Sheffield project receives grant for kids’ VR rehab

Sheffield project receives grant for kids’ VR rehab

01 November 2017

A project team that counts Sheffield Conference Ambassador Paul Dimitri among its members has been given funding for a revolutionary new treatment for injured children.

Treatment to regain functionality after an injury currently consists of complex, repetitive, and often painful therapy exercises.

But a £50,000 grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) could change this approach. The funding will be used to explore the idea of a ‘VR rehab playroom’, which uses virtual reality games to distract children from vital arm and hand rehabilitation exercises.

The team is led by Ivan Phelan from Sheffield Hallam University and also includes Penny Curtis, Professor of Child and Family Health and Wellbeing at the University of Sheffield. Together with Paul, who is the Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, they began work on the project in summer 2017, with patient trials planned for April 2018.

This project, which Paul describes as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for using VR in children’s healthcare, is just one example of how he works with other professionals in Sheffield and he’s keen to praise the benefits of this collaborative approach.

“Particularly in this day and age, we’ve moved away from medicine working in isolation,” he explains. “We work cross-boundary and cross-sector and there are hugely important links to be made with industry, other organisations and stakeholders.”

The Sheffield Ambassador Programme is the perfect breeding ground for these collaborations. Networking events such as the annual ambassador dinner (taking place on 22 November) provide opportunities for the city’s key players to connect with like-minded peers and formulate new ideas.

If you bring conferences to the city, or would like to, you could benefit from the free, expert support available from the ambassador team. You can find out more about it here.

If you’d like to speak to someone about becoming a Sheffield Conference Ambassador, contact Gemma Tissington on 0114 273 5978 or