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Singapore's Health Promotion Board and Republic Polytechnic Launch 'Physical Activity' Lab

F.Y. Teng | Jan. 30, 2013
New facility meant for R&D and testing of solutions for tackling major public health issues.

On Wednesday (January 30, 2013) the Health Promotion Board's (HPB's) Physical Activity Centre of Excellence, HPB-PACE, and Republic Polytechnic (RP) in Singapore launched what they called "a joint Innovation Lab in Physical Activity [for fostering] research and development of intellectual property and technologies to enhance health promotion efforts in the community."

Situated on campus and within the polytechnic's School of Sports, Health and Leisure, the lab will serve as a research, development and testing facility for RP students and HPB staff working in collaboration with technology industry partners on "solutions to address key public health concerns such as diabetes, obesity and healthy ageing."

According to representatives of the HPB and RP, the Innovation Lab in Physical Activity is made up of three main areas: a research centre, which is devoted to "experimental studies to improve physical fitness validation, ways to decrease sedentary behaviour and physical activity for diabetes prevention"; a "test bedding centre", which is for staff and students to work "with industry partner to test and develop new applications, technologies and physical activities for greater accessibility within local communities"; and, a "knowledge-sharing centre", which will see to the running of "seminars and workshops on physical activity and technology for industry and community [as well as] advanced diploma and certification programmes."

"The HPB-RP Innovation Lab will serve not only as a model for thought-leadership but the living lab will support the design, development and deployment of evidence-based tools and solutions to address local health concerns," said HPB CEO Ang Hak Seng. "The [HPB's] collaboration with RP is in line with our long-term vision to continually innovate the ways in which we approach behaviour modification and lifestyle change as we see the potential in such private-public partnership to drive home-grown innovation to advance the science of health promotion."

"We are proud to be partnering with [the] HPB as it is leading health promotion efforts in the region and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a collaborating centre," said RP's Principal and CEO, Yeo Li Pheow. "This, along with the access to industry partners, gives our students a very unique opportunity to study and develop solutions to real world problems that can impact the health and quality of life of Singaporeans."

At present, four companies have been named as partners in work being done at the lab: iActive Pte Ltd, Icon Books & Multimedia Pte Ltd, Biofit Technology & Services, and Bodygreen (Asia) Pte Ltd.

The lab will be run by Head of HPB-PACE, Dr Robert Sloan, and Assistant Director (Capability Development) of RP's School of Sports, Health and Leisure, Dr Alex Ong.


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