Robert Brown, research scientist at the Marine Institute’s Offshore Safety and Survival Centre has been honoured with a new scholarship that will support his work to improve vessel evacuation procedures.


Mr. Brown, a PhD candidate at University of Greenwich, London, UK was recently awarded the first annual Dr. Guylène Proulx, OC Scholarship from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student undertaking a research project in the field of human factors or human behaviour related to fire or emergencies.                                                                                                                                                                              The award will go towards Mr. Brown’s PhD project which aims to gather new information on how passengers react during at-sea emergency evacuations.  “I am honoured to receive this award in honour of Dr. Proulx, a dedicated researcher who significantly contributed to building our understanding of human behavior during emergency situations,” said Mr. Brown. “This scholarship serves as further inspiration for my work in passenger ship evacuation and I want to thank my supervisors Professor Ed Galea and Dr. Peter Lawrence, and colleagues on the SAFEGUARD project team for their tremendous support.”

Mr. Brown’s project was part of SAFEGUARD, a project led by the University of Greenwich’s Fire Safety Engineering Group and involved seven other EU-based partners, as well as the Marine Institute to investigate and improve evacuation procedures on large passenger ships.  The research has involved thousands of passengers and is showing not only that it is possible to successfully plan and execute emergency simulations at sea, but how passengers react to alarms and the routes they take during these situations onboard large vessels.

University of Greenwich’s Edwin Galea, CAA professor in Mathematical Modelling and Director of FSEG, supervises this research project. He says, “Rob and the project SAFEGUARD team are deeply honored by this award. The SAFEGUARD project involved understanding and quantifying human behavior in emergency situations and using that knowledge to improve life safety.”

The Dr. Guylène Proulx, OC Scholarship was established in 2014 in honor of Dr. Guylène Proulx, an outstanding researcher in human factors and human behavior related to fire, and a passionate advocate for fire safety awareness. Her research and the future work this scholarship makes way for is part of her legacy.

The SFPE is committed to defining, developing, and advancing the use of engineering best practices; expanding the scientific and technical knowledge base; and educating the global fire safety community, in order to reduce fire risk.

See full press release on the Marine Institute website here