World-leading research centre appoints new deputy director

Jason Brannan and Rob Copeland

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre has appointed a new Deputy Director to drive forward its mission to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Jason Brannan, a former director of health technology specialist, Medilink, has joined the helm at the world-leading research centre dedicated to designing innovations that help people move.

Bringing over 20 years of health industry experience to the role, Jason is passionate about effecting change in the healthcare sector, addressing health inequalities and moving the focus from intervention to prevention.

As chair of the Sheffield City Region Healthcare Technology Sector Group, the business strategy and public relations and communications specialist will help to harness the multi-disciplinary research and industry expertise within the AWRC and will drive forward its focus on the development and application of new and emerging technologies to help people move and improve health and wellbeing across the population.

Speaking of his appointment, Jason said: “The role is incredibly exciting to me as it maps across my personal passions of health and physical activity, as a way to improve not only life expectancy, but the quality of life in our later years.

“Covid-19 has placed a spotlight on the need for greater focus on prevention and resilience and it’s important that businesses and large organisations recognise the opportunity to effect change in the sector by being involved in upstream healthcare.

“Another important aspect of this for me is addressing health inequalities. Someone from South West Sheffield really should not have a vastly different life expectancy or health outcomes than someone from North East Sheffield, and the same applies to other towns and cities across the UK.

“While the Deputy Director position at the AWRC has a global remit, I am passionate about Sheffield and this role will truly give me a chance to make a positive impact on the Sheffield City Region.”

The AWRC based at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, brings together scientists, designers, digital technologists, charities and the local community, for the common purpose of undertaking research and co-designing new technologies, products and services that aim to prevent and treat chronic disease by helping people move.

The Centre – based in Darnall, Sheffield – received a £14m investment from the Department of Health and Social Care and £950k from the European Regional Development Fund to act as a catalyst for its development.

Professor Robert Copeland, director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, said: “The appointment of Jason Brannan as Deputy Director is a significant move forwards for the AWRC in realising one of its core ambitions, to lead in research and development for business and industry across the health and wellbeing sector.

“Jason and I have spoken at length since he agreed to join the project and he shares a personal as well as professional commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of residents across the Sheffield City Region.

“Jason is a strong fit for the mission-led culture we are building at the AWRC and I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to work with him in the next phase of development for the Centre.”

Research at the AWRC is organised into three impact themes:

  • Healthy and active 100 — prioritising research and innovation that prevents disease and supports people into 100 years of healthy and active life.
  • Living well with chronic disease — exploring the management and treatment of chronic disease, such as cancer, stroke, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes and mental health, through physical activity as a therapy.
  • Technological and digital innovations to promote independent lives — focusing on the development and application of new and emerging technologies to help people move, improving health and wellbeing across the population.

The AWRC provides world class research and design capability through state-of-the-art, fully instrumented indoor and outdoor laboratories and access to academic expertise across health, engineering, robotics, software design, psychology, design, and the arts.

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