AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator

Friday 15 May 2020

What is the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator?

Based in Sheffield Hallam University’s new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), participants will have access to world-class R&D capabilities that allow for rapid prototyping through to precision engineering, laboratories for product testing, support networks, and a clinical research centre.

How will the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator help startups?

The AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator helps startups to bring their health and wellbeing innovations to market. The AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator is a rolling programme running from April 2020 – March 2021 that will support startups, academics, and businesses working in wellbeing with mentoring, sector experts, and use of the AWRC facilities. The programme does not take equity and is funded by Research England.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic change the launch of the programme?

The programme will continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with a virtual programme launching in April. After the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the programme will also run events, networking, and a wellbeing conference. The programme is important now, with many themes around wellbeing becoming central to people’s lives as they adapt their lifestyles to the social restrictions from COVID-19.

Who are the team behind the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator?

Simon Butler is the Head of the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator. He is responsible for driving and overseeing the success of the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator. His team has established and successfully launched the accelerator virtually in April 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Five startups have been accepted into the programme in the first month of operating.

What is the eligibility criteria for companies wanting to join the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator?

Startups must be working in wellbeing, addressing one of the following themes:

  • Healthy and active 100: Innovation that prevents disease and supports people into 100 years of healthy active life.
  • Living well with chronic disease: Exploring the management and treatment of chronic disease.
  • Technological and digital innovations to promote independent lives: Focusing on technologies that improve health and wellbeing across the population.

Professor Paul Dimitri is Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Director of NIHR CYP MedTech. Paul is a mentor for the AWRC Accelerator Programme.

What benefits will your position as a mentor on the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator bring to the development of child health technology?

The AWRC Accelerator Programme is key in supporting SMEs, academics, and clinicians in accelerating the development and adoption of health technologies that will rapidly benefit patients. Our aim at NIHR CYP MedTech is to support the development of child health technology with unrivalled access to a network of clinical specialists, patients and their families, and others working in this field.

Why is it important that we work across sectors to support new innovations for child health? 

Both NIHR CYP MedTech and Sheffield Children’s Hospital Department of Research & Innovation are keen to work with academics and business to ensure that they get the best support to meet the needs of those wishing to overcome the challenges of developing health technologies for children. We recognise that investment in the development of health technologies for children supports sustainable change and a strong investment for our future population.