Laird Evans

Laird Evans’s long and distinguished career spans over 40 years within the Human Factors (HF) domain. He is a CIEHF Fellow, DE&S Specialist Fellow, Chair of the MOD-Industry Human Factors Integration (HFI) Steering Group and Co-leader of the CIEHF Defence Sector Group.

Working primarily within the defence sector, Laird has contributed to, led and managed many military trials and research projects, and supported many Human Factors teams and organisations in the process. He has helped to develop fundamental knowledge and understanding of human factors and ergonomics, whilst supporting and championing a huge range of people in their careers.

Laird joined British Aerospace in 1980 after graduating from university with a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Applied Psychology. He was a member of the Sowerby Research Centre (SRC) which evolved into the Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) following the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems and the consequent formation of BAE Systems. 

Laird was made Head of the ATC’s Human Factors department in 2012, leading a team of 30+ Human Factors Engineers, Psychologists and other related specialists. Under his leadership the department widened its portfolio of work, providing HF research and consultancy internally to BAE Systems and externally to MOD, partner companies and non-defence agencies such as the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), UK Sport and the Blue Light Services. 

After the closure of the ATC in 2015, Laird worked as a freelance consultant for two years before  joining MOD Defence Equipment Support (DE&S) as a Human Factors Specialist.

Throughout his career, Laird has played a leading role in the promotion and direction of Human Factors and Human Factors Integration within the defence sector; initially as co-founder of the BAE Systems HFI Special Interest Group and currently as Chair of the MOD-Industry HFI Steering Group. He has also supported the design and development of some of the UK’s most advanced defence systems, including Rapier and Typhoon in the early years of his career, and now Guardian, Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator and others, as a member of the HFI team within the DE&S Directorate of Engineering & Safety.

Adapted from the nomination for this award by Barry Kirby with additions by Laird Evans
Date of nomination: 28 April 2021