Date of release: Monday, August 17, 2015

Professor Ed GaleaWorld-leading expertise in evacuation and human behaviour in emergencies has earned a University of Greenwich academic a nomination for a prestigious international prize.

Professor Ed Galea, Director and founder of the renowned Fire Safety Engineering Group, has been nominated for the Medal for Professional Excellence from the University of Newcastle Australia, where he gained his PhD in Mathematics.

The Australian university, ranked in the top three per cent of world's universities according to both the Times Higher Education and QS World University rankings, says it is staging its Alumni Awards "to reward those who have shone in their competitive fields and wowed us with their respective achievements". It adds that all 30 of its alumni, nominated in various categories, have "extraordinary accomplishments" to their name.

The overall winners will be announced in a gala event at the university on Friday 23 October.

Professor Galea says: "I'm both proud and humbled that my former university should honour me with this prestigious nomination, particularly in its 50th year. I'm greatly indebted to its School of Mathematics, my PhD supervisor, Dr Warren Wood, and my wider Australian education, for giving me the skills, expertise and confidence to go anywhere in the world and tackle some of the most challenging problems in fire engineering and public safety.

"The university imbued me with the ethos to translate knowledge into real benefits for society, a tradition it continues in its world-class research today."

Under Professor Galea's leadership, the Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) has worked on a number of projects of global importance, including studies of the World Trade Center evacuation and the 7 July London bombings. The group's advanced fire and evacuation dynamics modelling tools have also seen it play a key role in testing the passenger safety aspects of iconic transport projects such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo and the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

The group has won many national and international honours. In recent times it was awarded a Medal of Distinction by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, for world-first research which could help save lives in passenger ship emergencies. It also won a Guardian University Award for its work in developing a new type of emergency signage system, which is revolutionising evacuation procedures from complex buildings such as passenger terminals.

Professor Galea is the global vice-chair of the International Association of Fire Safety Science, the preeminent organisation of fire research in the world, and is the associate editor of leading technical journals Aeronautical Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Fire Science Reviews.

His expert views on evacuations have regularly been sought by international media including Sky News, BBC News, ITV, ABC America and ABC Australia.

For more on the University of Newcastle Australia awards:

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Professor Ed Galea.