A new sports, performance and health diagnostics centre was inaugurated at the University of Konstanz: The Human Performance Research Centre (HPRC) enables researchers to conduct detailed studies of physical performance capability in humans. It provides space for four sport science laboratories that can be used to analyse all aspects of performance, exercise and physical stress, including, for instance, the interplay of nerves and muscles, strength and motion as well as the cardiovascular system, metabolism and balance. The research facility, which is housed in a 450-square-metre annex adjoining the University of Konstanz’s sports hall (building S), was opened on Tuesday, 17 July 2018. During the opening event, the university’s sport scientists provided insights into their laboratories and analysis technologies and demonstrated sample research applications.
“Physical inactivity is one of today’s biggest health risks that we must address”, said Professor Markus Gruber, director of the HPRC, during the opening event. “At the Human Performance Research Centre (HPRC), we will develop strategies for combating the consequences of physical inactivity”, Gruber explains: “With our research at the HPRC, we seek to understand the effects that sports and exercise have on the body and physical well-being. Based on our research findings, we seek to design bespoke training programmes that can improve health and performance in an optimal way while requiring a minimum of effort”.
The HPRC will be used for large-scale health studies and is open to all potential study participants. According to Markus Gruber, “the sport science research laboratory will not only welcome sports enthusiasts at all performance levels, but it will also carry out research relevant to those who do not enjoy exercise”. Details of the planned studies, their scientific background and information on how to get involved will be made available to the public in due course. “We welcome partnerships with sports clubs and associations as well as with hospitals. At the HPRC, we can provide tailor-made performance diagnostics for all types of sports that can answer medical questions regarding physical stress and rehabilitation”, Markus Gruber emphasizes, adding: “One important advantage of the new building is that it facilitates interdisciplinary work”.
A 100-square-metre Neuromechanics Lab is at the heart of the HPRC. Using embedded force plates and optical measuring systems, the researchers at the centre can achieve detailed analyses of full human motion sequences as well as of the forces involved. The Neuromechanics Lab thus not only provides opportunities for measuring performance during motion sequences, but also for carrying out medical stress tests. In addition to the Neuromechanics Lab, the centre also hosts a Sensorimotor Performance Lab dedicated to exploring the interplay between nerves and muscles as well as other specialist laboratories for studying the cardiovascular system and postural control. Together, these labs can paint a holistic picture of human performance capability and susceptibility to physical stress. As Markus Gruber describes the perfect interplay between the research centre’s facilities: “The building’s form and function are in complete harmony”.
- New sports, performance and health diagnostics centre.
- Opening ceremony took place on 17 July 2018.
- Four sport science laboratories for analysing all aspects of performance, exercise and physical stress.
- Cost: € 1.85m, financed and implemented by Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Amt Konstanz; the University of Konstanz provided funds in the amount of € 300,000.
- Floor space: 450 square metres