Technology for Healthy Ageing and Wellbeing (THAW)

Sheffield investigators

Professor Arlene Astell (PI)

Professor Robert Harrison (Automatic Control and Systems Engineering)

Professor Alan Walker (Sociological Studies)

Professor Roger Moore (Computer Science)

Dr Peter Cudd

Dr Abigail Millings

Professor Mark Hawley

Sheffield researchers

Jacob Andrews

David Clayton

Matthew Bennion


The University of Sheffield

About the project

THAW is focused on developing technology to support good mental health in later life.

THAW aims to address some of the main challenges around improving mental health amongst the elderly by increasing availability and accessibility of technology for this segment of the population.

The PhD students and their supervisors form the THAW network, which runs on a whole project model. The whole team meet regularly to discuss network progress and plan the future work. The students benefit from the University of Sheffield Doctoral Development Programme, which provides a cohesive training plan for cross-Faculty PhD students.

The students are located together and interact with other CATCH researchers as well as students within the host departments. The students run regular events and present their findings at national and international conferences as well as publish in high-quality, international journals.

The three interrelated projects generate results and outputs that will have a lasting and significant impact on the provision of mental health support for the ageing population.

Using technology to improve early detection

Jacob Andrews is researching how technology can be used to improve early detection of mental health difficulties in later life. He is analysing data from older adults in order to develop technology to support mental wellbeing by detecting signs of change. He is working with end users and healthcare staff to develop useful, usable solutions to support older adults' wellbeing.

Understanding loneliness and social isolation in a connected society

Dave Clayton explores the challenges of social isolation and loneliness in the ageing population at a time of unprecedented connectivity within society at large. He also examines the role technology can play in engaging an older audience to overcome this problem.

Affective computing to support good mental health in later life

Matthew Bennion is examining the user requirements for developing and delivering new tailored digital interventions to older people in their own homes. Focusing on how we can make online and other digitally delivered interventions more user-friendly and acceptable to older users.

The THAW network are always interested to hear from people who would like to participate in our research. If you are interested in any of the projects detailed above, please get in touch. We also run regular events, which will be advertised on this page – please keep checking for updates.