Volunteer of the Year Award

For a significant, substantial and effective contribution to the CIEHF

Who's gone above and beyond?

This Award is for someone who has provided significant meritorious service to the CIEHF and who has made a significant, substantial and effective contribution to furthering the aims and operations of the Institute.


  1. The individual is usually a CIEHF member who has worked for the Institute on a voluntary basis.
  2. Attendance and representation on Institute committees and posts held within or for the Institute will be considered.
  3. Proposed recipients should be nominated by one or more members of the CIEHF, normally by a member of the Honours Committee, Executive or Council, or by a member of staff.


This year's winner

Bob Smillie is this year's winner of our Volunteer of the Year Award. He's a Chartered Fellow of the Institute and has been a member continuously for nearly 50 years. He's always the first to volunteer where professional competencies are involved, giving freely of his time, but never seeks reward or recognition. Thank you, Bob!

Origins of the award

This was formerly the Paul Branton Award.

Paul was born in Vienna in 1916 and graduated in Psychology from Reading University in 1962, with a MPhil in Psychology from London in 1969. He had left Vienna after schooling to age 16 and worked in industry in Britain, with six years in the Royal Navy during the war, prior to his major academic studies.

He led the ergonomics section of the Furniture Industry Research Association from 1962 and was instrumental in introducing the ergonomics of comfort into furniture design. After a spell with the MRC Industrial Psychology Unit, involving a major field study of accidents, he was appointed head of ergonomics at the British Railways Board in 1969. Here he pursued pioneering studies into the ergonomics of railways in relation to both the traveller and the railway worker.

From 1976 he was an independent consultant, active as well in research (with the Stress Research Unit at Birkbeck College). His services to the Ergonomics Society in administration and operation and to ergonomics through contributions to British and International Standards were outstanding. His early interests in philosophy stayed with him all his life and, before his death in 1990, he was building many bridges between his professional and his philosophical interests which blended in all his work. This award was set up to recognise his work.

Roll of honour

2023 Fiona Cayzer

2022 Barbara Haward
2021 Helen Vosper
2020 Mike Gray
2019 Rebecca Charles
2018 Jo Davies
2017 Mike Tainsh
2016 Alan Ferris
2015 David Streets
2011-14 Not awarded
2010 Anne Ferguson
2009 Phil Bust
2008 Not awarded
2007 Susan Taylor; John Cotton
2003-6 Not awarded
2002 Tony Kaye
2001 Joe Langford; Tina Worthy
2000 D H O’Neill; Dr S Robertson
1999 Mr R Harvey
1998 Dr E J Lovesey
1996-7 Not awarded
1995 Karenna Coombes; Rachel Benedyk
1994 John Spencer
1993 Heather Ward
1992 Not awarded
1991 Prof Rainer Goldsmith
1990 Prof E N Corlett
1989 Dr Harry G Maule
1988 Paul Branton
1987 Dr Ivan D Brown; Gordon R W Simmonds
1986 H Michael Cooke; Prof E Nigel Corlett; Reginald G Sell; Prof Brian Shackel
1985 Not awarded
1984 Clive J A Andrews, in recognition of his development of a Secondary Schools ergonomics syllabus