Dr. Guylène Proulx, OC Scholarship

Application Deadline

Nominations are currently closed.


  • Annual $5,000 student scholarship award and invitation to speak at the SFPE Annual Conference. The funds will be distributed with $1,000 of it going to the supporting faculty member and the remainder to the student.
  • The goal of this award is to honor those who continue Dr. Proulx’s legacy in the area of human behavior studies.
  • Dr. Proulx was a preeminent researcher and communicator in the field of human behavior.


  • Undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student undertaking a research project in the field of human factors or human behavior related to fire or emergencies, or to the integration of human factors or human behavior into fire protection engineering.
  • The student may be enrolled in any field of study provided the research relates to people in fire or emergencies
  • Demonstrates leadership, commitment, and involvement with SFPE.
  • The applicant has no business interest in the nomination and that applicant is not a part of the SFPE Foundation Awards Committee.

How to Apply

Eligible students may apply by completing the 2024 Foundation Awards Nominations/Applications FormInterested applicants are expected to complete their own nomination form, including all required components listed below. A letter of recommendation from a supporting faculty member must be included in the application materials, as noted below:

    1. Full name of the applicant, academic program type, and school affiliation.
    2. Applicant mailing and email addresses.
    3. A description of the project (max 1000 words) illustrating how the research relates to people in fire or emergencies, or to the integration of human factors or human behavior into fire protection engineering. Preference will be given to projects that recognize and are consistent with the Foundation's research priorities as identified in the SFPE Research Roadmap. The project will be evaluated based on its technical quality, a clear methodology, and expected outcomes.
    4. A letter from the faculty member who will be supervising the research that must include: a) support of the project and the applicant, b) the qualifications of the faculty member in the field of human factors or human behavior, or the integration of human factors or human behavior into fire protection engineering; and c) the successful supervision of other students undertaking related research projects.
    5. Evidence of the applicant’s university academic achievement in the form of transcripts or similar official documentation as well as publication record, especially for doctoral students.
    6. Evidence of the applicant’s involvement in professional or non-professional organizations, and any involvement with the profession or the community at large, illustrating leadership and volunteerism (max 250 words).
    7. Evidence of the applicant’s public presentations of research, or other public presentations not necessarily related to research or the profession, illustrating communication skills (max 250 words).
    8. A commitment to present the completed research to a professional body in a public forum (such as a conference, workshop, seminar, or webinar) and to publish the work (max 250 words).
    9. Name and brief biography of the student applicant (max 250 words).
    10. A completed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form for Foundation Contractors & Grant Recipients. 

If you have any questions, please email Amanda Tarbet at ATarbet@sfpefoundation.org


Dr. Proulx was considered by all who knew her to be one of the preeminent researchers and communicators in the field of human behavior in emergencies. Her enduring legacy, as stated by her international colleagues, is the body of her research work. This scholarship award honors her legacy by building on the research in her chosen profession of human behavior.

Guylène Proulx, an outstanding researcher in human factors and human behavior related to fire, received her doctorate in architectural planning/environmental psychology from the Université de Montréal in 1992, following which she joined the Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada (NRC) to conduct research in human factors related to fire. For that research, she received international acclaim from all of the diverse interests in the fire safety community.

Her research included investigations in human response to fire alarms, fire alarm audibility and signal recognition, effectiveness and impact of voice communication messages on evacuation, typical actions taken after fire alert, evacuation movement, the timing of escape, time to start evacuating, social interaction during an emergency, the performance of fire warning systems and photoluminescent marking, evacuation strategies for various occupancies and peoples with disabilities.

She was a great communicator of fire protection engineering and fire safety science and an ambassador for the entire profession by raising public awareness of fire safety issues. She was also an effective teacher; serving as an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Fire Protection Engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. As well, she helped develop and teach the SFPE Short Course on Human Behavior in Fire Emergencies.

Dr. Proulx was the recipient of significant awards from NRC and the Government of Canada for efforts in sharing research findings and promoting fire safety, including the 2007 Public Service Award of Excellence from the Government of Canada. Less than a week before her death in 2009, she was informed by the Office of the Governor-General of Canada that she had been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the most prestigious award given to Canadian civilians in recognition of “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.”

She was passionate about giving back to her profession. She was a member of SFPE’s Board of Directors and of the SFPE’s Foundation Board of Governors. She was a Past President and Board member of SFPE’s National Capital Region Chapter. As well, she was a key member of SFPE’s Task Group on Human Behavior in Fire.

Guylène Proulx was considered by all who knew her to be one of the preeminent researchers and communicators in the field of human behavior in emergencies. Her enduring legacy, as stated by her international colleagues, is the body of her research work. This scholarship honors her legacy by building on the research in her chosen field of study.

Applications will be evaluated by an international panel of subject matter experts in the field of fire protection engineering and human behavior. The panel will evaluate the applications against the criteria noted in the application and make a final award recommendation to the SFPE Foundation’s Board of Governors. Award decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

Donate to the Proulx Scholarship Award

The Robert W. Fitzgerald Challenge was established to help continue to fund the Proulx Award.  In order to learn more about this challenge please click here.  All donations to the Fitzgerald Challenge are matched up to $2,500 through the generous donations of April Hammond-Berkol and David de Vries. Please consider donating to the Challenge and helping to continue this award by clicking here.

2023 Recipient

Jacob Derrick headshot Jacob Derrick
Glasgow Caledonian University
Undergraduate Student

Past Recipients

  • Erik Smedberg, Division of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University, Sweden (2022)
  • Hossein Tavanarezaei, Ulster University (2021) -  Hossein Tavanarezaei's work at Ulster University focuses on crowd flow dynamics, exploring the microscopic characteristics of individuals walking in a crowd.

    For a recent publication, co-authored by Hossein Tavanarezaei, related to this work see "A novel approach to the investigation and quantification of the stop/start process for pedestrian traffic using motion capture devices," published in Travel Behaviour in Society (2024). The article contributes to the Human Behavior thread of the SFPE Research Roadmap. This comprehensive study sheds light on the intricate dynamics of pedestrian movement, especially in response to stop/start processes, contributing valuable insights for urban planning and crowd management strategies. In particular, The perception-reaction time and start-up time delay were found to be shorter than total stopping times reported in other studies. The study also found that pedestrians were quicker to react to the start-up of their leader than to their speed reduction.

    Another article  to check out is, "Experimental analyses of step extent and contact buffer in pedestrian dynamics," published in Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. It develops a deeper understanding of the parameters that underpin the development of a new, predictive, microscopic model of pedestrian movement. To achieve that goal it draws on experiments that quantify the physical space taken up by the extent of a person’s stepping movement (maximum step extent) and the minimum distance between points of inter-person contact (contact buffer) across a range of walking speeds. The article works towards a longer term aim of developing the mathematical model which has the potential to include pedestrian demographics, walking ability and cognitive capabilities.
  • Mary Langridge Button, Glasgow Caledonian University (2020) – More accessible and inclusive evacuation procedures in High-Rise Residential Buildings
  • Silvia Alejandra Arias Osuna, Lund University (2019) – Virtual Reality (VR) in Studying Human Behavior in Fire Scenarios
  • Lauren Folk & John Gales. PhD., Department of Civil Engineering, York University. Toronto, Canada (2018) – The Impact of Human Behavior on Wildfire Evacuations
  • Paul Geoerg and Professor Armin Seyfried, University of Wuppertal (2017) – Increasing Safety in Aging Societies
  • (2016) – Towards Fire Safe Schools: Investigation of Pedestrian Evacuation Dynamics and the Human Behaviours of Children and the Influence of Training on Evacuation Performance
  • Robert Brown and Professor Edwin Galea, University of Greenwich (2015) – Human Performance Data from Planned Trials on Passenger Ships at Sea