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Sheffield Hallam University has launched an international academy to support new research and policy in the area of drug and alcohol desistance and recovery.

The new Desistance and Recovery Academy (DRA) is a joint partnership with Sheffield Hallam's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and Ghent University, Belgium.

The DRA will be a hub for expertise in the fields of desistance and recovery, providing a foundation for postgraduate student collaboration in research and teaching, and a centre for the development of policy and practice.

The launch of the DRA took place at Sheffield Hallam University and also included discussion around an international network of 'recovery cities' to share research and best practice across the globe, with Sheffield taking a leading role.

The DRA will be headed up by Professor David Best, head of criminology at Sheffield Hallam and one of the world's leading academic voices on recovery, and Professor Wouter Vanderplasschen, a senior researcher in the field of substance misuse treatment and recovery, from Ghent University.

Professor Best said: "The Desistance and Recovery Academy will create a centre of excellence in three areas - research, teaching and practice in the field of recovery from substance use and desistance from offending. These are key areas of public concern and where gaps remain between research and practice.

Professor Vanderplasschen and Professor Best

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"The Helena Kennedy Centre is delighted to be partnering with an organisation as esteemed as the University of Ghent and our partnership will form the basis for an international hub that will attract research partnerships, innovative teaching and policy direction.

"We will offer messages of hope and the work we do will promote inclusion based on a growing evidence base about the process of positive change."

Professor Vanderplasschen said: "This is an excellent initiative to further advance recovery and desistance research in Europe and to support promising students in realising social and scientific impact. Also, I look forward to the exchange of teachers and students."

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email