Australia officially opens connected health research hub

The Australian Research Council has formally launched its latest research hub for connected health at the University of New South Wales. Backed by A$24 million ($16.6 million) funding by the ARC's Industrial Transformation Research Program, the ARC Research Hub for Connected Sensors for Health focuses on developing wearable health technologies. This new research hub, which became operational in August, brings together seven universities and 26 Australian companies to build a national end-to-end ecosystem that will design, manufacture, and commercialise clinical-grade sensors and predictive analytics. It integrates existing Australian capabilities in sensors, security, software systems, data analytics, and digital health. WHY IT MATTERS The research hub, which includes 37 chief investigators and 26 partner investigators, seeks to "achieve a vision of building wearable technologies for better health that benefits humanity." According to Professor Chun Wang, head of UNSW Engineering School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, "[c]onnected health sensors are emerging as a transformational technology to address a wide range of pressing issues, such as remote health management of
chronic diseases
for at-risk populations, rehabilitation and
chronic disease
management of frail and older people, monitoring
acute pain
and blood lactate level in athletes, and smart rehabilitation and treatment of
neurological diseases
." THE LARGER TREND The Australian government has always been keen to improve the health monitoring of its citizens by investing in research projects focusing on wearable health technologies. In October, it provided grants to three projects that intend to improve the monitoring of health conditions of patients with
cerebral palsy
, and
Type 2 diabetes
. In 2021, the federal government made a A$10 million ($7 million) investment through the Medical Research Future Fund to support projects that test new applications of existing wearable devices. ON THE RECORD In a comment, ARC CEO Judi Zielke said the new connected sensors research hub "promises developments in wearable sensor technologies that will lead to better health outcomes for Australians." "It’s developments like those that will come from this Research Hub that will help push Australian products up the global value chain, broadening our economic complexity and securing our supply chains," Australian Senator Tim Ayres, assistant minister for Trade and Manufacturing, also commented.