Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England has visited Sheffield City Region to mark the start of construction work on Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre.
Set to become the most advanced research centre in the world for developing innovations that will improve population health and physical activity levels, the AWRC will form the centrepiece of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
The facility, which will open next year, is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, which has committed £14m of funding.
Delivered by the University in partnership with Legacy Park Ltd, the AWRC will feature indoor and outdoor facilities for 70 researchers to carry out world-leading research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector, with a focus on taking services and products from concept to market.
It will also feature a 7.5m high indoor laboratory with cameras and tracking instruments, a biomechanics laboratory, diagnostic equipment such as MRI, CT, DXA and ultrasound, body composition measurement and physiological testing, a technology demonstrator hub and integrated NHS clinics.
Sir Malcolm said: “I’m really looking forward to see what the AWRC is going to do for the NHS and for people’s health. We have got to reverse the depending model and people depending on healthcare professionals, our doctors, nurses and clinicians.
“People need to take responsibility for their own health and are empowered by medical technology. I’m really fascinated to see the technology being developed for elite athletes and sport and this can be modelled and mass produced to enhance the lives of ordinary people to help them live longer and healthier lives.”
The AWRC will form a key part of Sheffield City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District – a 2,000-acre centre of excellence for innovation-led research and industrial collaboration. Sitting alongside Sheffield Hallam’s National Centre for Food Engineering, the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Research and Innovation Centre and the Centre for Child Health Technology, the AWRC will create interventions and solutions that have real-world application.
It has also been highlighted as a key contributor in the Sheffield City Region vision, which forms a cornerstone for the future of health and wellbeing in the region.
Professor Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Improving population health is one of the great challenges of our time. Through the AWRC, Sheffield Hallam is leading work that has the potential to transform the health of the nation. Co-locating research and innovation alongside education, health, leisure and business will help to contribute to economic growth and the quality of life in and beyond the region.”