Loughborough University: Technology developed by new network could be “transformative” for rehabilitation

A new network connected to the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), co-led by Loughborough University, is bringing together technology experts to develop next-generation solutions to transform clinical rehabilitation.

The Rehabilitation Technologies Network+ was launched on 31 March 2022, with an online event for academics, clinical professionals, scientists, and engineers.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the network is jointly led by Loughborough and the University of Nottingham. Its ambition is to create a world-class research community to develop novel and innovative rehabilitation technologies for more effective treatments that will help to improve patient outcomes.

These technologies will provide a pipeline of innovations to be integrated at the NRC – which is located near Rempstone in Nottinghamshire – when it opens in 2024.

Central to the network will be a series of ‘Grand Challenge Workshops’ to identify critical areas for research. The first of these workshops will focus on ‘Transformative Technologies for Cardiorespiratory Rehabilitation’ and will take place over a number of sessions (both online and in person) in late June and early July. Funding will be made available for interdisciplinary feasibility studies arising from these workshops – to find out more and to apply to attend visit: www.rehabtechnologies.net/

Professor Mark Lewis, Dean of Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences said: “The NRC will be a purpose built state-of-the-art new facility which lends itself perfectly to incorporating new technologies and equipment into rehabilitation programmes. We’re extremely excited for Loughborough University to be co-leading this new network and look forward to the benefits it will provide the NRC.”

Ruth Goodridge, Professor in Additive Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham who leads the network, said: “There is real potential for technology to transform clinical rehabilitation. Through the NRC, we have a fantastic opportunity to integrate next-generation technology, and I’m extremely excited to use this network to develop novel approaches which can create more effective rehabilitation programmes and ultimately improve patient outcomes. If you are interested in this field, I’d encourage you to get involved and attend our upcoming workshops.”

Professor Pip Logan, Professor of Rehabilitation Research at the University of Nottingham, said: “We’re pleased to be playing a leading role in this innovative new network. Technology has real potential to help get more patients with complex conditions and rehabilitation needs back to life and work following serious injury or illness. I’m confident the network can create real change in rehabilitation treatment and it’s great for the University of Nottingham to be at the centre of this special initiative.”

The NRC is a unique and brand-new facility with the potential to transform clinical rehabilitation across the NHS in England and Wales. For the first time, it will combine clinical patient care, commercial innovation and R&D, and training and education with these three disciplines coming together under one roof for mutual advantage. The impact of the NRC for patients is anticipated to be game-changing in terms of the quality of life potentially achievable after serious injury or illness.

The NRC will be built on a site approximately 400m from the counterpart Defence facility – the ‘Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Stanford Hall’ – which is operated by the MoD and opened in 2018.

The NRC will share knowledge and some specialist facilities with the Defence facility so that both can benefit. This sharing between NHS medicine and Defence medicine is novel and will enable both facilities to achieve more than the sum of their individual parts.

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