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The University of Southampton

University of Southampton celebrates gold medal-winning performance

Published: 24 February 2012
HRH The Queen awards the prize
he prize was awarded for the University's contribution to performance sports engineering.

Four decades of innovation and world-leading expertise in performance sports engineering by the University of Southampton has met with royal approval.

Today (Friday, 24 February), representatives from the University, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Don Nutbeam, visited Buckingham Palace to receive a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious form of recognition for a UK academic or vocational institution, with approval from The Queen and Parliament.

Watch a video of the presentation here.

The University’s engineering expertise has supported sports ranging from cycling and F1 racing to swimming and yachting. As a result, a number of high-performance sports competitors have benefitted including several elite athletes such as track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and skeleton bobsleigh athlete Amy Williams.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, says: “This 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 prize was awarded for the University's contribution to performance sports engineering.
HRH The Queen awards the prize

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 in their pursuit of sporting success.

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 who also attended the Prize ceremony 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.

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