Photo of Dr Laura-Anne Furlong on a stage with a large screen introducing her presentation

Academic sets new standards as she becomes the recipient of two prestigious biomechanics awards

A researcher from Loughborough University was announced as the recipient of two awards from the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS).

Dr Laura-Anne Furlong, a Lecturer in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, was presented with both the Hans Gros Emerging Researcher Award and Fellowship of the Society.

The Hans Gros Emerging Researcher Award is annually awarded to an individual who has excelled in their early research career, who has the ability to ‘bridge the gap’ between their research and applied practice which is a key part of the society’s philosophy.

Dr Furlong’s research focuses on understanding how measures of muscle structure and function during dynamic sporting tasks - such as running and jumping - are related to the mechanics of the movement itself.

Her studies have to led to Laura-Anne delivering talks across the world and receiving support from collaborators and brands such as the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall and New Balance Footwear.

As the winner of the award, Dr Furlong was invited to deliver a keynote at the society’s annual conference in Ohio last year and will have her work published in a review article for the journal Sports Biomechanics.

Dr Furlong was also presented with Fellowship of the Society, which is reserved for those who have made outstanding contributions in the field of sport biomechanics over a number of years in both research and wider contributions to the community.

She has been an advocate for student sport biomechanists since 2013 to formalise their representation within ISBS, as well as an invited scientific committee member of multiple international biomechanics conferences and a contributor to the British and Cheltenham Science Festivals, and New Scientist magazine.

She has been acknowledged as a leader both nationally and internationally for engaging the general public with sports biomechanics.

What makes these awards so special is the fact that Laura-Anne is not only the first female recipient of the Hans Gros Emerging Researcher Award, but also the youngest to be awarded society Fellowship.

Speaking about the awards, Dr Furlong commented: “To have your research and service contributions acknowledged for their excellence by international panels of respected peers is a real honour and rather humbling, and provides a platform for an early career academic starting on their research pathway.”

Laura-Anne began her journey at Loughborough University in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Sports Research in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The year after, she was appointed as one of ten lecturers recruited as part of the Excellence 100 campaign.

Last summer, she received an Athena Swan Award within her School for the work she has done to engage with prospective female students as well as those currently studying or working at Loughborough through outreach, recruitment and mentoring projects.