European Disability Expertise (EDE)

EDE provides scientific expertise to the European Commission across the field of disability policy. It provides continuity with the research legacy of the Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED), which was led by Professor Mark Priestley from its establishment in 2008 until the UK’s departure from the EU in 2019.

Data and evidence is generated from a large team of researchers, covering the EU’s 27 Member States. Researchers at Leeds play a leading role in analysing and synthesising this evidence base to develop policy analysis and advice, based on their established expertise and track record in this field. For example, Professor Priestley leads analysis of employment and social policies relevant to the European Semester, while Professor Anna Lawson is leading analysis on the disability impact and implications of Covid-19 response. EDE reports are published first on the European Commission website.


This research, in continuity with the past research of ANED, has significant and far reaching impact on disability policy thinking across Europe with consequential benefits for 80 million disabled citizens. For example, research findings have enabled civil servants to make disability equality more visible in co-ordination of Member States’ employment and social policies; to adopt new disability equality monitoring methods and indicators; and to justify political support for new policies of mutual recognition and harmonisation, including new legislation.

Publications and outputs

Lawson, A. and Priestley, M. (2015) Mapping disability policies in Europe: introducing the Disability Online Tool of the Commission (DOTCOM), Alter - European Journal of Disability research, Revue européenne de recherche sur le handicap, 9(1): 75-78 []

Priestley, M., Stickings, M., Loja, E., Grammenos, S., Lawson, A. and Waddington, L. and Fridriksdottir B. (2016) The political participation of disabled people in Europe: rights, accessibility and representation, Electoral Studies, 42: 1-9 []

Kuznetsova, Y., Yalcin, B. and Priestley, M. (2017) Labour market integration and equality for disabled people: a comparative analysis of Nordic and Baltic countries, Social Policy and Administration, 51(4): 577–597 []

Priestley, M. (2018) Mainstreaming disability equality in the European Semester 2017-18: policy issues and questions, ANED, Utrecht/Leeds.

Waddington, L. and Priestley, M. (eds) (2018) Mainstreaming disability rights in the European Pillar of Social Rights – a compendium, ANED, Utrecht/Leeds.

Waddington, L. and Priestley, M. (2020) A human rights approach to disability assessment, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, []

Project website