that they can use their research knowledge and be attractive to potential employers in both the private and public sectors.
All of the researchers have also had the opportunity to gain invaluable and funded work experience with leading European civil society groups such as Interights (London), Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (Budapest), European Disability Forum (Brussels), European Network on Independent Living (UK), European Group of National Human Rights Institutions, Burton Blatt Institute in Syrcause University (USA), World Health Organization (Switzerland), DIGITALEUROPE (Belgium), International Labour Organisation (ILO, Switzerland), Fundamental Rights Organisation, (Austria), JAG (Sweden), Benetech (USA), Kanchi (Ireland) and G3ict (USA). This has helped sharpen their analysis and lead to policy recommendations that are well grounded in experience.
The EU Directorate General for Research, led by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has singled out the DREAM project as a success story which is profiled on its website