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Leicestershire, UK
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16 November 2007 PR 07/145

Road traffic death reduction wins Loughborough its sixth Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Loughborough University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2007, it was announced last night (Thursday 15 November). It is the sixth time the University has captured one of the prestigious awards – an achievement equalled only by the University of Oxford.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding educational achievement in areas of service and benefit to the nation. The 2007 Prize has been awarded to Loughborough in recognition of its vehicle, road and driver safety research.

Road safety research is conducted within two main areas of the University – the Vehicle Safety Research Centre (VSRC) and the Driver Sleepiness Research Group (DSRG).

Established in 1982 within the Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI), the VSRC is the largest crash investigation research group in the world. It conducts research into the causes of accidents and injuries in real world crashes and has made major contributions to European road and vehicle safety. Since its formation the VSRC has conducted over 7,000 in-depth crash investigations and has made important advances in the science of crash analysis.

The DSRG was established in 1993 within the Sleep Research Centre, part of the Department of Human Sciences. It was the first UK research organisation to recognise the real problem of driver sleepiness and bring it to public attention. Its research and application of sleep science has led to widely adopted guidelines for the identification of sleep-related road crashes and to practical countermeasures, including the ‘Tiredness can kill – Take a break’ signs on motorways, changes to the Highway Code, and the setting of legal precedents concerning driver liability.

The University’s research into vehicle safety and driver sleepiness is internationally recognised. Strong emphasis is placed on the development of practical measures to protect road users, and widespread communication to modify driver behaviour and raise awareness. The contributions of the VSRC and DSRG to saving lives and reducing serious injuries are widely acclaimed, and have greatly improved understanding of the causes of crashes and how they can be reduced.

Professor Pete Thomas, head of the Vehicle Safety Research Centre, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award. It reflects the achievements of all those working in the Centre and clearly demonstrates to others the high quality of the research work undertaken within the field of accident research.”

Professor Jim Horne, head of the Driver Sleepiness Research Group, added: “Reducing road casualties lessens the strain on our Health Services – road safety ought to be as much an issue for health policies as it is for those involving road transport.”

Her Majesty The Queen will make the official presentation of the 2007 Prize at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February 2008.

– Ends –

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Notes for editors:

  1. Photographs of the University’s work in road safety research are available from the Public Relations Office, T: 01509 222224.

  2. Loughborough’s previous Queen’s Anniversary Prizes were awarded:
    – For its partnerships with the aerospace industry, particularly Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems (1994)
    – In recognition of the Institute of Development Engineering’s unique service to developing countries, providing and managing sustainable infrastructure (1998)
    In recognition of the Optical Engineering Group’s pioneering role in developing applications of modern optics and laser technologies to find practical solutions to real-world problems (2000)
    In recognition of the University’s position as the country’s premier institution for sports development, and its world leading role in sports research and education (2002)
    For its outstanding and widely-respected work in evaluating and helping develop social policy-related programmes (2005)

  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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