An artist's impression of the new National Rehabilitation Centre

An artist's impression of the new National Rehabilitation Centre

Loughborough celebrates Government go ahead for new National Rehabilitation Centre

For the first time, the UK will have a ‘National Rehabilitation Centre’ (NRC) following Government approval for the plans announced today (21 September 2023), with Loughborough and Nottingham Universities as lead academic partners.

The NRC will transform outcomes for people who have experienced life-changing events including injury, trauma or illness, by fully integrating research, innovation, education and training with clinical practice.

Part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme, the £105 million 70-bed specialist NHS facility will be built on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate – located close to the Loughborough campus – which is already home to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. The rationale for co-locating both the Defence facility and the NHS facility side-by-side on the same site is to facilitate sharing of expertise in ways which have never been possible or achieved before.

The NRC will combine patient care delivered by staff from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) with research, innovation and training led by Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

A number of rehabilitation research projects are already underway at Loughborough:

  • Professor Mark Lewis and Dr Andrew Capel are bio-engineering musculoskeletal tissues to develop personalised therapies, allow ethical testing of new drugs and supplements, and provide a method of replacing injured or diseased tissues with healthy tissue made from your own cells.
  • Dr Ishara Dharmasena is developing super-smart textiles which capture energy from natural body motion to remotely monitor your movements and health information, and transmit that data to health professionals via a mobile.
  • Dr Jakob Škarabot is using sensors to record when the muscles fire and, with the help of computer algorithms, find the code that the brain sends to muscles to produce movement and thus detect movement impairment.
  • Professor Vicky Tolfrey, working with a team of international experts, has developed scientific guidelines to inform people with a spinal cord injury how much exercise is necessary for important fitness and health benefits

Professor Mark Lewis, Dean of the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, is leading Loughborough’s involvement in the NRC. He said: “We are delighted that the NRC has been given the green light. This facility will make a huge difference to the lives of those impacted by life-changing injuries, trauma or illness. It is a great honour to know that Loughborough’s research and expertise will play a key part in transforming global rehabilitation outcomes.”

Professor Nick Jennings, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, added: “Our partnership with the NRC underlines Loughborough’s mission to use our world-leading expertise in sport and exercise to drive innovation that impacts both national and global health and wellbeing. I am delighted to see this important facility get the go ahead.”

Further information about Loughborough’s role in the NRC can be found here.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 23/140

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.