Lifetime Achievement Award for Practical Application

For a major contribution to any industry or business through the application of ergonomics and human factors

Who's your human factors hero?

Who's the person who you’ve seen make practical changes in the world through their human factors? Someone who has changed people’s lives for the better through their work? They may not publish books or research papers, but maybe their work has improved the lives of factory workers by reducing musculoskeletal disorders and pain or maybe they've worked across domains in consultancy, whilst also supporting team members and contributing to the running of our professional body. Often practical contributions can be overlooked in the concentration on more academic research but the application of human factors changes lives and advances the discipline in essential ways.

Maybe your human factors hero is someone who – like our recent winners – has established new industry good practice in managing risk, has introduced a particular area like fatigue management and has improved working conditions as a result, or has integrated human factors into national projects where it was previously lacking. If so, let them know how much you appreciate and recognise their ongoing work by nominating them for this award.


  1. This Award is for a Registered Member or Fellow of CIEHF.
  2. They must have made a major contribution to any industry or business through the application of ergonomics and human factors through the course of their career.
  3. If awarded for applied research, the significant application should have actually been put into practice.
  4. Applications in terms of hardware, software, systems and organisation designs will be considered, as will ergonomics tools and techniques.
  5. The originality and soundness of method, problem analysis, solution development and implementation may all be relevant criteria.
  6. The ergonomics/human factors content of the work should be identified, as contrasted with any content from industrial design, occupational health, systems analysis, medical science or other discipline.


This year's winner

Winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award for Practical Application of human factors 2024 is Dr Barry Kirwan. He has dedicated his career to human factors, making significant contributions that have left a lasting impact on the discipline, profession and multiple organisations and industries worldwide. With a psychology background, he became head of human factors at major organisations in safety-critical industries. His work has not only shaped human factors methods but has also translated into practical applications, from technology design and procedure changes to new policies. Congratulations, Barry!

Origins of the award

This was formerly the Otto Edholm Award.

Otto Edholm was born in 1909 and studied Medicine at St George’s Hospital, London. He also took a BSc in Physiology at London and then took a lectureship at Queen’s University, Belfast. After a period as Professor of Physiology at the University of Western Ontario, he returned to the UK and, in 1947, was invited to head the Division of Human Physiology at the MRC National Institute of Medical Research at Hampstead.

For the next 25 years, he was a leader in physiological research in the UK, building the foremost research unit in this field. Internationally recognised for his work, he and his colleagues studied the human responses to the environment from the tropics to the Arctic, as well as within buildings. On retirement Otto was Visiting Professor at the University of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture until his death in 1985. This award was set up to honour his work.

Roll of honour

2023 Sharon Cook

2022 Jean Page & Andy Bardsley
2021 Laird Evans
2020 Ron McLeod
2019 Not awarded
2018 Amanda Widdowson
2017 Jon Berman
2016 Mike Gray
2015 Tanya Heasman
2014 Patrick W Jordan
2009-13 Not awarded
2008 Peter Hancock
2007 Alastair Gale
2004-6 Not awarded
2003 Andrea Caws
2002 Dr Tom Leamon
2001 Prof Neville Stanton
2000 Mr Tom Stewart
1999 Dr Jan Noyes
1998 Not awarded
1997 Katharine M Wykes, British Aerospace
1996 Not awarded
1995 Jane Dillon, Post Office Research Centre; Christine Haslegrave, University of Nottingham
1994 Dr J M Porter, Dr K Case & Prof M C Bonney, Sammie CAD
1993 Robert Stone, National Advanced Robotics Centre, Salford
1992 Not awarded
1991 Dr Michael F Haisman
1990 Dr P J Barnard
1989 John C C Mitchell, Department of Health Studies, Sheffield City Polytechnic; Robert B Stammers, Division of Applied Psychology, Aston University; John E Wood, Martin Hazell and Michael Clark, Communications Complex Designs Limited

Formerly The Applications Award (1979-1988)
1986 Prof Gideon Gerhardsson, of the Swedish Employers Federation
1985 Robert J Stone, of the Human Factors Research Department, British Aerospace Dynamics Group
1983 Anthony A Clarke, for his ergonomic contribution to the Department of Industry Code of Practice for Ships’s Bridge Design
1982 Geoffrey C Simpson, on behalf of the Ergonomics Branch, Institute of Occupational Medicine, National Coal Board, for their contribution to the design of underground locomotives
1981 Prof Ulf Aberg, for his contribution together with the Laboratory of Industrial Ergonomics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, to the design of the new SKF steelworks at Horfors
1979 John A Levis, for his contribution together with the Human Factors Group, Research Engineering, Leyland Vehicles Limited, to the design of the Leyland Titan bus2020 Ron McLeod