Important legal notice
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Disability - Ensuring that disabilities are no handicap
“To promote the integration of people with disabilities into the workplace and ensure that their physical condition is not a handicap on the labour market”

The problem

The difficulties that many people with disabilities experience in gaining useful employment represent lost opportunities for society. Skills and resources are neglected, leading to dependency rather than integrated and independent living. It will benefit everyone to optimise the integration of people with disabilities into the world of employment. National and EU policies in this area have been only partially successful. Deficiencies and good practices need to be assessed, leading to innovative strategies to support and develop the European Social Model as applied to this field.

Opti‑Work  Ensuring that disability is not a handicap in the workplace


Opti-Work will identify innovative strategies to enhance the integration into the labour market of people with disabilities.

The project will:

  • Develop a set of tools to analyse factors affecting the decisions of job-seekers with disabilities and potential employers
  • Evaluate and benchmark systems and initiatives in different counties and regions
  • Identify inefficiencies and also good practices in existing activity in the field
  • Make specific recommendations for new strategies and policy initiatives to be used in policy planning and implementation for the future

Contribution to policy development:

  • Analysis of existing policies in different countries and cultural environments, identifying both deficiencies and good practices
  • Ongoing dialogue with policy-makers through the project website and Knowledge Management Resource Centre
  • Specific recommendations for new policy initiatives to optimise the integration of people with disabilities into the labour market

Project deliverables

  • Online Knowledge-Management Resource Centre for community-building between EU and national stakeholders – January 2005-February 2005
  • 15 cross-national comparative reports to assist in formulating EU policy – September 2006
  • Analytical tools focused on decision-making processes of jobseekers and potential employers – February 2007
  • Economic impact model for assessing the costs and benefits of employing people with disabilities – by August 2007
  • Policy recommendations for new strategies – by December 2007


  • Virtual space within the online Knowledge Management Resource Centre for national interest groups and EU stakeholders – ongoing
  • Online community-building activities with policy-makers, employers and people with disabilities – ongoing
  • National interest group meetings in each participating Member State to present and develop results – ongoing
  • Seminars and training events targeted at potential users of the project’s results – as needed

Technical information

Project acronym: Opti-Work
Project’s official full title: Optimising strategies for integrating people with disabilities into work
Research priority: 2.4. Quality of life issues relating to handicapped/disabled people (including equal access facilities)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 513741
Start date: 23/12/04
Kick off meeting: Not available
Completion date: 01/01/08
European Commission scientific officer: Véronique Bernard,

Name: IRv, Institute for Rehabilitation Research
Abbreviated name: IRv
Address: Postbus 192, 6430 AD Hoensbroek
Country: Netherlands
Tel: + 31 (0) 45 523 7537
Fax: +31 (0) 45 523 1550


Name: Maastricht University
Abbreviated name: UM
Country: Netherlands

Name: The Rehab Group
Abbreviated name: TRG
Country: Ireland

Name: Work Research Centre
Abbreviated name: WRC
Country: Ireland

Name: London School of Economics and Political Science
Abbreviated name: LSEPS
Country: United Kingdom

Abbreviated name: EWX
Country: Greece

Name: Astri
Abbreviated name: Astri
Country: Netherlands

Name: Kontoutussäätiö (Rehabilitation Foundation)
Abbreviated name: RF
Country: Finland

Name: Employers` Forum on Disability
Abbreviated name: EFD
Country: United Kingdom

Name: European Platform for Rehabilitation
Abbreviated name: EPR
Country: Belgium