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About


Formed in 2003, the Unit for Development in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (UDIDD) mission is to work in partnership to enhance quality of life and quality of service provision for people with intellectual disabilities and their families and carers. We do this via an integrated programme of intellectual disability research, education and practice that includes a focus on end of life care (Professor Stuart Todd); safeguarding and participatory research.

Our aims

  • To develop and maintain a programme of inter-disciplinary research, education and practice development which is planned and delivered in collaboration with people with intellectual disabilities and their families and carers.

  • To develop and maintain a programme of inter-disciplinary research, education and practice development which is planned and delivered in collaboration with service providers.

  • To develop research capacity relating to intellectual disabilities both within and external to the University of South Wales.

  • To sustain a national and international reputation as a centre of excellence in intellectual disability research, education and practice development.

Collaboration and contribution to the research base, economy and society

We collaborate locally, nationally and internationally with partners from industry and academia to provide world-leading knowledge and impact, and have strong relationships with a range of stakeholders/key research users. 

The unit has an excellent track record of engaging and working closely with NHS and other external partners, including Hwyel Dda, Swansea Bay, Powys and Aneurin Bevan University Healthboards, as well as Welsh Government, Improvement CymruMencap CymruMacmillan CymruHijinx TheatrePaul Ridd Foundation and others.

Members are regular expert reviewers for a wide range of peer review journals and funding bodies. Most have positions on journal editorial boards, including Professor Stuart Todd (Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research), and Professor Ruth Northway (member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Clinical Nursing; Member of the Editorial Board for Nurse Researcher; Co-chair of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) Ethics Special Interest Group). See our current research >>

Impact of our research

Professor Northway and Dr Edward Oloidi recently worked with Welsh Government to scope current learning disability research in Wales that can inform implementation of the Improving Lives programme and to identify priorities for future research.

Professor Ruth Northway’s research relating to safeguarding adults with learning disabilities has been used to underpin CPD activities with local health boards. It has also been utilised to develop the second edition of the text book Safeguarding Adults in Nursing Practice (Northway and Jenkins) which remains the only text book dedicated to this specific topic and which has sold both within the UK and internationally. 

The participatory research study Looking into Abuse (Northway et al, 2013) has been cited as an example of co-production in action in the European Commission (2018) Technical Dossier Number 4 ‘Co-Production. Enhancing the role of citizens in governance and service delivery’. 

Northway’s research in learning disabilities underpins not only the learning disability nursing curriculum but also wider teaching in relation to nursing and midwifery.