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Swansea University to develop world’s first research and innovation ‘living lab’

Swansea University is set to develop the world’s first research and innovation environment using 5G infrastructure to improve population health and wellbeing, with the award of a £2.58m project that will create a ‘living laboratory’ in the Swansea Bay City region.

This ‘living laboratory’ will support innovation in the development of original devices for health, wellbeing and sport through the development of new sensors and devices that can help improve people’s quality of life, monitor physical and mental wellbeing, improve performance and reduce the burden on the NHS.

The project is also expected to attract industry, investment and jobs to the region through the possibility of co-housing with clinical infrastructure, sports and recreational facilities and academic expertise.

Supported by a grant of more than £1.5 million from the Swansea Bay City Deal Digital infrastructure programand in partnership with Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea University will work with Vodafone to deliver a 5G trial platform covering the university’s two campuses, Singleton and Morriston Hospitals and parts of the city.

Professor Keith Lloyd project manager said:

“Swansea University is delighted to have the opportunity to develop this unique innovation testing platform. We are grateful to the Swansea Bay City Deal Digital Infrastructure Program for enabling us to deliver a significant resource for the region and for Wales. We are also deeply grateful for the support that our technology partner, Vodafone, is giving to the project and to Swansea Council and our NHS partners.

“Our ambition is for the research and innovation environment we create to deliver real benefits for the local community, as well as for the NHS and sport.”

Vodafone is also actively working with Swansea University to tackle digital exclusion in the area through the procurement of 3,000 SIM cards which the University distributes to disadvantaged young people in the local area. In addition, Vodafone will explore further opportunities for a 5G network in the region, in areas such as decarbonisation and green energy.

Nick Gliddon, Vodafone UK Business Director said:

“We are always impressed by the scale of Swansea University’s ambition and capacity to support innovation and are excited to develop a “living lab” that harnesses the power of 5G. The lab offers an opportunity to experiment with next-generation technologies and bring to life ideas that could revolutionize the way we do business and deliver public services, especially in healthcare. We look forward to continuing to work with Swansea on opportunities to help them achieve their digital ambitions and deliver real benefits for the local community and industry.”

The innovative 5G project was developed by the Swansea Bay City Deal Campuses a project that builds on Swansea University’s strengths in the Institute of Life Sciences, Department of Sport and Exercise Science, and SAIL Data Bank in partnership with the regional NHS ecosystem.

The key goal of the Campuses project is to lead the development of a globally significant sports technology industry and to build on health technology and medical technology innovations in the region.

Councilor Rob Stewartchairman of the Swansea Bay City Region Joint Committee, said:

“We are delighted to be funding a project which is set to transform innovation in health, wellbeing and sport as we currently know it. Not only will it strengthen public sector health provision for our local community, but it will also be a valued asset for the whole of Wales.

“This is an exciting time for digital technology and we are proud to be at the forefront of this development. This facility will benefit from superior digital connectivity, so I am confident that the opportunities this will bring will put the city firmly on the map as an industry leader.

“We are committed to making Swansea a smart city as part of a truly digital region and this investment is a positive step closer to achieving that.”

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