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Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre

European Union: European Regional Development Fund

New Director of AWRC appointed

Professor Rob Copeland, a chartered sport and exercise psychologist and professor of physical activity and health at Sheffield Hallam University, has been appointed Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).  

As director for the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) in Sheffield Professor Copeland is well placed to tackle the key healthcare issues of today. His specific area of expertise focuses on behaviour change interventions in public health and has had significant research, consultancy and service evaluation experience in both clinical and non-clinical settings. 

As a member of several national academic advisory boards and a regular reviewer for international peer review journals and research submissions, Professor Copeland has informed national government on the promotion of physical activity and has worked with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer in preparation for the forthcoming update on national physical activity guidelines in the UK.

Innovations that help people move
World-leading research in physical activity

Following a £14m investment from the UK’s Department of Health, the AWRC will be the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, providing state-of-the-art, fully instrumented indoor and outdoor laboratories and a team of over 70 researchers delivering collaborative projects. These researchers, from Sheffield Hallam University, will be drawn from a range of specialities as required, from Sports Engineering, Materials Engineering and Software Development, to Elite Sports Science and Psychology.

As a centrepiece of Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park, the AWRC will encourage and enable people to be more active and adopt healthier lifestyles, delivering innovations that help people move by bringing together

  • Multi-disciplinary academic expertise from sports and materials engineering, psychology, health and social care and software development
  • Commercial partners including global businesses and dynamic SMEs
  • The local community within the Sheffield City Region which is a microcosm of the UK population in terms of its cultural and ethnic diversity.

These innovations will generate benefits for the entire population through increasing levels of physical activity for people with sedentary lifestyles and those recovering from serious illness.

The centre will develop technical services and products from concept to commercialisation through processes of co-design and coproduction between the citizens of the Sheffield City region, charities and business and industry, supported by academic research to provide confidence that these innovations will not only address market needs, but also generate positive health impacts through increasing levels of physical activity.

The AWRC will be the research hub for the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) in Sheffield, a 2012 Olympic Legacy project which co-locates clinical services and physical activity facilities to help people with a medical need to exercise more easily. It has neighbouring facilities in the locale including the English Institute of Sport, the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering and a university technical college specialising in health, sport and technology for 14-19 year olds.

Welcome from Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Metcalfe

The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) is an exciting £14m joint venture between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield City Council. Based in an iconic new building, this unique transformational hub will drive collaboration between higher education, business and the people of the Sheffield City Region, to fuel improvements to health and wellbeing and increase economic growth.

Sheffield Hallam, which hosts the AWRC, specialises in healthcare research - with “Healthy Independent Lives” being one of the University’s key research platforms - and has an exceptional track record for working with and engaging the local community through our research programmes that focus on design, health, technology and education.

We know that mobility and exercise are fundamental to a person’s physical and psychological health and that, by increasing people’s mobility and engagement with exercise through lifestyle change and technological innovation, we can reduce the risk and consequences of chronic disease. Achieving these increases, through world-leading research and innovation, will be the AWRC’s principal aim.

Capitalising on work already underway, the centre will harness multi-disciplinary research and industry expertise and bring together designers, digital technologists, charities, knowledge exchange experts and the local community, for the common purpose of co-designing and co-producing new technologies, products, interventions and services that help people move to improve their health and wellbeing.

The centre will attract the best ideas, talent and investment regionally, nationally and internationally to effect major changes. It will be funded by the Department of Health, public and charity grants, private companies and investment from the University itself.

I am very proud to share with you the news and developments happening at the AWRC. Please take a look at our website and contact us if you would like to partner with us or just would like more information.

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