Sheffield Hallam appoints head of the AWRC

22nd September 2015

Sheffield Hallam University has appointed Professor Steve Haake as the new Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), which will be based at the Olympic Legacy Park in Sheffield.

Sheffield Hallam University's AWRC is set to become the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, creating 'innovations that help people move' in sport, health-care, physical activity and leisure. Working in collaboration with the private sector at the heart of the Olympic Legacy Park, talented engineers and researchers from Sheffield Hallam will design new products and services from initial concept all the way through to market - creating new jobs and investment. The AWRC will act as a hothouse of innovation, bringing together those who make things like apps, activity loggers, sports equipment, orthotics and clinical devices. At the last Budget the Government announced a £14 million grant to build the AWRC, as part of the 'Northern Powerhouse' agenda. Earlier this year Toshiba were announced as the first AWRC partner, in a deal worth £1.5m. Professor Steve Haake said: "The World Health Organisation recently reported that nearly three quarters of men and two thirds of women in the UK will be overweight by 2020. That's less than five years away. "Given these dire predictions the AWRC will be a timely intervention. We want to target everyone, from those who are completely sedentary to those who are most active; from young to old; from those in the most deprived communities to those in the most affluent; from those at home to those in work or in education. "The AWRC will focus on helping people to move more is because while obesity might be the symptom, the problem is that we've spent the last few hundred years engineering physical activity out of our lives and then the last 50 years engineering highly calorific food into it. Sedentary behaviour and a stream of rich food can lead to all sorts of problems appearing in our lives such as chronic disease. "Apart from helping to find healthcare solutions, the wellness agenda is also big business. With this mind we are setting up a partnership of companies which will attract jobs, investment and new opportunities for local business. "The next year or so will see us slowly grow our number of partners so that by the time we open our doors in late 2017, we will hit the ground running with projects, innovations and products that make a difference to people's lives." Professor Steve Haake previously headed up Sheffield Hallam's prestigious Centre for Sports Engineering Research. Steve is a member of the Technical Commission of the International Tennis Federation advising on the effect of equipment design on the rule of tennis, and has been a consultant to Adidas, Callaway and Kensington TV.

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