Microsoft’s Role as Founding Partner

UW is an established leader in accessibility with local, national, and industry impact. Microsoft is proud to sponsor and support the formation of CREATE and champion its mission to work with, understand, and assist people with disabilities, and develop accessible technologies for and with them that positively impact them. UW has a long history of programmatic investments in disability inclusion and accessibility, and CREATE will bring together these areas of excellence. A few proof points include:

UW is committed to empowerment, equity and impact for people with disabilities

UW is one of the few universities nationwide with a Disability Studies department, with one faculty member serving as a CREATE co-founder. Furthermore, multiple CREATE faculty don’t just develop technology, they critically examine it, working to give the disability community a greater voice toward making a more inclusive world.

UW’s impact on expanding opportunities for people with disabilities is already enormous

AccessComputing/Teach Access and AccessEngineering are all UW organizations that work to provide concentrated curriculum and other supports that help students with disabilities successfully pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM fields. The UW Taskar Center is committed to the translation and deployment of accessible technologies, as is the HuskyAdapt program which trains engineers to create real-world solutions to accessibility needs.  

UW’s impact on consumers includes a track record of high impact projects

CREATE faculty helped to define the mobile experience for people who are blind, including screen reading and braille typing, and their work has already impacted the transportation experience of thousands by providing information about public transit, sidewalk safety, and accessible route planning. CREATE faculty also helped launch the first assistive technology and adapted toy lending library in the Pacific Northwest, and have engaged over 250 students in participatory and inclusive design practices.

UW and Microsoft are great partners

For example, UW and Microsoft actively collaborate on transportation accessibility. UW students frequently intern at Microsoft with successful results. UW has also proven to be a breeding ground for accessibility expertise – in the last five years, the Ability and Enable teams at Microsoft Research have hosted over a dozen Ph.D. UW student interns conducting accessibility research (and Microsoft Research has hired many UW Ph.D. alumni, including several specifically focused on accessibility and health research). 

Now, Microsoft is proud to support UW’s goal to take their next step in accessibility innovation with CREATE. UW’s and Microsoft’s approach align in many ways, particularly considering their longstanding record of recognizing the untapped talent among the disability community and establishing an ecosystem of inclusion from which everyone stands to benefit.

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