Sheffield Hallam University has opened the most advanced research centre in the world for developing innovations that will increase physical activity and improve population health.

The new multi-million pound Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), which has been supported by £14million funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and £905k investment from the European Regional Development Fund, has been officially opened by the Active Travel Commissioner for Sheffield City Region and Britain’s most successful female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey.

The AWRC, which forms the centrepiece of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move. Its mission is to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity – whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region.

The Centre is supported by a number of strategic partners including; Canon Medical Systems, Westfield Health, EXOS, the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine in Sheffield, Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity, Ingesport and parkrun. These partnerships provide cutting edge equipment and technology, expertise in the health and wellbeing sector and research and development opportunities.

The AWRC features indoor and outdoor facilities for multi-disciplinary researchers to carry out world-leading research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector, charities and the community, with a focus on taking services and products from concept to market.

This includes a 500sqm movement analysis laboratory, a clinical floor with diagnostic equipment such as DXA and ultrasound, morphology, body composition and human performance laboratories, and a design engineering space including a wellbeing accelerator and innovation hub for us by SME’s.

Through the AWRC’s close links with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine Sheffield, researchers will be able to work with the city’s population and local communities to explore and test the potential of new innovations and products developed at the Centre.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We are enormously excited about the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, which has the potential to be the most important investment of the decade in South Yorkshire.

“We want the AWRC to become a beacon for research, innovation and development in physical activity and wellbeing for the entire population. The university’s capacity to do good has been hugely accelerated by the AWRC.”

On the photo (L-R): Dan Jarvis MP, Sir Chris Husbands, Dame Sarah Storey.