A new Chief Executive has been appointed to deliver the London 2012 Olympic legacy themes of opportunities for the local community, increased sport participation and creating a brief for the environment at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, which will put health at the heart of the city region’s economic growth.
Dr Chris Low will drive the development of a world-class health and wellbeing research eco-system and further build R&D capacity on the unique site, attracting and supporting global health and wellbeing companies to invest and co-locate on the Park.
He will work closely with Scarborough Group International (SGI) who are spearheading the physical build development of the world’s only Olympic legacy park outside a host city.
SGI are about to submit a forward investment Master Plan which is expected to generate over 5,600 high value jobs and includes the creation of a 100,000 sq ft Enterprise Centre to support fledgling businesses in the health, wellbeing, sport and activity sectors.
Dr Low is currently Associate Dean for Business and Enterprise in the College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University, which last year opened its flagship, £14m Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
The Centre features world-class facilities for multi-disciplinary researchers to carry out research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector, charities, and the community, with a focus on taking services and products from concept to market.
Dr Low founded the AWRC’s rolling Wellbeing Accelerator programme after leading a funding round which raised £900k from Research England. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Accelerator attracted an initial full cohort of 24 companies from around the world and is about to announce the second funding wave.
“The incredible success of the Wellbeing Accelerator programme – which has attracted applications from four continents – is indicative of the potential we have at the Park to genuinely become an exemplar economic model for post-pandemic recovery.
“The hot-housing of health and wellbeing skills and innovation – which not only drives economic growth and community regeneration but also delivers whole population health gains – is already attracting national and global interest.
“I think this is a moment in time; we have the chance to create and deliver a collective vision for the future and I am genuinely excited for what we can achieve.”
Dr Low was appointed by Legacy Park Ltd, the company set up to deliver the London 2012 Olympic legacy themes, and will take up his position at the beginning of August. Current Project Director, David Hobson is stepping down from his role after seven years spearheading the creation and delivery of the first phase of the Park.
Richard Caborn, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park Project Lead, said: “David has been the driving force which has helped turn a vision into a world-beating reality.
“He leaves Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in a great place and I am delighted to welcome Chris as Chief Executive. This is all about developing the R&D ecosystem which will enable innovators and companies to take new products and services from conception to market here in Sheffield.
“What we are creating here is a unique transferrable technology hub with a clear link between health and medtech innovation, research and development and wealth creation.”