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University of Southampton awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Published: 
25 November 2011

The University of Southampton has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its innovation and world-leading expertise in performance sports engineering.

The prize recognises four decades of innovation in design and testing, and technical expertise – supporting high-performance sports competitors, including several Olympic Gold Medal winners such as track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and skeleton athlete Amy Williams.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious form of recognition for a UK academic or vocational institution, with approval from The Queen and Parliament.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, says, “This is great news for the University, offering much deserved recognition for the Performance Sports Engineering Laboratory. The Award recognises the outstanding work of our academics and students in supporting competitive sport and demonstrates Southampton’s world-leading expertise in engineering and the impact we have globally.”

The Performance Sports Engineering Laboratory (PSEL) has had a major influence on competitive sailing, high-performance motor racing, cycling and winter sports. It has worked in support of sports that gained 15 of the UK’s gold medals at the 2008 Beijing games and more recently helped to design the skeleton sled ‘Arthur’ which Amy Williams used to claim her gold medal at the 2010 winter games in Vancouver.

The University of Southampton has been working in partnership with UK Sport since 2005 to ensure the best performance and preparation for British athletes. It is an official partner to UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme working with sports including, cycling, swimming, sailing, rowing, canoeing and wheelchair racing on the journey to 2012.

They apply their knowledge in Southampton's R J Mitchell wind tunnel
Students test a design

p>The PSEL team of academics, consultancy engineers and postgraduate students conducts a diverse range of research covering fluid and structural dynamics, simulation technologies and sports science. It has contributed design expertise to the sails, hulls, keels and rudders on America’s Cup yachts, had a long-term impact on the aerodynamics of Formula One motor racing cars and become established as an international leader in performance sports engineering – supporting leading UK sportsmen and women.

Director of the Laboratory, Professor Stephen Turnock says, “I am delighted the long-standing achievements of the University have been recognised in this way. We have seen our research impact at the highest level in competitive sport, but are equally proud of our graduates who excel in the ultra-competitive technology driven world of motorsport and performance sailing. It is rare to find a team without one of our ship science, aeronautical or mechanical engineering graduates playing a leading role.”

Academics and students working in PSEL have built strong links with industry and both undergraduates and postgraduates have benefited from first-class training in the specialist disciplines it provides.

A prize-giving ceremony will take place at Buckingham Palace in February.

Notes for editors

For more information about the Performance Sports Engineering Laboratory, please click here

For more information about the Queen's Anniversary Prizes, please click here

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