Research at the Center for Disability and Integration

CDI logo
CDI logo

On 5 November 2009, the Honorary Patron of the foundation MyHandicap Bill Clinton officially declared the Center for Disability and Integration at the University of St. Gallen open. The task of the Institute, which is sponsored by the foundation MyHandicap, is to explore and advance the economic integration of people with disabilities.

On 6 September 2007, the University of St. Gallen and MyHandicap International announced to found a centre to promote research and teaching in the field of disability management. Almost two years later, in March 2009, the Center for Disability and Integration (CDI) set to work.

The mission of the centre lies primarily in the exploration of the economic integration of people with disabilities. The research of the CDI is only committed to the relevance of the questions and the cognitive interest of researchers, and is fully independent from the operational work of the foundation MyHandicap.

Nevertheless, MyHandicap is an important practice partner of the CDI. In particular, the following is seen as an important input factor: the transfer of knowledge and interesting issues gained from the operational work of the Foundation. Also, the Internet portal MyHandicap plays an important role in the publication and dissemination of research results of the CDI.

Important signals to economy and society

Together with the foundation MyHandicap, the CDI honors companies that have rendered outstanding services in their efforts to integrate people with disabilities. In this competition, "Commitment To Action (ComToAct), the following two prizes are awarded:

  • The Best Practice Award for ongoing or completed projects of which the introduction is in an advanced stage or completed less than one year ago (awarded with 5,000 CHF)
  • The Best Idea Award for project ideas and planned future projects that will be introduce the latest when awarded (awarded with 10,000 CHF)

During a ceremony in the spring 2011, those companies will be awarded that have allowed in an outstanding way the participation of people with disabilities into working life and thus in social life as a well.

The winners can present themselves in the public with the ComToAct award and receive academic support and free consulting services by the CDI-HSG in the introduction and monitoring of their integration projects.

Both in theory and empiricism

The results of the research should be findings of direct practical benefit for people with disabilities and for social or private institutions that can help to support the economic integration of people with disabilities. This depends firstly on theoretical research.

Here, it has to be clarified, for example, what factors underlie the growing number of disabled people. In addition, why firms behave in such a way that vocational integration of this group is difficult. Moreover, the CDI intends to develop a strong application-orientation, which means an implementation of research findings into practical action. This presupposes, however, that the costs and benefits of proposed measures are quantitatively accounted.

Organisationally, the Center is affiliated with two HSG institutes, the Institute for Leadership and Human Resource Management (I.FPM-HSG) and the Swiss Institute for Applied Economic Research (SEW-HSG) is.

From the macro perspective: Economic Studies

The CDI sees its main purpose in contributing to the sustainable economical and vocational integration of persons with disabilities through research, teaching and implementation.

However, unlike many other areas of social sciences, we explore not only the benefits to the individual affected person but also we believe our task is to explore and quantify the costs and benefits, both for people with disabilities as well as for companies and society. Only when these costs are known, portable and widely accepted solutions can be developed.

From the micro perspective: searching for business solutions

The business research at the CDI focuses on the integration of people with disabilities in the actual context of work. Here, two sets of questions are central: First, how can more people with disabilities be reintegrated or integrated in enterprises, and second, how can we ensure that people with disabilities in business can be successful in the long term?

Bill Clinton gave a speech at the inauguration ceremony of the CDI (Picture: MyH)
Bill Clinton gave a speech at the inauguration ceremony of the CDI (Picture: MyH)

Inauguration by the former president of the United States

On 5 November 2009, the CDI was officially declared open and handed over to the international research community. The program started with a press conference in the morning where persons and research agendas were introduced. The main topic was the need for concerted effort to integrate people with disabilities in the labour market.

The highlight of the day was the charity lunch, where the Honorary Patron of MyHandicap, Bill Clinton, gave a speech. The program was completed with an open day at the centre.




Press review

Here you will find press reviews and press reports about the CDI.

Information for the press:

Press portfolio of the Universitiy of St.Gallen (only in German)

Presentation from the founder Joachim Schoss (only in German)

Booklet about the inauguration of the CDI with Bill Clinton

Press report about the inauguration of the CDI

Wordings of the speeches at the inauguration of the CDI (only in German)


Pascale Bruderer becomes National Council President (only in German)
Videoreport from the broadcast "10vor10", 23/11/2009 (Minute 1:39 to 2:23)

Bill Clinton: "Everyone stuggles with a certain kind of disability" (only in German)
Article from the newspaper "Tagblatt", 05/11/2009

Doktor der Selbstüberlistung (only in German)
Article from the newspaper "DIE ZEIT", 04/06/2009