Shared Learning and Research Projects

Shared Learning

Shared learning involves SU3A Groups and members participating in “Citizen Science” projects, usually by collecting data as part of their Group activities.

Project Contact details Description Other information
Ageing actively in your community – Opportunities and Challenges If you have specific ideas for topics that may be addressed during this event and/or to register interest, please contact Philip Long at Sheffield U3A is collaborating with the organisers of the Festival of Debate and the University of Sheffield Healthy Lifespan Institute to present a participative 2020 Festival of Debate session on active ageing. This will take place on a date to be finalised in April or May 2020.


If you are interested in planning something along similar lines in partnership with a community group please contact Philip Long pelong54(AT)


Research projects

SU3A receives a lot of support from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. They provide expert speakers for our Showroom lectures, support our shared learning projects and help behind the scenes in many ways.

We help them by providing volunteers for many research projects. This usually involves giving a couple of hours at a university department to undergo all sorts of tests that provide baseline data for research into ageing and interventions for age related problems. Tests are usually mental rather than physical – your response to words or pictures, speed of reaction etc, and we give full details here. See the table below for current research projects seeking help.

Project Contact details Description Other information
What will our shopping areas look like and in the long term how will they affect our local communities in Sheffield? Samina Aslam, SU3A Shared Learning & Research Project Team
This summer it has become very clear that the Lockdown due to Covid19 will lead to profound changes in shopping habits. Will the affects of Covid19 signal the deaths of our high streets?
This national U3A project is being managed by the Trust’s Research Committee and is led by Peter Cox, U3A Research Committee. The plan is to produce a landmark report for publication by the Trust in 2022, so helping to raise the U3A’s profile in our 40th anniversary year. Participation is being asked from as many U3As as possible
5-10 Volunteers are needed for more details click here
Coping with the Covid19 crisis: experiences and activities For questions, please get in touch: What has helped you to cope with the Covid19 crisis? How much did listening to music or watching films help to remain positive for example? We would love to hear about activities that worked, but also what may not have helped as much. This research is led by Prof. Roni Granot (Israel) and Prof. Renee Timmers (Sheffield, UK), and is conducted across multiple countries. It has received ethical approval from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To participate, please click on this Questionnaire link, which takes 12-15 min to complete
How ageing and noise exposure affect hearing, with the long-term aim of helping scientists and the NHS better identify and diagnose hearing problems. If you would like any more information please email me at (, or phone me on 07564531976. To investigate these issues, I’ve designed an online survey. It takes no more than 30 minutes and can be completed on any smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It asks about hearing and past noise exposure, and then involves some challenging-but-interesting online tests (assessing hearing and memory). The data collected will make no reference to any specific industry or workplace and will be anonymized. I want to reach out to older adults (aged 50-70) who might have previously been exposed to noise in an occupational setting (as well as those who had low noise exposure levels). To take part please follow this link
Effects of social distancing on anxiety, loneliness, mood and cognition through an on-line survey For more information please contact Dr Jenna Littlejohn at In the UK, half of people over the age of 70 live alone, so rely on connections outside of their household. We want to understand how isolation due to coronavirus is affecting people over 70, and how this may be different for people with hearing loss. Participants will complete an online survey so we can measure the psychological effects of forced distancing. The results will determine: a) how hearing loss and social distancing are related to loneliness, depression, anxiety and cognitive function and b) if people with hearing loss require additional support during the crisis, and if so, what this support should involve. Details
Pre-Clinical Development of Cog-LAB Dr. Lynne Barker, Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience (Principal Investigator)
Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology,
Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Sheffield Hallam University, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield. S10 2BQ.
Email: Telephone 0114 2255379
After a head injury or stroke individuals can experience problems with certain tasks that involve remembering to do things, planning and completing two activities at once. It is important that these changes are accurately measured by clinicians so that strategies can be put in place for rehabilitation. Existing tests can be expensive and time-consuming while not accurately reflecting the problems people may be having in their day to day lives. This means that many people with brain injury or stroke do not get properly evaluated post-injury. The Cog-LAB task addresses this problem by measuring a number of different cognitive functions at the same time using a computerised task, in a quicker and easier way than existing measures and using a task that better fits with the real world things that people need to do (i.e. cooking a meal). Details
Individuals aged 18-80 and diagnosed with gout are needed for a study looking at the effect of tart cherry juice on risk of gout attacks over 12 months. Kirstie Lamb (Study Co-ordinator), or Dr Tony Lynn on 0114 2252065 I am a member of a research team within the Food and Nutrition Group at Sheffield Hallam University. We are undertaking a NHS-approved intervention study investigating the effect of tart cherry juice on the risk of gout attacks and are currently looking for individuals who have been diagnosed with gout to participate. Contact Kirstie
Exploring the effects of aquatic exercise on physiological function in older adults Miss Beatrice Hunt, e-mail:, Tel.: 07970703622 A study that explores the effects of short-term aquatic exercise on human physiological function in the over 55s who do not exercise Details
Healthy Lifespan Institute (HELSI) Gemma Stephens E-mail: Prevention or amelioration of chronic conditions that affect a majority of people in later life See page 10 of Links 195 for more information