NFPA and The Fire Protection Research Foundation Presents Award to Fire and Life Safety Research Leaders

June 19, 2023The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) and the Fire Protection Research
have announced the winners of the Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal and the Harry C. Bigglestone Award. The awards were presented at the Stars at Night awards gala held on June 18th in Las Vegas, as part of the annual NFPA Conference and Expo.

The Research Foundation Medal

The Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal, an award that recognizes a project that best embodies the fire safety mission, commitment to tackling technical challenges, and the collaboration on project execution, has been awarded to a team of fire and life safety experts for their project “Firefighting Foams: A Fire Service Roadmap.” The project, which was funded by a DHS/FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, was designed to assist the fire service as it transitions to fluorine-free firefighting foam. The recipients of the 2023 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal are:

  • Jerry Back, a fire protection engineer from Jensen Hughes, who has displayed an unwavering dedication to research and development, contributing significantly to commercial and defense fire safety standards.
  • Casey Grant, currently executive director of DSRAE, LLC, who has contributed to and highlighted lasting innovations in fire safety research, leveraging his rich prior experience with NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
  • Edward Hawthorne, an accomplished global emergency manager and consultant, who has been instrumental in advancing fire safety and emergency response in several areas, and
  • Noah Lieb, a subject matter expert at Jensen Hughes, who has made significant contributions to promoting safer and more sustainable practices concerning hazardous materials in firefighting.
Harry C. Bigglestone Award

The Harry C. Bigglestone Award is given annually to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The honor is in memory of Bigglestone who served as a trustee of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, and a fellow and past president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 prize from NFPA.

For their paper, “Experimental Study of the Fire Dynamics in a Semi-enclosure Formed by Photovoltaic (PV) Installations on Flat Roof Constructions,” the winners are:

  • Jens Kristensen, a Ph.D. holder from the University of Edinburgh, has focused his important research career on exploring fire safety concerns related to renewable energy transition, especially photovoltaic installations.
  • Benjamin Jacobs contributed to this research during his master’s thesis. His final year thesis focused specifically on the fire dynamics of photovoltaic systems on flat roof construction, and
  • Grunde Jomaas, a leader in fire-safe sustainable environmental research, has been a guiding force in fire safety engineering through his academic career and through his leadership role at the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA® is a global, self-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at

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