I heartily concur with the first two posts. It is essential to recruit people with disabilities — especially from the Global South — to become policy researchers. That is the main reason we developed our fellowship program. To find people who have started being successful on that path and give them some mentorship and resources to develop projects that they feel are important.
In our project looking at the impact of COVID19 on people’s ability to access assistive technology, it was very important that the people leading the qualitative data collection were all people with disabilities from the countries involved in the study — not just to collect the data but involved in the design of the data collection and data analysis.
Too often people with disabilities are add ons to a project to try to provide some sort of sign of legitimacy — or even if they are deeply involved it is to study someone else’s agenda and not their own. I’ve been guilty of that in the past, I am afraid, but now am working to be more of a support person and technical advisor.