Reimagining stroke rehabilitation environments

A new evidence-based ‘living lab’ stroke project has been launched at The Florey during National Stroke Week 2020. Named NOVELL Redesign, the study aims to revolutionise the design and outcome of stroke rehabilitation environments.


Stroke rehabilitation environments are critical spaces for stroke recovery but have previously received very little attention or innovation in their design. The NOVELL Redesign study (Neuroscience Optimised Virtual Environment Living Lab), will work closely in partnership with stroke survivors, academia and industry to transform stroke rehabilitation environments and optimise outcomes for patients, visitors, and staff.

The project is a collaboration between The Florey, Swinburne University of Technology and Griffith University, and funded by the Felton Bequest and The University of Melbourne.

“The NOVELL Redesign project gives us the opportunity to use a virtual, Living Laboratory approach, where we bring everyone together to create something exciting and different that meets everybody’s needs,” said Professor Julie Bernhardt AM who is leading the project at The Florey.

Professor Heidi Zeeman from Griffith University said the project is the first of its kind in Australia.

“The project addresses the lack of evidence-based design in stroke rehabilitation environments and in healthcare more generally, while also recognising a need to use contemporary neuroscience evidence in this area,” explained Professor Heidi Zeeman.

“Rehabilitation facilities are spaces where people spend a lot of time, so the design is critical not only for the person who has had a stroke but also for their families, carers and the staff looking after them. This is why we will be widely communicating our research findings to ensure they can feed back into policy and architectural design practice,” added Professor Marcus White from Swinburne University of Technology.

The team recently achieved a major milestone with the first of a series of blue-sky thinking workshops which brought together stroke survivors, carers, architects and designers, policymakers, clinicians, and neuroscience researchers to collaboratively reimagine what rehabilitation environments could be.

The project welcomes new partners including people who have a lived experience of stroke, work in a rehabilitation setting or are involved in designing and building healthcare environments. Visit for more information and to contact the project team.