ProFit – FieldLab Sheffield

FieldLab banner text

Total budget across all partners €5m
FieldLab Sheffield budget €800,000

The regeneration of Lowfield Park with its Big Lottery, MyPlace, funded U-mix centre, attracted immediate attention. The doors had barely opened when we were invited to team up with Sheffield Hallam University on ProFit and create FieldLab Sheffield.

What is ProFit?

Profit is an opportunity for international cooperation in sports innovation. And a FieldLab is a live location where these innovations are tested and developed – for example, a park.

In Sheffield, the project aims to make Lowfield Park a unique site by becoming the first UK FieldLab for innovation in urban outdoor sport, exercise, and physical activity.

In its wider context, ProFit is a collaboration between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City Council, and eight other EU partner organisations. The partners are responsible for developing an EU network of FieldLabs. Initially, these are located in the cities of Sheffield, Delft, Eindhoven, Kortrijk, and Belfast.
Further details on the project are available at

Image of a runner being tracked using camera movement tracking

Leon and Marilyn testing camera movement tracking of the pan tilt zoom cameras. Live output is displayed on the iPad.

And a FieldLab?

The FieldLab idea takes research and development closer to the end-user in a collaborative setting that could involve businesses, researchers, students, local authorities, and sports organisations.
Innovation in the business of sports and play is achieved in the FieldLab by bringing complementary stakeholders together and developing products and services that meet users’ genuine needs and preferences.  Companies, sports organisations, sports medicine, health authorities and organisations, and knowledge institutions can work together to challenge the young and the old to play, to exercise, and to do sports more often, and with greater satisfaction, and with more effective use of urban space. From interactive exercise programs for the elderly, to innovative playgrounds for children; from programs for talent development, to monitoring of health; and from development of multifunctional sports fields to better (re)use of materials.  These can be the focus for FieldLab activity.  Novel camera and sensor-based monitoring and data collection methods are used to evaluate new products in their intended environment. This gives fresh insights and can accelerate the innovation process.

This euronews interview explains the FieldLab concept – skip to 02:35.

Eindhoven, Netherlands is an excellent example of a FieldLab in action. Dutch companies Sublean and InnoSportNL contributed to the ProFit project that will see the first 4D sports ground built in FieldLab. Using Cablean (Cablean Sportveld) technology, the sports ground can rotate its surface to support various outdoor sports, including soccer, basketball, and hockey.

When not in use for sport, one of the surfaces can be rotated to generate revenue, for example, by harvesting energy through a solar panelled surface, or use as a billboard for advertising.

FieldLab Sheffield is in the first stage of development.  Further information will be posted on the journal page as it grows.