UD Organisations

Organisations in Ireland

Centre for Excellence in Universal Design

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) is part of the National Disability Authority in Ireland. The CEUD is dedicated to the principle of universal access, enabling people in Ireland to participate in a society that takes account of human difference and to interact with their environment to the best of their ability. Universal Design is the methodology that endeavours to achieve this goal.


The CEUD aims to support the achievement of excellence in Universal Design in Ireland. This includes contributing to the development and promotion of standards, working with the relevant bodies to ensure Universal Design is built into training and education for the appropriate professions, and promoting awareness and understanding of Universal Design in Ireland.

Centre for Inclusive Technology

The NCBI Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT) is part of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). Its role is to help work towards an Information Society that is accessible to all. CFIT's objective is to ensure that ICT-based products and services in Ireland are designed to be accessible to the widest audience, including older people and people with disabilities.


CFIT promotes ICT accessibility and the correct use of appropriate technologies, including campaigning to ensure the accessibility of specific products or services and the adoption of appropriate standards through legislation and public policy. The Centre provides practical help to organisations wishing to develop or implement accessible solutions. It also carries out education and research activities.

Institute for Design and Disability

The Institute for Design and Disability (IDD) was established as a registered charity in 1991 following the European Conference on Design for Disability held in Dublin in 1989. The objective of the IDD is to promote the inclusion in society of people with disabilities through the exercise of good design. It has a membership of architects, designers, rehabilitation professionals and people with disabilities.


IDD provides public seminars to inform Local Authorities, people with disabilities and the media of the meaning of Universal Design and the value of creating inclusion for people with disabilities in the wider community. The Institute also produces a newsletter and provides training services.

Organisations Outside of Ireland - Europe

Germany: Universal Design E.V

Universal design e.V.Was founded by a range of stakeholders involved in design research, design management and industrial design in partnership with the iF International Forum Design GmbH.


The association's goals include the staging of conferences, exhibitions and special displays at tradeshows as well as presentations around the world on the topic of universal design. The associations coordinated the "universal design award".

Norway: The Delta Centre

The work of the Delta Centre concerns how the use of assistive technology and adaptation of the environment together yields a better standard of living for persons with disabilities. Their vision is participation and accessibility for all. The objective is that disabled people should have the same opportunities as others to participate in an active way in society.


The Delta Centre conduct developmental activities as basis for counselling and information. We initiate research and development projects to compile data and develop expertise. Main activities include gathering and disseminating knowledge on what yields or prevents accessibility for persons with disabilities. They co-operate with professional bodies, user organisations, research institutes and private enterprises.

Sweden: Handisam

Handisam - the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Co-ordination - helps to remove the obstacles which people with disabilities are still encountering in the community. Handisam aims to speed progress towards a society in which everyone can participate on equal terms, regardless of functional capacity.


As a part of Swedish disability policy, Handisam has two paramount tasks: co-ordination and acceleration.The co-ordinating role includes, for example, supporting the sectoral authorities tasked with implementing the national plan for disability policy. Work on the action plan is followed up and evaluated. Handisam is the Government's staff and expert authority.

The accelerating role means, among other things, developing knowledge concerning accessibility in the community and in particular ensuring that the public sector sets a good example. Handisam has issued Guidelines for an Accessible Government Service in which national authorities can study ways of making information, facilities and activities accessible to all. Local and regional authorities, business enterprise and organisations must also be encouraged to adopt a working approach incorporating the modern disability perspective.


The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), established in 1999, aims to influence and inspire the people making decisions about the built environment, so that they choose good design.


CABE champions well-designed buildings and public space; runs public campaigns; and provides practical advice. Working directly with planners, designers, clients and architects, CABE offers guidance on projects.

Centre for Accessible Environments

A registered charity, the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE) provides expertise on inclusive design and access to the built environment for disabled and older people.


As an information provider and resource, CAE services and activities include access consultancy work, publications, a national helpline, training courses, and sponsorship of the RIBA Inclusive Design Award.


OPENspace, the research centre for inclusive access to outdoor environments, is based in Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art and the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University. The Centre is concerned with practical guidance on accessible environments for planners, designers and managers, working in partnership with professionals and community groups to bridge academia and practice.



  • Offer expertise in fundamental and applied research to support policy and practice.
  • Undertake scoping studies, systematic and critical reviews of research literature, mapping of research coverage and development of searchable databases, all of which can contribute to developing new research agenda.
  • Undertake original, empirical research using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, and develop and test models founded on sound theoretical bases.
  • Have experience of a range of techniques for engaging end-users as participants in research, empowering relevant communities as contributors to the research ageNDA as well as the research outcomes.
  • Have expertise in graphic, mapping and visual techniques for exploring and presenting experience of the environment.
  • Have experience in facilitating seminars, running workshops and writing readable reports in order to disseminate research effectively to different user groups.

Helen Hamlyn Research Centre

The Royal College of Art (RCA) Helen Hamlyn Centre provides a focus for people-centred design and innovation at the RCA in London. The Centre's programmes look at how a people-centred and socially inclusive approach to design can support independent living and working for ageing and diverse populations, improved standards of healthcare and patient safety, and a flow of innovative ideas for business.


A multi-disciplinary team of designers, engineers, architects and anthropologists undertake practical research and projects with industry. The Centre works with four design communities - students, new graduates, professional designers and academics - in response to the commitment in the Royal College of Art's Charter to 'advance learning, knowledge and professional competence' in relation to 'social developments'.

Organisations Outside of Ireland - Asia

Japan: International Association for Universal Design (IAUD)

IAUD seeks for further progress Universal Design, to promote a comfortable living environment, and to lead Japan in disseminating information on Universal Design to the world. Through products and services, IAUD promotes the establishment of a society in which people can live comfortably.


IAUD works with central and local governments to implement measures for preparing the infrastructures necessary to realize Universal Design; works with members (firms, organizations and individuals) to actively promote the use of Universally Designed products and services; and works with members (consumers) to encourage responsibility in their selection of products and services.

Organisations Outside of Ireland - North America

USA: Adaptive Environments

Adaptive Environments (AE) is an international non-profit organization committed to advancing the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities. AE's work balances expertise in legally required accessibility with promotion of best practices in human-centered or universal design.


AE has hosted or co-hosted five international conferences, as well as international student design competitions, smaller regional meetings and publication of web and print materials.

CAST Centre for Universal Design for Learning

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) develops technology-based educational resources and strategies based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning. CAST staff includes specialists in education research and policy, neuropsychology, clinical/school psychology, technology, engineering, curriculum development, K-12 professional development, and more. Involved in defining Universal Design for Learning and exploring its practical applications, CAST aims to push the boundaries of education research, practice, and policymaking.


CAST Activities include software development; leadership of federally funded initiatives to develop and promote a National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS); and provision of support for school teachers and administrators through professional development, consultation, publications, and online resources.

Center for Universal Design, College of Design, North Carolina State University

The Center for Universal Design (CUD) is a national research, information, and technical assistance centre that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, buildings, outdoor and urban environments and related products.

The CUD was founded by Ronald L. Mace, who is cited as coining the term "universal design". He was one of the authors of the Principles of Universal Design, which are copyrighted by the CUD.


The CUD conducts original research to learn what design solutions are appropriate for the widest diversity of users and what tools are most useful to practitioners wishing to successfully practice universal design. The CUD collaborates with builders and manufacturers on the development of new design solutions. It also develops publications and instructional materials, and provides information, referrals and technical assistance to individuals with disabilities, families, and professionals nationwide and internationally.

IDEA Center Buffalo

The IDEA Center is based in University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, USA. It is dedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities throughout their life spans.


IDEA provides resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design, facilities management and the social and behavioural sciences to further these agendas.

USA: National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications

The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is based in the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting independent living for persons of all ages and abilities.


Homemods works closely with groups involved with supportive housing and home modification and a National Advisory Committee to accomplish four objectives that are to provide:

  • Applied research, evaluation and policy analysis: a knowledge base for practical applications.
  • Training and education: internet courses, workshops, conferences, exhibits.
  • Technical assistance: policy updates, national teleconferences, advisement, local home modification coalitions
  • Information clearinghouse: reports, guidebooks, newsletters and fact sheets that provide objective information.

NECTAC Centre for Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) is a programme of the FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. NECTAC aims to strengthen state and local service systems to ensure that children with disabilities (up to 5 years of age) and their families receive and benefit from high-quality, evidence-based, culturally appropriate and family-centred supports and services.


NECTAC's activities include compiling, analysing and prioritising national initiatives in the State of North Carolina; disseminating information through their website and publications; and organising conferences.

Trace Center Wisconsin

The Trace Research & Development Center is a part of the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Trace aims to prevent the barriers and capitalize on the opportunities presented by current and emerging information and telecommunication technologies, in order to create a world that is as accessible and usable as possible for as many people as possible.


Trace's activities include research and development programmes to advance accessibility and usability of telecommunications products and to increase access to information technologies and to interfaces used by electronic technologies in general. Trace offers industry and university training activities to increase the available expertise related to design of more accessible standard information and communication technologies (ICT) and an award programme to honour people who inspire action and foster the achievements of others in the field of technology and disability.

Organisations Outside of Ireland - Australasia

Australia: Centre for Universal Design Australia

A call for a centre for universal design was made at the inaugural Australian Universal Design Conference held in Sydney in August 2014. There was much support for this idea, both by speakers and by delegates. At the 2nd UD Conference held August 2016, an announcement was made about the establishment of Centre for Universal Design Australia Ltd


While the legal entity has been established as a not for profit company limited by guarantee, the next steps are to attract funding to implement the goals of the organisation.


Australian Network for Universal Housing Design

The Australian Network for Universal Housing Design is a group of people and organisations that support and call for universal design for housing.


ANUHD focuses its efforts on supporting and calling for: recognition of the needs of older people, people with a disability or chronic illness, and people recovering from illness or injury, who experience exclusion and discrimination by present housing design and construction practices; effective and efficient measures to address those needs; universal design, being design for all, which aims to meet everyone's needs and avoids building barriers that exclude and discriminate against any of the people living and working in or visiting a home; and access requirements for housing in the Building Code of Australia for all new and extensively modified housing.

European Design for All e-Accessibility Network

The European Design for All e-Accessibility Network - EDeAN is a network of 160 organisations in 27 European Union member states and Norway. These organisations include research institutions, universities and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) The goal of the network is to support all citizens' access to the Information Society.


EDeAN provides:

  • A European forum for Design for All issues, supporting EU's e-inclusion goals
  • Awareness raising in the public and private sectors
  • Online resources on Design for All

The network is comprised of National Contact Centres which coordinate national networks. The CEUD is the Irish NCC and hosts an associated mailing list. Please contact Dónal Rice at the CEUD for any questions The EdEAN.Org website contains a Design for All resources database and hosts discussions on a range of topics through its SIG discussion forums.


EIDD - Design for All Europe (formerly European Institute for Design and Disability) is a federation of National and Corporate Member Organisations in 18 European countries. The aim of EIDD is to encourage active interaction and communication between professionals interested in the theory and practise of Design for All.


A design-led organisation, EIDD works pro-actively to establish and maintain a series of key partnerships with other European and international organisations active in related areas. EIDD offers expertise in the theory, practise and dissemination of Design for All.

UK Institute for Inclusive Design

The United Kingdom Institute for Inclusive Design (UKiiD) is the British network of the European Institute for Design and Disability.


UKiiD brings together design professionals and users with disabilities who are committed to raising the profile and standard of inclusive design in the built environment, transport, products and communication facilities.