Earlier this week, the team and I were proud to welcome Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, to mark the start of construction work on the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).
Being led by Sheffield Hallam University, the AWRC is set to become the most advanced research centre in the world for developing innovations that will improve population health and physical activity levels.
Tier One partner of a world class centre
We announced Westfield Health as a Tier One partner of the AWRC in 2015 and we're working with researchers to transfer learning from elite sport down to the wider population through innovative technology and interventions in the workplace, and at home. This is no different to the concept of how car manufacturers transfer elite learning from Formula 1 into our local car dealerships.
The facility, which will open next year, is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, who have committed £14 million of funding to the project. It 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.
We’ve even had American audiences alongside representatives from the University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NSCEM) at the AWRC.
We visited Frisco in Texas, to showcase how Sheffield is leading the way in health, wellbeing and sports innovation, and following our trip, representatives from the Frisco Economic Development Corporation visited Sheffield in 2017 to see how we’re putting our vision into action.
Improving the health of our nation
Our aim in partnering with the AWRC is to create innovations that will improve health, tackling key issues such as static levels of physical activity, rising obesity and mental health. Our partnership means Westfield Health’s offering will always be grounded in insight, fact and evidence which will truly make a difference to people’s quality of life.
On the day, Sir Malcom Grant 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."
We look forward to continuing our work with the team at the AWRC, equipping the nation with the tools and opportunities to lead happy, healthy, independent lives.
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.