The accolade acknowledges the innovative, life-saving physiological research the group has carried out, which has influenced global practices and policies, improving both athlete and occupational safety in extreme environments.
The EEG's studies have been instrumental in transforming safety standards in sports and occupational fields, especially those associated with extreme environments. Their physiological research has spotlighted the health risks posed to athletes, such as cardiac arrhythmias and hypothermia from cold water immersion, as well as heat-induced impairments.
Their research has paved the way for critical enhancements in international water-safety regulations, impacting athletes across 200 countries and various sports. The safety protocols of open water swimming competitions have also been notably altered through EEG’s findings, considerably reducing the risk of dying while participating in cold water swimming.
We are delighted to receive this award and the recognition it gives the work of our research group at Portsmouth, past and present, to saving lives in extreme environments. We are particularly pleased to receive it from The Physiological Society, which has set and facilitated the highest of scientific standards over the years, as well as supporting many members of our group along the way.
Professor Mike Tipton, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology and Head of the EEG
Professor Mike Tipton, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology and Head of the EEG, said: “We are delighted to receive this award and the recognition it gives the work of our research group at Portsmouth, past and present, to saving lives in extreme environments. We are particularly pleased to receive it from The Physiological Society, which has set and facilitated the highest of scientific standards over the years, as well as supporting many members of our group along the way.”
One of the most impactful areas of the EEG's research lies in their work on drowning prevention, a global public health issue. Their efforts have given rise to 'Respect the Water', a national water safety campaign initiated by the RNLI in 2014. Underpinned by EEG’s findings, the campaign has successfully increased public understanding of the importance of floating as a primary survival behaviour in water-related emergencies.
The British Olympic and Paralympic teams have reaped substantial benefits from the EEG's work, experiencing improved training and preparation practices across ten Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Float to Live
In the occupational arena, the group's research has yielded transformative insights for workers operating under challenging conditions. By informing protective equipment design, changing training protocols, and influencing policy decisions, EEG’s work has significantly improved the safety of sectors such as defence, emergency services, and the oil and gas industry.
Professor David Attwell, President of The Physiological Society, said: “This award recognises the far-reaching impact of the EEG’s research. The practical significance and life-saving potential of the group's work underscores the profound influence physiology can have on everyday lives. The award recognises Extreme Environments the group’s unwavering commitment to utilising physiological research to make a tangible difference and changing the world.”
There will be a formal unveiling of the award at the University of Portsmouth on 7 December 2023.
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