Harnessing the power of technology to improve lives: international conference comes to Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is set to welcome hundreds of world-leading scientists and healthcare professionals who are helping to improve lives through revolutionary technology to an international conference this week (12–15 September 2017).

Person using tablet: CATCHThe prestigious Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) conference is a global event which brings together experts from across the world who are harnessing the power of technology to help us live and age well.

The University was chosen to host the 14th annual conference as part of a Congress of events due to the success of its pioneering Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH).

CATCH is a multi-disciplinary research centre that brings together more than 70 leading academics from 18 different departments and five faculties to research, develop, evaluate and implement new technologies.

The 2017 AAATE Congress will address challenges from around the world where Assistive Technology could deliver benefits to the increasing population of people with disabilities and the ageing society.

The ageing population means the number of people with long-term conditions and disability is rising and CATCH conducts groundbreaking research to provide solutions to enable people to remain independent and receive the care and support they need in their own homes and community. In common with the AAATE the intention of such research is to make a significant and lasting contribution to the quality of life and independence of these people.

Mark Hawley, CATCH Director, said: "We are delighted to be hosting the conference. CATCH is leading the way in assistive technology research and we are keen to facilitate discussions, create networking opportunities and share research in this area."

The conference will be welcoming more than 300 delegates from a range of academic disciplines, health and social care professionals, policy makers, and industry.

The event takes place at the University of Sheffield’s flagship Diamond building on 13–14 September 2017 as part of a bigger AAATE 2017 Congress.

Dr Peter Cudd, President of the AAATE, said: "We have succeeded in attracting three sessions hosted by people who are international leaders in developing the use of robots in health and social care contexts. With some 200 articles in the proceedings being presented there is a wide array of technology and research on show. It is a fantastic opportunity to find out what is happening not just in Europe but also in the far East and North America as well."

Paul Timmers from the European Commission is giving his perspective on innovation over the last and next 10 years in the opening keynote presentation.

Lord Chris Holmes, who is very active in the disability field and is the chair of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, will talk about the challenges faced by people with disabilities in today’s world. In his plenary talk Lord Holmes will explain just how transformational assistive technology has been to him personally. More generally he will highlight the potential of assistive technology to remove barriers, unlock opportunities and unleash talent and remind us all why it is so important.

Article: Using technology to age and live well

Additional information

AAATE conference

Visit the AAATE conference website to find out more or contact the team by email: info@aaate2017.eu


Find out more about CATCH research and projects.


The Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) is the interdisciplinary pan-European membership association devoted to all aspects of assistive technology including research, development, manufacture, supply provision and policy. The Association also collaborates with the World Health Organisation on the Global Assistive Technology Initiative – GATE; and sister AT organisations from the USA, Japan, Korea and Australia.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Amy Huxtable
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859